Among the most positive signs from the Eagles’ 33-point offensive outburst on Monday night had to be the performance of DeSean Jackson, at least as far as individuals are concerned. Coming off of consecutive seasons with declining numbers, the two-time Pro Bowler showed he’s ready to serve as the torchbearer for the wide receivers in Jeremy Maclin’s absence.
Jackson’s seven receptions were one shy of a career high, while 104 yards accounted for more than half of Michael Vick’s 203 through the air. It was also the fact that DJacc was clearly Vick’s favorite target, as he looked the electrifying receiver’s way nine times – three more than anyone else.
Then there was the efficiency. Seldom in his six-year career has Jackson hauled in 78-percent of the passes thrown in his direction, especially when that kind of volume is coming his way.
Clearly Chip Kelly had a great game plan for how to utilize his star wideout, as we saw Jackson catch balls on far more short and intermediate routes than it seemed the Eagles ever attempted under Andy Reid. Of course, it helps that the Redskins have something of a feeble secondary, while DeSean has been no stranger to ripping off big plays against Washington throughout his career.
For example, Jackson’s 25-yard touchdown catch was already his seventh career touchdown in 10 games versus Washington – he’s only found the end zone more against the Giants. But here’s the crazy part: according to Elias Sports Bureau, it might be his least impressive scoring play on Washington to date. Per the statisticians:
DeSean Jackson caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Michael Vick on Monday, which was Jackson's seventh TD in 10 games vs. Washington - and at 25 yards, it was the shortest of those seven touchdowns! He had previously scored on receptions covering 88, 62, 57 and 35 yards, and also on a 67-yard run from scrimmage and on a 68-yard punt return.
It’s safe to say DeSean has been a thorn in the Skins’ side ever since he returned a punt for a touchdown on them in his rookie year.
Jackson entered this season on the heels of a strong training camp that garnered some media attention, and he seemed to be taking the great individual effort in stride. After the game, he (like everybody else) took questions about the pace of the Eagles’ offense, offering this warning to opposing defenses. Via Kent Babb of the Washington Post:
“A couple guys were going down with cramps and things like that to kind of slow us down,” said Jackson, who nonetheless had 104 receiving yards. “Not sure how serious the injuries were and things like that, but as far as the offense, we’re like, ‘Come on, let us keep going.’ ”
“A lot of teams,” he said, “better get in shape.”