The Eagles were down 7 points, then 10 points, then 17 points and DeSean Jackson still never thought they were going to lose in his return on Sunday at the Linc. Not for a second.
And that makes sense.
Because Jackson, more than any other player in the entire league, has the ability to change a game in a blink of an eye. That’s what happened in Sunday’s 32-27 win over the division-rival Redskins (see Roob's observations).
“That moment, a snap of the finger,” said Jackson as he snapped his own fingers, diamonds shimmering in the lights of the postgame press conference room.
“It clicks in and everybody is like ‘shoot, we in the game now. We in the game.’”
Jackson’s second-quarter touchdown of 51 yards cut the Redskins’ lead to 10 points and even though they pushed it back to 13 before halftime, the Eagles came out of the locker room in the third quarter with plenty of confidence.
Because Jackson instilled it in them — first with his play, then with his words.
It was Jackson who gave an impassioned halftime speech.
“Not one moment in that game I didn’t think we was gonna win that game,” Jackson said. “And I kept stressing to the boys when we came into the locker room, I’ve been over there before in that (Redskins) locker room and I know how they are. I just stressed to my teammates, I felt at halftime they probably felt like they had the game sealed and won.
“I said we’re just going to go out there, it’s going to take one play. It’s a one-play mentality. As you saw, we scored and had a lot of momentum the rest of the game.”
On Sunday, in his return, Jackson got in a fight and caught two bombs for touchdowns.
Yeah, he’s back.
By the end of the game, Jackson went off for eight catches, 154 yards and two scores. It’s one of his best statistical games in a 12-year NFL career. It’s the first time in his career he’s gone over 150 with two touchdown catches.
It’s also the best game he’s ever had against a former team, which is impressive based on how much success he’s had against his former teams before.
For a 32-year-old guy to come back and have this type of game in his debut is nothing short of remarkable. I guess he was joking last week when he said he might have to be a decoy because of his broken finger.
“He’s gifted. He has a gift,” rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside said. “That’s why he is who he is and where he is today. We’re all gifted in some way; that’s why we’re here. But it takes someone special to do what he does over and over and over and for nobody to be able to stop it.”
Leading up to Sunday’s game, Jackson was a bundle of nerves and excitement. He said it was a roller coaster 48 hours leading to the game.
As for that fight, it came in the first quarter against his former teammate Quinton Dunbar, who actually joined the Redskins in 2015 as a receiver before moving over to defensive back.
“I knew that matchup was big for him and I talked some mess after I caught the first pass,” Jackson said. “And next play, he came back and hit me and I just kind of lost it a little bit. But it happens, it’s a part of the game.”
While head coach Doug Pederson, in his postgame press conference, wasn’t happy about the fight, with Jackson, you take the whole package. And overall, he had a tremendous day in his return and we got a glimpse of just how special this offense can be.
After a shaky start, the Eagles put up 32 points against a solid Washington defense. That comes after they went over 30 points just three times in 2018.
“I think we should have scored 50, but we’ll take 30,” Alshon Jeffery said.
Even when he isn’t catching the ball, Jackson is a big part of that. His presence adds a dimension to this offense we haven’t seen. His teammates have seen him do this stuff all summer in practice, but to see it on a Sunday that counts was a thing of beauty.
Brandon Brooks didn’t mince his words.
“Hell yeah!” Brooks said. “Having DeSean back is f------ great.”
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