Jason Kelce's All-Time Block Leads Eagles Over Titans

Philadelphia Eagles OL Jason Kelce & Landon Dickerson
Philadelphia Eagles OL Jason Kelce & Landon Dickerson
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 14 - It was weird watching last weekend's Philadelphia Eagles beatdown of the Tennessee Titans back for this column. The game was obviously one-sided from a scoring perspective, but I expected the Philly offensive line to be more dominant in the run game. They struggled to run the ball a little bit, which surprised me. But while that was a little shocking, it's not overly concerning because they were able to hit so many big plays in the passing game. Three of the Eagles' five touchdowns were 25 yards or longer.

If you're going to throw the ball deep successfully, obviously you have to hold up in pass protection. The Eagles offensive line was great at giving Jalen Hurts a ton of time to allow his receivers to get down the field.

This play was actually reversed to an incompletion because the receiver's foot was out of bounds, but the protection is there. The Titans are bringing an extra man here, so every Eagles blocker is one-on-one with a defender and they all handle their business. The only guy that gets close to Hurts is the defender trying to bullrush Lane Johnson (65) at right tackle. He gets a little push, but Johnson is totally in control here by the time the quarterback throws it. If you are going to bullrush from the defensive end position, you have to get more push than this to affect the play at all.

I really like what right guard Isaac Seumalo (56) does here. Look at how quickly he's able to redirect outside when his defender goes that direction. That's someone who is playing with light feet and good balance on his initial pass set. Also notice at how locked out his arms are when the defender goes to jump. That's controlling your distance and controlling your man. Really good stuff.

This was the very next play, and it was not ruled an incompletion after review. It capped off Philadelphia's opening 75-yard touchdown drive. The Titans aren't blitzing on this one and Hurts has even more time and space to find A.J. Brown, whose man was knocked over. This looks like something out of a walkthrough Friday practice.

This time let's start with left tackle Jordan Mailata (68), who played a really good game this week. Look at that initial kick set and how he's almost gliding out to the point to meet the edge rusher. That's a big man that's moving smoothly. It almost looks like his initial set is so good that Bud Dupree gives up on the play.

My guess is that with Hurts' mobility, the Titans defenders were coached to rush very conservatively last Sunday. If you don't feel like you can beat your man clean, the defensive coordinator wants you to settle in and try to keep the quarterback contained inside the pocket. What happened was that the Eagles tackles were so good off the snap that you ended up with a lot of plays where the edge rushers were just staring at Hurts as he was throwing 30-yard bombs from clean pockets.

Left guard Landon Dickerson (69) also had a really nice game. He completely locks down his guy here and I can't recall a single pressure he gave up. His very nice season continued this week.

Here's another long touchdown to Brown, and this is where it started to get a bit repetitive for the Titans defense I'm sure. The Titans are bringing some pressure and even have an unblocked guy once the middle linebacker (Dylan Cole, 53) adds to the rush late when he sees the back (Miles Sanders, 26) blocking. But no one gets close to Hurts and he's able to make another deep throw.

It really is jarring to watch how quick off the ball Jason Kelce (62) is sometimes. He has been playing for 12 years and he still looks like the quickest lineman on either side of the ball. Obviously being the one that actually snaps the ball helps, but I watch a lot of centers and none of them move like this. He's out of his stance with both hands on the nose tackle before the defender can get out of his stance. Kelce really is a special player.

And that's why I wanted to show this play. Kelce absolutely annihilates this guy (Kevin Strong, 97) here. This play looks like it's using wireline special effects from an early 2000s kung fu movie. You just don't see NFL defensive linemen get launched like this. Kelce does it by getting into the double team insanely quickly and hitting the defender right on the hip to elevate him somehow. Mailata is lucky the defender didn't land on his knees with how much distance and airtime he got. I have watched this GIF several hundred times over the past 48 hours. I guess I should also point out that this could have and should have been another deep touchdown pass.

And that does it for this week. It was a dominant performance from an offensive line, just with pass blocking instead of in the ground game. Still, this offensive line continues to roll.

Comments

1 comment, Last at 09 Dec 2022, 2:09pm

#1 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 09, 2022 - 2:09pm

Great, as always.

I bet Kelce was pissed he didn't shotput Strong into Dupree.

Points: 0

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