They were billed as the best defense in the NFL. With the best defensive line in the NFL. With the best pass rusher in the NFL.
So much for that.
The Eagles' offensive line made sure that for one day at the Linc, they were none of the above.
Thanks in great part to a dominating performance by their offensive line, the Eagles made a mockery of the vaunted Vikings defense, piling up franchise playoff records with 456 yards and 27 first downs in a 38-7 dismantling of the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game at the Linc Sunday.
Nick Foles threw 33 times, was sacked just once, and passed for 352 yards and three touchdowns. The Eagles also ran for 110 yards and 4.2 yards per pop before a couple late kneel-downs by Nate Sudfeld.
“The offensive line did a great job," Foles said. "That’s a really good defensive front and they give you a lot of different looks, so there were different blitzes that we had to pick up. There’s a little bit more movement in the pocket just because of the different blitz angles. I just felt comfortable because I trusted the guys up front and I always know they do an amazing job.
"The key to an offense is the offensive line. We have the most athletic and best offensive line in the league. Those guys are unbelievable. Each one of them can probably beat me in a race — that’s how athletic they are.
"To have them in front of me to block and do everything they do, they did a great job all night. I just had to move around in the pocket a little bit. They picked it all up.”
The Vikings came in as the top-ranked defense in the NFL with a defensive line considered the league's best.
The Eagles' offensive line obliterated them.
"I think this is the best they've played as a unit," coach Doug Pederson said. "All the way across the board, from Lane (Johnson) to Big V (Halapoulivaati Vaitai), I mean, these guys, we haven't talked a whole lot about them this year, but this is a group that (offensive line) coach Jeff Stoutland does a tremendous job preparing each week.
"(He) has a great run plan together, our protection schemes, and they just go to work. They come to work on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and get the job done. Sometimes it's not always pretty, but it doesn't have to be. At the end of the day, we find a way, and they find a way."
The Eagles scored more points, gained more yards, converted more points and recorded more first downs than any team had against the Vikings all year.
They ran the ball effectively, they gave Foles enough time to hit a bunch of deep throws and thanks mainly to Big V, they neutralized Griffen, who had 13 regular-season sacks but never got close to Foles Sunday night.
Foles became the first quarterback ever to complete four passes of 35 yards or more in a playoff game against the Vikings.
“That’s crucial," Jason Kelce said. "You have to be able to protect if you’re going to throw downfield. (Foles) knew when it was going to be picked up and it was picked up that he was going to have the time to be able to do that.
"Know who the offensive line has, trust that we are going to be able to get it done, and when we don’t have them because we are not going to pick up everything, and he's ready to get the ball out.”