If you watched the Philadelphia Eagles play the last five years, then you know their offense was lacking something special. They didn’t have anybody who could stretch the field. Of course, all that changed on Sunday when Eagles’ wide receiver DeSean Jackson returned to the Lincoln Financial Field to display his blazing speed.
Jackson put on quite a performance catching eight passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns in leading the Eagles to 32-27 win over the Washington Redskins. Even the Eagles 2018 Super Bowl championship team didn’t have a deep threat, but they’ve got one now.
Jackson, a three-time Pro Bowler, was originally chosen by the Eagles in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He played with the Eagles (2008-13) before moving on to the Washington Redskins (2014-16) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2017-18). Jackson, 32, was acquired by the Eagles with a 2020 seventh round draft pick from Tampa Bay in exchange for a sixth round selection.
The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder made a big impact catching a 51-yard TD pass and a 53-yard TD reception. Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson recognizes his speed and ability to get down the field.
“Yeah, it’s obviously something that we’re blessed to have,” Pederson said. “He’s blessed to have, as well. Take advantage of that. You watch the game and not all the time do you have to throw the ball deep. With his speed, it might get a little off-coverage from time to time, so take advantage of that, too. He fits in well with what we are doing. Obviously, [going deep] freed up [wide receiver] Alshon [Jeffery] and some of the things Nelly [wide receiver Nelson Agholor] did and even [tight end] Zach [Ertz] and [tight end] Dallas [Goedert]. It’s good to have.”
Jackson was really thrilled to be back wearing green and white in Philly. Although he played a big role in the passing game, Jackson provided the team with a pep talk at halftime when the Eagles trailed 20-7. He used his knowledge and experience to give the team a boost.
“[The beginning of the game]was very exciting and [filled with] a lot of emotion,” Jackson said. “The past 48 hours have been racing for me. Trying to keep my calm, my jitters and anxieties has been a roller coaster for me the past 48 hours. I am happy that it is over with, the first game coming back to Philly and all the emotions I had going into the game.
“I couldn’t have predicted for it to be any other way. We came out and started off slow and struggled, but not one moment in that game I didn’t think we were [not] going to come out and win that game. I kept stressing to the boys when we came in the locker room that I have been over there before in that locker room and I know how they are. I just stressed to my teammates that I felt that at halftime. They probably thought they had the game sealed and won. I just said we were going to go out there and it is just going to take one play and play a one-play mentality. we came out and we scored and had a lot of momentum the rest of the game.”
Jackson’s pass catching ability is gaining a lot of attention. He became just the fourth player in Eagles history to catch multiple 50+ yards TDs (51 and 53 yards) in a single game, joining Timmy Brown (Dec. 16, 1962 at St. Louis), Ben Hawkins (Dec, 3, 1967 at Washington) and Tommy McDonald (Dec. 18, 1960 at Washington and Dec. 16, 1962 at St. Louis). He has now registered 31 career 50+ yard touchdowns, which ranks second in NFL history and is only 5 TDs shy of Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (36, 1985-2004).
Eagles’ quarterback Carson Wentz had a a big day. Wentz completed 28-of-39 passes for 313 yards and three TDs.
“It felt great,” Wentz said. “To have him out here, creating the dynamic element that he does for our offense, and I know the city if pretty fired up to have him back here. To do that at home, I know means a lot for him; and for this team, to get us going the way he did was huge for us.”
The Philadelphia Eagles will play the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, Sept. 15 on the road. The game will begin at 8:20 p.m. on NBC 10.