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The Eagles' historically bad defense, by the numbers

The 1981 Baltimore Colts defense was comprised of the following legendary players:

  1. DE – Donnell Thompson

  2. DT – Herb Orvis

  3. DT – Bubba Green

  4. DE – Hosea Taylor

  5. LB – Sanders Shiver

  6. LB – Ed Smith

  7. LB – Barry Krause

  8. CB – Derrick Hatchett

  9. FS – Nesby Glasgow

  10. SS – Bruce Laird

  11. CB – Larry Braziel

Remember when the Oilers used to try to run Earl Campbell against the '81 Colts, and Herb Orvis would grab Campbell by the neck, choke slam him, and yell, "Not in my house, son!" Or when Dan Fouts would throw at Nesby Glasgow, and Glasgow would be screaming "Bugger off, mate" in his Scottish accent as he returned it for a pick six?

Me neither. In fact, I don't recognize a single name from that starting lineup above, and with good reason. The 1981 Baltimore Colts, who went 2-14, may have been the worst defense ever.

The Eagles are on pace to break several of their records for futility. Yesterday, we looked at the Eagles potentially historic offense that isn't scoring as much as it should. Today, we look at the 2013 Eagles' historically bad defense, by the numbers:

Total defense

• The Eagles are giving up 446.8 yards per game. That is dead last in the NFL. They are on pace to give up 7148 yards this season. The NFL's all-time worst defense, yardage-wise, was the 2012 Saints, who gave up 7042 yards. Previously, the worst defensive season for yards allowed belonged to the '81 Colts, who allowed 6793 yards.

• The Eagles are giving up 28 first downs per game. That is dead last in the NFL. The 1981 Colts gave up 406 first downs. The Eagles are on pace to give up 448. That's just further proof of what we already know – that the Eagles' defense can't get off the field. They've also allowed 3rd down conversions at a 44% rate, 6th worst in the NFL.

• Chip Kelly isn't concerned about time of possession. The Eagles are last in the league in that metric, at 24:58 per game. What Chip Kelly IS concerned with is the number of plays run. The Eagles are running 71 plays per game. Opposing teams are running 80.5.

• The Eagles have forced 5 turnovers this year. Only 6 teams have forced less.


• The Eagles have allowed 325 passing yards per game. Somehow, the Vikings have allowed more (326). The Eagles are on pace to give up 5200 passing yards this season. The all-time worst was the 2011 Packers, who gave up 4796.

• The Eagles are allowing opposing QBs to connect on 70.2% of their passes. Somehow, the Raiders are worse, at 72.1%.

• The Eagles have given up 9 passing TDs. Only 3 teams (Cowboys, Vikings, Giants) have given up more.

• The Eagles have 2 INTs. Only 5 teams have fewer.

• Opposing QBs have a QB rating of 107.2 against the Eagles' defense. Somehow, that's only 6th worst in the NFL.


• The Eagles are much better against the run than they are against the pass. They are allowing 121.8 yards per game on the ground, which is only 7th worst in the NFL. In their defense, they're only giving up 4.1 yards per carry, which isn't terrible. That puts them in the middle of the pack.


• The Eagles are allowing 34.5 points per game. The only team that has allowed more is the Giants, who have allowed 36.5. The Eagles are on pace to give up 552 points this season. The legendary 1981 Colts gave up 533 points, the most in NFL history.

• Or to do this from a different angle... The 2000 Ravens gave up 165 points that entire season. That is 27 more points than the Eagles have given up after just 4 games.