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Patriots Blog

Patriots spoil otherwise fun Lane Johnson Day



Friday, August 17, 2018
DkxW3jdW4AIDk4U.jpgEagles tackle Lane Johnson, having the time of his life.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — An otherwise festive Lane Johnson Day was less fun than anticipated for the honoree as his Philadelphia Eagles dropped a preseason game to the New England Patriots, 37-20, on Thursday.
 
“There wasn't really a fun meter out there, but I guess they had more fun,” Johnson said of the Patriots. “Because they won.”
 
Johnson, the undisputed hero of Super Bowl LII, was honored prior to the game with a super-fun burst of attention. The governors of all six New England states declared August 16, 2018, “Lane Johnson Day” and a dazzling laser light show culminated with a neon green rendering of Johnson’s face in the sky over Gillette Stadium. Immediately thereafter, 40 fighter jets from Otis Air National Guard Base masterfully spelled out “LANE” in formation over a jubilant capacity crowd, because everyone totally cares about Lane Johnson and that’s all they want to talk about.
 
A player you had certainly heard of prior to the Super Bowl, Johnson is well known for acting like a winner who has been there before and will be there again. The Johnny Appleseed of Fun, Johnson is world-renowned for crowd-pleasing blocks and his playful insistence on prioritizing happiness over success. If there is any football player you would recognize without his helmet, it is Lane Johnson.
 
A right tackle (which everyone knows is the most important of all the tackles), Johnson was not on the field when his team finally put points on the scoreboard Thursday night. He was, however, on the field each of the three times the Patriots sacked starting quarterback Nick Foles, including the time Adrian Clayborn forced a fumble. Patriots rookie linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley returned that fumble 54 yards for a touchdown to give the Patriots a 17-0 lead in the second quarter.
 
Johnson, who is also known for his classy praise of Patriots coaches, did not play for the remainder of the night.
 
Immediately after the game, Johnson changed into a “Super Bowl Champions” tee shirt from a season that is not 2018. Because obsessively clinging to a career highlight in the aftermath of a preseason road game in which your quarterback hit the ground three times while you were on the field is most assuredly a thing you see in dynastic organizations. Was it Bill Russell or Bill Belichick who said, “Look backwards and remember the good times,” when asked to summarize the key to sustained success?
 
According to Johnson, the Patriots usually play more out of fear than fun, but New England’s defense genuinely appeared to be having a good time against Philadelphia, gathering eight sacks, two turnovers and a score.
“They had a good defense,” Johnson said. “(We) ended up losing to them, 37-20. That was it.”
 
It was almost as if the New England Patriots had finally risen to the level of Lane Johnson, who also, he says, enjoyed himself on Thursday.
 
“I had fun,” Johnson said. “I always have fun.”
 
Dave Brown is a freelance correspondent who covers the Patriots for the Monitor. You can follow him on Twitter @ThatDaveBrown.