ARLINGTON, Texas - A 149-yard rusher, a 210-yard receiver, a 270-yard passer, a clock-draining finale and a guard with a touchdown?
For an offensive line, "It couldn't get any better," said replacement tackle King Dunlap.
It wasn't always pretty, but the Eagles' offensive line, remade once again, held it together early and got it together late in the Eagles' 30-27 win over the Cowboys.
Actually, it looked worse than it was. The Birds gave up just two sacks against a Cowboys team averaging just over two sacks per game, among the worst in the league . . . but Michael Vick exited Spaceship Jerry battered, as usual.
"It definitely bothers us," said left guard Todd Herremans, who caught the second TD pass of his career. "You don't want to see your quarterback on the ground. We're not trying to put him on the ground."
They're not trying to be reinvented weekly, either. Last week, Max Jean-Gilles replaced Nick Cole at right guard. This week, Dunlap stepped in for injured Winston Justice at right tackle.
The early result: Vick flushed, Vick clobbered, Vick running for his life. The Cowboys brought blitzes from both sides, lined up sack-happy linebacker DeMarcus Ware on Dunlap, which is Vick's blind side since Vick is lefthanded.
Dunlap gave up a sack in the third quarter when blitzing cornerback Orlando Scandrick blew past him. Herremans got beaten up the middle by disruptive tackle Jay Ratliff for the other sack.
There were instances of tooth-rattling hits, too - sometimes the outcome of flawed scheming. For instance, it might not have been the best idea to leave fullback Owen Schmitt alone to block Ware, who leads the Cowboys with 9 1/2 sacks. Schmitt gives up 2 inches, 20 pounds and about $7 million in talent-related salary on the first play of the second quarter.
That's how the play was designed, though, the play that got Michael Vick clobbered on the first play of the second quarter. Vick got the pass off, but it hurt.
The blame lay, in part, at the feet of his complaining coaches, who spent a week complaining that Vick gets hit too much, then declined to force the running game early in the contest - and then let the ground game dominate later.
When they did commit, though, it was a wondrous thing to see, and perhaps, more wonderful to be a part of. With 4 minutes, 22 seconds to play, with a three-point lead and the ball at their own 10, the Eagles crushed the Cowboys under their boot. They marched 65 yards, collected four first downs in about 2 minutes, 30 seconds, then knelt twice to run out the clock.
"Any time you run the same play six or seven times in a row, you could say we wore them down," center Mike McGlynn said.
"That's a pretty thing," said coach Andy Reid, a former lineman himself - though he prefers the passing game, to his linemen's dismay.
"We were pretty sure we'd be able to run the ball," Herremans said. "We saved it to the end, I guess."
Not exactly. He and McGlynn combined to open a Texas-sized hole on LeSean "Shady" McCoy's 56-yard run midway through the third quarter that set up the field goal that cut the Cowboys' lead to 20-17, a harbinger of things to come. They did the same thing on McCoy's 13-yard run early in the fourth quarter that set up David Akers' third field goal.
None of that will get as much attention as Herremans' second-quarter touchdown.
On third-and-goal from the Dallas 2, he moved from his guard spot and lined up at the right tight end position. He blocked, released, and found himself open, minimally.
Then he found the ball in his paws.
"He was, like, the fourth read on that play," Reid said.
"It was supposed to be me," Dunlap said. "Would've been, if I hadn't started."
Herremans was glad to get another catch - the first was 2 years ago, in Seattle - but was disappointed that his celebratory moment again stunk.
"His celebration stunk," said McGlynn of Herremans' Frankenstein-ish spike.
"I froze up again," Herremans said. "I'm going to get dance lessons from Shady."
Herremans, doing the Stinky Leg?