ARLINGTON, TEXAS -– When it was over and the Eagles rolled up 25 first downs and 459 total yards in a remarkable 33-27 overtime victory against Dallas, Lane Johnson admitted he "wasn't really sure I was comfortable at all" making his first NFL start at left tackle in place of All-Pro Jason Peters.
It sure didn't show.
The Eagles' makeshift offensive line that moved Johnson from right tackle to left tackle and promoted Dennis Kelly to the starting lineup at right tackle took care of business against a strong Dallas Cowboys front seven, giving quarterback Sam Bradford ample time to set up and complete 25 of 36 passes for 295 yards and a touchdown, and to help open enough holes to run for 172 yards on 35 rushing attempts.
"It was a short week's notice and I'm not sure I was comfortable at all, but I went through it," Johnson said. "It was awkward, but it was funny: My last college football game was here and we lost. So it's good to get out of here tonight with a win."
The Eagles and Cowboys met for the second time this season in Dallas during Week 9. View the full gallery here...
Johnson and Kelly handled the array of pass rushers and edge run defenders the Cowboys used, ranging from Greg Hardy to DeMarcus Lawrence and Jeremy Mincy and Randy Gregory and an active group of linebackers. The offense started slowly once again, gaining only three first downs in the opening quarter before an 80-yard drive gained 6 first downs and the Eagles started rolling.
"Matt (Tobin, right guard) and I felt like we were getting in a good rhythm and we were getting good push and it was one of those things where you're kind of hoping they're going to keep calling these run plays because we felt like we were doing our technique really well and getting a good push and we could open up a lane for the running back," said Kelly, who made his first start at right tackle since 2012. "It was kind of what we expected with the rotation they used. We were prepared.
"I think it went pretty well, but there are always things I can clean up. Overall, though, we all played well together up front."
The loss of Peters, who was ruled out on Saturday with back spasms suffered in Carolina, forced a re-shuffling of the offensive line. The Eagles benefitted from training all week together with Johnson at left tackle, Allen Barbre at left guard, Jason Kelce at center, Tobin at right guard and Kelly at right tackle.
"Getting our running game going means so much for this offense," Kelce said. "We were physical and we handled our assignments well, did a good job on the movement they use up front. We've been trying to get that going for some time now, so to have this coming off the bye week was huge for us. We had some good answers for what they were doing."