NFL Super Bowl - The Philadelphia Eagles are heading back to the Super Bowl after beating the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game last Sunday. The story of the game was the injuries to San Francisco’s only two healthy quarterbacks that turned the contest into a blowout in the second half. Without a functioning quarterback, San Francisco was never going to be able to compete with Philadelphia, but watching the game back, I think the 49ers might have been in trouble no matter who they had under center.
I, along with anyone that has been watching, have been singing the Eagles’ offensive line’s praises all season. Considering the defense they were up against, Sunday’s championship performance was another really impressive display. They consistently gave Jalen Hurts plenty of time to throw (he was sacked just once). And while the running stats weren’t gaudy, they did a nice job picking up consistent gains with their backs when they needed them.
The guy I want to highlight first didn’t play the best game of anyone up front for Philadelphia. In fact, he may have played the worst if you graded pass or fail on every play. Still, considering what he’s dealing with (torn groin) and who he was matched up with primarily (Nick Bosa), Lane Johnson’s play may have been the most impressive performance on all of championship Sunday.
Outside of a really bad back or neck issue maybe, I cannot think of an injury that would be harder to pass-block with than a torn groin. Not only does pass-blocking demand a ton of lateral movement, but it’s lateral movement while a 280-pound man is pushing on you. Take this play.
Johnson (65) gets a nice strong kick set and beats Bosa to the point. Bosa counters with an inside rip move so Johnson has to redirect inside. Johnson anchors down and stops Bosa’s progress. Then Bosa sees Hurts think about escaping the pocket, so the defensive end goes to move outside, causing Johnson to redirect.
Again, the fact that Johnson is moving and anchoring like this against a pass-rusher as good as Nick Bosa with a torn groin is insane to me. If you have ever pulled your groin, you know just standing up from a chair can be brutal. I know Toradol works, but I’m wincing watching this rep, and the fact that Johnson more than held his own all game in those circumstances is something I’ll remember for a long time.
Here’s another example of Johnson having to change directions and push off his groin multiple times.
The 49ers are running a twist. Johnson has the looper (Bosa, 97), so he sees it immediately and gets inside to take over the penetrating defensive tackle (Arik Armstead, 91). Once Armstead overtakes Johnson, Johnson has to slide back out to continue blocking Armstead again. Notice Johnson’s posture at the top of the rush too. He’s sitting his ass back, his back is straight, and his arms are locked out. That’s great positioning, and this is a great job by him and right guard Isaac Seumalo passing off this twist.
As impressive as Johnson’s performance was, the best player on the field for Philadelphia’s offense on Sunday was center Jason Kelce. Hearing that someone was "all over the field" is pretty common for defensive players in football. I’m not sure I have heard an offensive lineman’s performance described that way before, but that’s how I would describe Kelce’s play on Sunday. He seemed to be everywhere when something good was happening for the Eagles.
This is outside zone from shotgun, which is a play I usually hate because I don’t think the defensive line gets threatened enough by the running back’s path to really widen and create seams for the back to cut back into. But if your center is going to toss the defensive tackle (Javon Kinlaw, 99) around like this, it doesn’t matter what the back’s path is.
The key—other than how quickly Kelce gets off the ball and into the defensive tackle—is Kelce’s hand placement. Look at the center’s right hand. It’s on the defender’s hip where the center of gravity is, not up high on the shoulder pads. Kelce gets that back hand on the hip and just launches this poor defender 5 yards outside. Then the center climbs and gets the play-side linebacker (Dre Greenlaw, 57).
Like I said, Kelce was everywhere it seemed. Go back and watch the first GIF in this column again and look at Kelce there; look at how much he widens the defensive tackle on that play in case Hurts wants to take off and run up the middle.
After Johnson’s toughness and Kelce’s kinetic greatness, the thing that really stood out to me is how much consistent movement the Philly offensive line was able to generate on San Francisco’s interior defensive line. This next play is just a 6-yard gain from the second half, pretty ho-hum on its own, but it’s a good example of how the Eagles grinded up the 49ers front.
I want to focus on the left guard and tackle, Landon Dickerson and Jordan Mailata. Look at the 49ers' defensive tackle (Kevin Givens, 90). Mailata and Dickerson get into him and immediately blow him off the ball. When you watch it from the wide angle, you can see they actually lose contact with him at first because they knock him back faster than they can move their feet.
Dickerson takes that first inside load step, and then I want you to notice him come through with that left foot and forearm flipper. That’s textbook Crowther sled work. Then Mailata comes down and washes Givens out. Mailata is a little high—you'd rather his hands be on the hip like Kelce’s were the play before rather than in the armpit—but being as big and strong as he is helps you get away with technique that may not be perfect. They knock that defensive tackle 6 yards off the ball and catch the safety (Talanoa Hufanga, 29) in the mess.
This next play was Philadelphia’s first touchdown and this time it’s Kelce (62) and Dickerson (69) dominating up front.
The Eagles snap the ball at the 7 and the defensive tackle ends up at the 1 and never gets close to getting a hand on the back. Seumalo and Johnson are good on the right side too, but that combination between Kelce and Dickerson is just awesome. Once again, they’re blocking the linebacker with a down lineman. This is borderline pornographic for offensive line enthusiasts.
And this wasn’t a case of the Eagles wearing down San Francisco over time. It wasn’t a 49ers defense worn out because their offense couldn’t get anything going after the quarterback injuries. The Eagles got after them from the jump. This last play was literally the first running play of the game, and Philly’s double-team is already absolutely bullying the 49ers' 3-technique.
It’s Mailata and Dickerson again, and that’s 5 yards of vertical movement once more. The Eagles don’t get anyone on either linebacker, but those linebackers can’t make a play until a gain of 5 because they have to dodge the 900-plus-pound mass of humanity that is Mailata and Dickerson rolling a defensive tackle down the field. Mailata in particular is mauling the dude. There was some really fun stuff to watch from this game.
It is nice to see an offensive line that has played so well all year lead a team to a Super Bowl. I have watched a lot of really good units over the years writing this column, and this Philly group is one of the best. It’s too rare that the team with the best offensive line in the game advances to its grandest stage, and I’m looking forward to watching them one last time.
Which NFL team has the best O-line? ›
Eagles go wire to wire in offensive line rankings: After ranking No. 1 in the preseason, Philadelphia's line never gave up its top spot this season. Ravens, Packers, Chiefs, Falcons round out top five: Baltimore climbed two spots to end the year, while Kansas City fell two spots.Who is the best offensive lineman in the NFL 2022? ›
- LT Jordan Mailata. LG Landon Dickerson. C Jason Kelce. RG Isaac Seumalo. RT Lane Johnson.
- LT Jedrick Wills Jr. LG Joel Bitonio. C Ethan Pocic. RG Wyatt Teller. ...
- LT Orlando Brown Jr. LG Joe Thuney. C Creed Humphrey. RG Trey Smith. ...
- LT Taylor Decker. LG Jonah Jackson. C Frank Ragnow. RG Evan Brown.
Things are constantly changing with the size of the big guys up front, but the two heaviest current NFL linemen are Daniel Faalele (6-feet-9, 380 pounds) of the Baltimore Ravens and Trent Brown (6-8, 380) of the New England Patriots.What are the Eagles ranked in the NFL? ›
The offensive line protects the quarterback in football. The offensive line includes the center, two offensive guards, and two offensive tackles. These players are responsible for making sure the quarterback doesn't get hit.What is the 1 best NFL team? ›
1. BUFFALO BILLS. It's tough to look beyond the Bills as the single best roster in football. They didn't even make it to the AFC Championship last season, but they were 13 seconds and some suicidal defense away from doing so at the end of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs.Who is the best O line player? ›
- 2) Tristan Wirfs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
- 3) Lane Johnson, Philadelphia Eagles.
- 4) Andrew Thomas, New York Giants.
- 5) Jordan Mailata, Philadelphia Eagles.
- 6) Ryan Ramczyk, New Orleans Saints.
- 7) Rashawn Slater, Los Angeles Chargers.
Good luck to anyone who thinks Tyler Linderbaum's stature will be a problem in the NFL. Linderbaum was the smallest offensive lineman in the 2022 NFL Draft. He measured in at 6-foot-2, 296 pounds with arms that are 31 1/8 inches long – more than an inch shorter than the average center.Who is the best run blocker in the NFL? ›
1. Zack Martin (Cowboys) The model of consistency and dominance at his position, Martin has emerged as the best interior lineman in football. Martin continues to dominate as a run-blocker at right guard, blocking at the line of scrimmage better than any guard in the league.Who was the most intimidating NFL player? ›
Sports Illustrated called Butkus the "most feared man" in the NFL in 1970, and there are few who would argue. Not only was Butkus just an overall tough, scary guy, he also might have bent a rule from time to time, or might have taken a few liberties with a ball-carrier from time to time.
Who is the strongest NFL player? ›
Larry Christopher Allen Sr.
He played college football at Sonoma State and was selected by the Cowboys in the second round of the 1994 NFL Draft. Allen is regarded as one of the NFL's physically strongest players ever while also capable of using his speed against defenders. Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|No. 71, 63, 78|
|Born:||September 27, 1977 Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.|
|Height:||6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)|
|Weight:||370 lb (168 kg)|
Indeed, many of their fans would say that, all things considered, the Eagles are the greatest American rock band of all time. Guitarist Joe Walsh joined the Eagles in time for their biggest album, "Hotel California."Are the Eagles the best team in the NFL right now? ›
Record-wise, the Eagles are the best team in the NFL because of their performances in the first seven games. But it looks like what goes on during the other six days of the week in practices and meetings has played a large part in those results.Are the Eagles really that good? ›
The Eagles are one of the best football teams in the entire league, no qualifiers needed. They're just great. They'll be in the playoffs, and they'll be actual Super Bowl contenders.Is O line the most important position? ›
The offensive line is usually overlooked by the fans, but this position group is actually just as important as any of the others, and many would say the offensive line is the most important group on the offensive team.
The offensive line is the true engineer of success for any offense. Responsible for creating open creases in the run game, and protecting the quarterback as he drops back to pass, their play is the determining factor in putting points on the board.Should O lineman wear gloves? ›
Both offensive and defensive linemen will want to use similar gloves. A great pair of lineman gloves will offer plenty of tack to assist in gripping also. While it doesn't happen often, a lineman will catch an occasional fumble so it's best to have gloves that support ball handling.Who is America's most favorite NFL team? ›
1. Dallas Cowboys. The Dallas Cowboys are the most popular NFL team and it makes sense as they are also the most valuable franchise in the league. Jerry Jones's Cowboys are worth over an eye watering $8 billion.Who is the best fans in the NFL? ›
- A Green Bay Packers fan base leads all NFL fan bases as of 2022, followed by the Patriots, Cowboys, the Eagles, and a Steeler fan base. ...
- The Patriots finish number 2. ...
- With a top 5 price point and strong demand, the Eagles perform exceptionally on Fan Equity. ...
- Fifth place goes to the Steelers.
Which NFL team has the strongest defense? ›
Philadelphia Eagles – Best NFL defense in 2023
However, it shouldn't take away from the fact that the Eagles have the best defense in the NFL. Philadelphia's pass rush overwhelmed San Francisco's offensive line on the first drive and that continued across four quarters.
Offensive lineman Jon Kolb played all 13 of his NFL seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers, including on four Super Bowl-winning teams. Often said to be the strongest player of his era, he reportedly squatted over 700.Who is the youngest O line in the NFL? ›
Jackson Carman, Penei Sewell and Jalen Mayfield were tied for the youngest offensive linemen in 2021. They were 21 years old.Who is the fastest NFL player? ›
In total, 36 NFL players ran faster than 21 mph during the 2022 regular season, but only Parris Campbell and Kenneth Walker surpassed the 22 mph threshold. Campbell's 22.11 mph speed ranks as the fifth-fastest top speed by a ball-carrier during an NFL season since 2016.Who is the smallest NFL center? ›
Trindon Holliday (5'5" 165)
At 5'5", Holliday is the smallest player in the NFL. But, he is also one of the fastest.
In 2021, Brady surpassed Steve DeBerg (44) as the oldest quarterback to start an NFL game. Among active players, offensive lineman Jason Peters is now the NFL's oldest player at 41.Who leads the NFL in pressures? ›
It's no secret that pass rushing is where Parsons has primarily made a name for himself. Parsons leads the NFL with an 18.8 percent QB pressure rate since being drafted in 2021 (min.What is the most unbreakable NFL record? ›
- Single-game sacks: Derrick Thomas — 7. ...
- Consecutive road wins: San Francisco 49ers — 18. ...
- Consecutive road wins: San Francisco 49ers — 18. ...
- Most career Rushing yards and Touchdowns: Emmitt Smith — 18,355 and 164. ...
- Most career Rushing yards and Touchdowns: Emmitt Smith — 18,355 and 164.
- Philadelphia Eagles. ...
- Buffalo Bills. ...
- New York Jets. ...
- Washington Commanders. ...
- New England Patriots. ...
- Dallas Cowboys. ...
- Denver Broncos. ...
- San Francisco 49ers. When talking about a Super Bowl-caliber defense, the San Francisco 49ers are a perfect example.
The Arizona Cardinals hold the record for the most losses in the history of the National Football League. Since joining the NFL in 1920 (the league's inaugural season), the Cardinals have suffered more defeats than any other team (777 in 102 seasons).
What NFL player hit someone with a car? ›
NFL wide receiver Henry Ruggs III slammed into the back of a car in Las Vegas early Tuesday morning, killing the driver, according to a police report.Which quarterback can throw the farthest? ›
Brett Favre (1997)
During the Quarterback Challenge of 1997, Brett Favre was able to throw the ball at an astonishing distance of 75 yards. After Randall Cunningham, he holds the record for the longest football throw in NFL.
Justin Ernest, Eastern Kentucky, DT: In 1999, Ernest completed 51 bench press reps of 225 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine, which remains the most of all time.What NFL player hits the hardest? ›
Steve Atwater put all of his strength against the 260-pound beast of a man across from him. Not only was he one of the hardest NFL hitters ever, but also one of the surest tacklers as he has racked up over 1000 tackles in his career.Who was the first 300 pound player in the NFL? ›
Roger Brown (defensive tackle)What is the biggest NFL stadium? ›
The shortest QB in NFL history title belongs to Eddie LeBaron.What football team has the best lineman? ›
In fact, Diesch was the only offensive lineman to finish with a 40 time of under 4.9 seconds. That feat and speed are pretty remarkable considering he stands at 6-foot-7 and weighs 301 pounds.What team has the best offensive line all time? ›
- 1975 Buffalo Bills.
- 1978 New England Patriots. ...
- 1986 Chicago Bears. ...
- 1999 San Francisco 49ers. ...
- 1982 Buffalo Bills. ...
- 1997 Pittsburgh Steelers. ...
- 1996 Denver Broncos. ...
- 1994 Pittsburgh Steelers. ...
Has any team went 16 0 in the NFL? ›
The New England Patriots (USA) scored a 16-0 record in 2007, becoming the first team in NFL history to achieve an undefeated regular season since the league went to a 16-game schedule in 1978.Who has the best helmets in the NFL? ›
VICIS had the top four performing helmets in the NFL/NFLPA's eighth annual study, with the second version of the company's position-specific helmet taking the top spot.Who is the fast guy in the NFL? ›
|1||Parris Campbell||26-yard rush|
|2||Kenneth Walker||74-yard rushing TD|
|3||Breece Hall||62-yard rushing TD|
|4||DeSean Jackson||62-yard reception|
NFL players' fastest 40 times
To date, no one has posted a faster 40 time — since 2000 — than Washington wide receiver John Ross or Tennessee wide receiver Donte' Stallworth at 4.22 seconds, according to Stathead.
ESPN names Aaron Donald the greatest defensive tackle in NFL history.Who is the best tackle in NFL history? ›
- 1 / 22. Art Shell. Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, 1968-1982. ...
- 2 / 22. Lou Groza. Cleveland Browns, 1946-1967. ...
- 3 / 22. Jason Peters. Buffalo Bills 2004-2008; Philadelphia Eagles 2009-present. ...
- 4 / 22. Tyron Smith. ...
- 5 / 22. Ron Mix. ...
- 6 / 22. Gary Zimmerman. ...
- 7 / 22. Tony Boselli. ...
- 8 / 22. Willie Roaf.
The left tackle position in particular is incredibly important, since most quarterbacks are right handed and have their back turned to the left side of the line of scrimmage, so the left tackle is responsible for protecting the quarterback's "blind side" when he drops back to pass.
Played on December 22, 1963, the game took place in the American Football League (AFL), but it was absorbed into official NFL records after the NFL–AFL merger. The Oakland Raiders defeated the Houston Oilers 52–49, combining for a total of 101 points.What NFL team never lost a game? ›
The 1972 Miami Dolphins are the only team that has ever achieved a perfect, undefeated season. The media could not be played. In the last five seasons, the Eagles have experienced highs and lows.Has any NFL team scored 100 points? ›
No, an NFL team has never scored 100 points in a game. The Raiders beat the Oilers 52-49 on Sunday to clinch their first division title in 25 years. They were led by quarterback Derek Carr who threw for 447 yards and five touchdowns.