Extra Points: Eagles Enjoy Life in the Fast Lane
The play is called "East Texas," a nod the hometowns of Eagles tackle Lane Johnson (Groveton) and quarterback Jalen Hurts (Channelview).
It produced Johnson's first touchdown since his days of playing quarterback at Groveton High School in the mid-2000's.
The veteran right tackle snuck into the end zone and caught Jalen Hurts' 5-yard pass to seal the Eagles' 34-10 victory over the New York Giants Sunday. The 6-foot-6, 310-pound celebrated by high-stepping to the back of the end zone, handing the football to a fan - hopefully he returned it - then jumping toward the front row of the stands while fans slapped him on the back of his black, No. 65 jersey.
"What was worrying me was I was wearing those plastic thumb guards, so I can't really bend my thumbs," Johnson told an Eagles PR staffer after the game. "I'm just glad I caught it. After that, I tried to do a 'Lambeau Leap,' but I guess our gates are pretty tall."
Johnson's TD was the first by an Eagles' offensive lineman in 11 seasons, since quarterback Michael Vick found Todd Herremans for a 2-yard score on Dec. 12, 2010 during a 30-27 win at Dallas.
It was no surprise that his teammates, including Hurts and his fellow offensive linemen, mobbed him in the end zone after his celebration, then handed him a Santa hat on the sideline. Johnson, the team's first-round draft pick in 2013, is one of the Eagles most popular and most respected players.
"I don't mean to swear," tackle Jordan Mailata said, "but it was f***ing awesome."
No one deserved it more than Johnson, who revealed earlier this season that he's been dealing with anxiety and depression for years. He was forced to miss three games while dealing with the issue, which he said first surfaced while attending Kilgore College in 2008.
His ability to bounce back and resume his status as one of the league's best offensive linemen wasn't lost on his teammates.
After the game, Hurts and Johnson exchanged jerseys.
"It's a testimony to his perseverance and being strong," Hurts said.
The play was part of a dominant second half performance by the Eagles that followed a lackluster effort over the first 30 minutes.
They reeled off 31 unanswered points after halftime. That assuaged the frustration of the fans, who booed the team off the field at halftime after they struggled to a 3-3 tie against a woeful Giants team that was using their second- and third-string quarterbacks in Jake Fromm and Mike Glennon.
"Things aren't going to be perfectly smooth all the time," Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said. "Good teams win games however they can win games."
Sunday's win, their sixth in the last eight games after a 2-5 start, was enough to put them into playoff contention.
At 8-7, the Eagles currently own the No. 7 seed in the NFC with two games remaining, with Minnesota (7-8), New Orleans (7-7 entering Monday's game against Miami) and Washington (6-8 entering Sunday's game against Dallas) also in the hunt.
The Football Power Index (FPI) currently lists the Eagles' chances of making the playoffs at 53 percent with games remaining at Washington next Sunday and against the Cowboys (10-4) at the Linc on January 9, 2022.
Stranger things have happened.
For instance, whoever thought Lane Johnson would catch a touchdown pass?