This past season, Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy broke the franchise record for most rushing yards in a season. But was his overall performance the best by an Eagles’ running back since 1977? I choose 1977 as the starting point because it was the first year I started watching football. I’ve ranked the top 10 seasonal performances by an Eagles running back based on a few criteria. Touchdowns scored is weighted the highest, followed by total yards rushing and receiving and average yards per touch. Enjoy the list, which I am sure will be up for debate.
10. Wilbert Montgomery, 1978
Wilbert Montgomery was in his second season out of Abilene Christian, but his first as starting running back. Montgomery ran for 1220 yards in a 14 game season on 259 carries and caught 34 passes for 195 yards. His 10 touchdowns lead the Eagles who finished 9-7 and made the playoffs for the first time since 1960.
9. LeSean McCoy, 2010
LeSean McCoy was in his second NFL season out of Pittsburgh. He showed signs of becoming a great back in his rookie season and emerged as one of the better running backs in the league in 2010 when he rushed for 1,020 yards on 207 carries. He added 592 yards on 78 receptions with nine overall touchdowns.
8. Ricky Watters, 1995
In his first season with the Eagles, Ricky Watters proved he could be a workhorse running back. He carried the ball 337 times for 1,273 yards and caught 62 passes for 434 yards. Watters’ 12 touchdowns lead the team. He helped lead the Eagles to a playoff berth and first round win over the Detroit Lions.
7. Ricky Watters, 1996
Watters improved upon his first season with the Eagles, leading the league in rushing attempts with 353. His 1,411 rushing yards were a career best, as was his 13 rushing touchdowns. Watters added 51 receptions for 444 yards. He lead the Eagles in touchdowns and helped the team to 10 wins and a wild card playoff berth.
6. Wilbert Montgomery, 1981
Montgomery came off an injury-plagued season in 1980, but nobody will forget the 194 yard rushing performance in the NFC Championship game against the Dallas Cowboys. In 1981, Montgomery rushed for 1,402 yards on 286 carries and caught 49 passes for 521 yards. He lead the team in touchdowns with 10 and helped the Eagles to a 10-win season and a wild card berth.
5. Brian Westbrook, 2006
Brian Westbrook was an explosive running back out of Villanova. In his first of two 1,000-yard rushing seasons, Westbrook ran for 1,217 yards on 240 carries. An excellent receiver out of the backfield, Westbrook caught 77 passes for 699 yards. His 11 touchdowns lead the team, which won 10 games and a first round playoff victory over the New York Giants.
4. Brian Westbrook, 2007
Westbrook followed his excellent 2006 season with his best season of his career. He rushed for 1,333 yards on 278 carries and caught 90 passes for 771 yards. Westbrook scored 12 touchdowns and lead the league in total yards from scrimmage with 2,104. The Eagles finished with an 8-8 record and missed the playoffs, but Westbrook’s season was one to remember.
3. LeSean McCoy, 2013
McCoy lead the NFL in rushing with 1,607 yards and in attempts with 314. He also set the franchise record for most yards from scrimmage. He added 52 receptions for 539 yards. The reason he is number three on this list is that he scored only 11 touchdowns. Although 11 touchdowns is very solid, it ranks only sixth on this list and the player in the number two spot is not far behind his 2013 overall yardage totals and number one had nearly double the touchdowns. All told, McCoy had an extraordinary season for a team that rebounded from 4-12 to 10-6 and a playoff berth.
2. Wilbert Montgomery, 1979
In his third season as a professional, Montgomery established himself as one of the best running backs in the NFL. He was second in the NFC and fourth in the NFL in rushing, with 1,512 yards on 338 carries. He added 494 yards on 41 receptions and his 14 touchdowns were second in the NFC behind Walter Payton and fifth in the NFL. Montgomery helped lead the Eagles to an 11-win season and first round playoff win over the Bears.
1. LeSean McCoy, 2011
Many may argue that McCoy’s 2013 season and Montgomery’s 1979 season were superior to McCoy’s 2011 season. That is very well true, with one exception. McCoy lead the league in rushing touchdowns with 17 and in overall touchdowns with 20. The 20 touchdowns were the most in a season by any player in franchise history. On top of the touchdowns, McCoy rushed for 1,309 yards on 273 carries and caught 48 passes for 315 yards.
Honorable mention: Ricky Watters (1997), Herschel Walker (1992), Duce Staley (1998, 1999, 2002)