Brian Dawkins probably would have gone down as one of the most potent and versatile defensive players to ever don the Green and White without his performance on September 29th, 2002, but that game made sure he was forever etched in Eagles lore, just in case. Facing the expansion Houston Texans in their fourth-ever regular-season game, Dawk did just about everything a defensive player could be asked to do--and then did some more shit on top of it.
In the first quarter, he stripped the ball from Texans QB David Carr and recovered it, leading to an Eagles touchdown. In the second quarter, he picked off a Carr pass and returned it 27 yards, leading to an Eagles field goal. And in the third quarter, he caught a pass from Brian Mitchell on a fourth-down punt-fake, taking it 57 yards for a touchdown. Add in a QB sack, and you have the only player in NFL history to ever register a sack, interception, fumble recovery and touchdown reception in the same game--or as the headline in the LA times read, football's equivalent of hitting for the cycle.
Of course, the one of the four that got the most attention was Dawkins's TD reception, the first offensive catch of any time in #20's career. "I never thought I'd get it all the way," claimed Dawk after the fact. "I just wanted to get the first down. When I looked up,
I saw one guy to beat and I knew the two guys coming behind me
weren't going to catch me.'' Dawk's touchdown was one of four the Eagles scored that day, along with two end-zone rushes from Duce Staley and a 38-yard hookup between Donovan McNabb and WR James Thrash, making for a 35-17 throttling and putting the Eagles at 3-1 for the season.
Before signing with the Broncos as a free agent this off-season, Dawkins registered career totals of 34 interceptions, 21 sacks, and 16 fumble recoveries. The catch, however, remains his one and only on offense in his decade-plus tenure with the Birds.