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Eagles Prove They Have the Best Offensive Line in Football

It's not just the starters who are capable of getting the job done, but the backups are good, too, as Phlly gashes the league's best run defense for 210 yards
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PHILADELPHIA – Even through the fog and rain that swallowed the Center City skyline on a miserable weather day at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday, it was pretty clear to see that the Eagles have the best offensive line in the NFL.

They simply mauled the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense, which had only given up an average of 55 yards per game on the ground, holding the Chargers Austin Ekeler to five yards on four carries last week and the Colts’ Jonathan Taylor, last year’s rushing champion, to 54 yards on nine runs two weeks ago.

This was a game made to run, with rain steady throughout and winds gusting up to 30 miles an hour, and run the Eagles did, putting up 210 yards on 50 rushes and getting Miles Sanders a career-high 134 yards.

READ MORE: Eagles Move to 4-0, Beat Jaguars Behind Miles Sanders, Five ...

All four of their touchdowns came on the ground and they now have 10 rushing scores on the season to become the sixth team since 1970 and the first since 1995 with at least 10 rushing TDs in its first four games.

The Eagles ran the ball twice for every once they threw it, with Jalen Hurts only attempting 25 throws in conditions that left Lane Johnson shivering on the stool in front of his locker room after the game.

“I’m cold,” said the veteran right tackle. “I’m shaking. Been shaking about 15 minutes, but it’s one of those games as a lineman you, if you can run the ball well, it’s a lot of fun.”

Offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland wasn’t in the postgame locker room, but his presence was felt, because it’s not just the starters who make up the best O-line in the game, it’s the backups, too.

The Eagles lost two cogs in the machine when left Jordan Mailata left early in the first quarter with a shoulder injury. Into his shoes stepped Jack Driscoll.

Then, with 11:31 to go in the fourth quarter, right guard Isaac Seumalo limped off with an ankle injury. Sua Opeta stepped into that void.

“That goes back to Stout, man,” said Johnson, using Stoutland’s nickname. “Every day, it doesn’t matter if you’re a starter or not. He knows how games are and how people come in and out. He demands everybody to practice as if they’re a starter. Jack came in and played his tail off today.

“I’m not sure we’re winning that game if we don’t have Jack in (Sunday). Tremendous effort by him. Sua, too, whenever Isaac went out. Credit goes to those guys and Stout.”

Center Jason Kelce called Driscoll the player of the game.

“That’s my vote,” said Kelce, who started his 126th straight game. “For him to come in there and the offense still be able to function and do things well…”

Stoutland said after training camp that he wants to see Driscoll become like Seumalo, who can play every position on the line, but Driscoll got only right tackle reps behind Johnson during camp.

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When Andre Dillard fractured his forearm, Driscoll began moving back and forth between both tackle spots. Dillard, by the way, is eligible to be activated from Injured Reserve this week and he has looked ready to do just that in limited glimpses of him during practices.

READ MORE: Miles Sanders' Career-Day Pushes Eagles to 4-0

Playing multiple spots on the line is something Driscoll did first at the University of Massachusetts then at Auburn.

“With Andre going out early in the season, I was just trying to get as many reps at practice as I could,” he said, “but obviously when you get thrown into a game, it’s different, but coach Stout does a great job getting me ready, and working with other guys. … whatever position the teams needs, just going out and doing my best.”

Driscoll appeared to do well. His name was never called for a hold or an illegal procedure penalty.

“The nice part about that is it was early on (when he went in), so you really had no time to be cold or whatever just going in there,” he said. “Anything can happen on any play, but it was, in a way, better that it was early rather than just sitting around for a half and having to go in.”

As for Opeta, he made a nice block to get Miles Sanders into the end zone for 5-yard run that increased Philly’s advantage to 29-14 midway through the fourth quarter.

“When we’ve had really good teams here, we’ve had guys who have stepped in and played well,” said Kelce. “What you really want when a backup comes in is you want to not to have to change your entire offense up to try and mask a weakness.

“I thought both of those guys went in there and did phenomenal. Jack played incredibly well. And I don’t even remember the last time he’s played left tackle. I know he played a lot of right tackle and a lot of right guard. So to be able to go out there and play left tackle against a good front, one-on-one for much of the game, and move guys in the run game (is impressive).”

Is it any wonder the Eagles have lost two players from their practice squad since the start of the season and two others were quickly claimed after they were released following training camp?

It happens only when you are the best at something, and the Eagles are the best O-line in the game.

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Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Fan Nation Eagles Today and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglesmaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.