After Lane Johnson was beaten for a sack-fumble for the second consecutive week, Jason Peters had a little bit of advice for the Eagles’ All-Pro right tackle.
“I just told him to stay off Twitter, off the internet,” Peters said after the Eagles’ 23-21 loss to the Vikings, noting fans and the media will be critical of Johnson this week. “Stay locked in. You’re a great player. Come to work every day and fix it.”
Words of wisdom from a nine-time Pro Bowler and future Hall of Famer.
Johnson has been on the wrong end of quite a few protection miscues already this season, but none bigger than Sunday, when the breakdown led to a 64-yard touchdown the other way.
Vikings defensive end Stephen Weatherly caught Johnson expecting a blitz off the edge and ducked inside. The collision with Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz sent the ball airborne, allowing defensive tackle Linval Joseph to pluck the ball out of the sky and race to the end zone for the score.
The second-quarter mishap aside, Johnson played well, but acknowledged his performance has not been up to par with his stellar 2017 campaign.
“I’m not playing up to my standards,” Johnson said.
“I’ve had great success here. I’ve done great things here for a long time. But when things aren’t going right, I have to look at myself in the mirror, come back to work and try to be better.”
Johnson was also beat for a strip-sack in last week’s overtime loss to the Titans. And in Week 3 against the Colts, his assignment forced another fumble — though Wentz was at least partially at fault for the turnover while attempting to throw in traffic.
Eagles teammates came to Johnson’s defense, noting the offensive line hasn’t lived up to expectations in general, while the tackles in particular have a difficult job.
“We ask more out of our offensive tackles than most teams around the NFL,” Eagles center Jason Kelce said. “We leave those guys on an island every week.”
That may be, yet it’s Johnson who’s arguably been most disappointing because of the game-altering mistakes. This coming off a career year during which a case could’ve been made he was the best offensive lineman in football.
Moreover, Johnson knows the Eagles’ record fell to 2-3 in large part because of the play up front. To his credit, he’s willing to be accountable for that.
“When the offensive line is playing good, we’re going to win games, and when we’re not, you’ll see results like tonight,” Johnson said. “It all starts with me. There are no excuses.”