Teammates, fans and coaches were impressed on how well right tackle Lane Johnson was able to play while dealing with a sports hernia
The Eagles torched the New York Giants defense for 268 rushing yards on 44 carries during their 38-7 NFC-D win over the G-Men.
The Birds scored three of their five touchdowns on the ground.
The Eagles offense ended with a grand total of 416 yards for the evening.
Quarterback Jalen Hurts finished with a quarterback rating of 112.2.
He was sacked just once and walked away unscathed after missing two games with a sprained shoulder.
Ask anyone in football, not just those covering the Eagles, about that kid of success and how it is achieved.
It is all about the play of the offensive line.
The man that stirs the drink in the offensive is All Pro right tackle Lane Johnson.
This season the Birds offensive line performed so well, it produced three Pro Bowlers in
Johnson, center Jason Kelce and left guard Landon Dickerson.
During the Eagles game against the Dallas Cowboys on Christmas Eve, Johnson tore his abductor muscle in the second half of the loss.
The former Oklahoma standout and fourth overall pick by the Eagles in 2013 missed the remainder of the season but decided to forgo the surgery normally required to fix a sports hernia so he could play in the playoffs.
The Eagles, he knew, would be the No. 1 seed in the NFC and he did not want to miss the three-game road to a Super Bowl championship and another parade. The surgery would wait until after the season.
According to Brian Baldinger, who wrote in his latest column in Footballstories, that Johnson is working with renowned core specialist named Dr. Bill Myers as well as New Orleans Saints defensive end Cam Jordan, who played through a sports hernia a few years ago.
Baldinger himself suffered the same injury during his playing days with the Eagles.
All told Johnson he can play, as long as he can tolerate the pain. That he was not going to do any more structural damage playing the three playoff games.
Jordan and Baldinger did not believe he could be productive. But Johnson played well Sunday against the Giants and although he has not made himself available to the media since making the decision to play through the pain, teammates said was fine after the win over Big Blue.
HEAD COACH NICK SIRIANNI AND SEVERAL TEAMMATES TALKED ABOUT JOHNSON AFTER THE GAME AGAINST NEW YORK.
Dickerson, who made the Pro Bowl after his first year as a starter, was asked if Johnson’s performance and tolerance of pain would have the medical community buzzing and have him listed in many sports medical journals.
Dickerson, at his locker after the playoff win over the Giants, smiled, shook his head and used one line to describe Johnson’s effort.
“He’s a freak of nature, man.”
Quarterback Jalen Hurts was asked Johnson playing through injury.
“He’s a warrior,” Hurts said. “He’s a true warrior and a very important piece of this team. He’s been doing great things for a very long time, and I’m very grateful to have him. We’re grateful to have him and I’m happy that he’s kind of coming out of this thing clean.”
Giants head coach Brian Daboll, did not single out the Eagles offensive line or Johnson when asked why the Eagles had so much success running the football.
“They’re a good team,” the first-year head coach said. “They have good schemes. They have good players. They did a better job of executing their stuff. I think they were dialing up a bunch of different things. They had it rolling tonight. Give them credit.”
Sirianni talked about Johnson and the play of the offensive line.
“They make it go, right? They make it go,” Sirianni said. “It doesn't matter what level of football you're in. Doesn't matter if you're in junior high, JV, varsity, college football, Division I, II, III, if you're in pro football, the O-line and the D-line, you win there, you're going to win a lot of games.
“And that O-line that we have, that D-line that we have, they're special. They have special players, and special men on it, right? Obviously having Lane -- Lane is the best tackle in the NFL, so to have him back and just shutting down a side, that's huge. It was awesome to have him back. He makes us go.”
One down, two to go…then Johnson can rest. *
Email Al Thompson at email@example.com