The Philadelphia Eagles’ offense, with an average of 383 yards per game through the season’s first three weeks, is flying high and has the team competing in the always tough NFC East Division. While the team’s start may not be surprising to many people, what does have fans turning their heads are the names of the players racking up the numbers. For years Eagles fans have grown accustom to the Pro Bowl caliber play of Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook, but early injuries to these veterans have allowed for new stars to emerge.
One unlikely source has been third year backup quarterback Kevin Kolb, who on Sunday became the first quarterback in National Football League history to pass for 300 yards in each of his first two career starts. Kolb’s first pro start came against the New Orleans Saints in Week Two in a losing effort. Despite the loss, Kolb finished by completing 31 of 51 passes for 391 passing yards and a pair of TD throws. Yesterday, he paced the Eagles to a 34-14 win over the Kansas City Chiefs by throwing for 327 yards and again having two touchdown passes.
Kolb’s go-to guy during his two career starts has been the Eagles’ wide receiver/return man DeSean Jackson who has now established a first in NFL history by scoring a touchdown of 60-plus-yards in each of the first three games this season. Jackson as a wide receiver was held in check during Week 1 action against the Carolina Panthers but broke out on special teams and returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown. The next two weeks the second-year receiver torched the competition with 4 receptions for 101 yards against the Saints, including a 71-yard touchdown; and had six catches for 149 yards with a 64-yard touchdown play against the Chiefs.
The numbers Kolb and Jackson are putting up early this season are reminiscent of the Eagles Hall of Fame quarterback-wide receiver tandem Sonny Jurgensen and Tommy McDonald during the 1961 season.
Much like Kolb backing up McNabb, Jurgensen spent his first four seasons in Philadelphia backing up Hall of Fame Quarterback Norm Van Brocklin. After the Eagles won the NFL championship in 1960, Van Brocklin retired and Jurgensen got his chance and quickly lit up the stat sheet.
In his first season as the Eagles starter, Jurgensen set a then-league record with 3,723 passing yards, while eclipsing 300-yard passing mark on five separate occasions. He also tied another NFL record that year throwing 32 touchdown passes.
McDonald, all ready a Pro Bowl player, had the best season of his career as he hauled in 64 passes for 1,144 yards and scored a league-leading 13 touchdowns. Surprisingly, McDonald’s longest catch that season (a 66-yarder,) did not go for six, but the Eagles did ride Jurgensen and McDonald’s success to a 10-4 record.
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