After missing on their first three attempts at a deep pass, Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson finally connected for a 61-yard touchdown in the third quarter on Sunday. (USA Today Images)
You knew it was coming.
Three times Michael Vick had gone deep to DeSean Jackson. Three times the pass fell incomplete.
"That's very frustrating, honestly," Jackson said. "... But that's part of the game. We just have to keep going and keep working."
Early in the second quarter, Vick hit Jackson deep down the right sideline, but Jackson's right foot came down out of bounds. Late in the second quarter, Vick overthrew Jackson by five yards. Then in the third quarter, Jackson again was open by a step (or three), and this time the ball glanced off his fingertips, or as Jackson said, "slipped off my hands."
Three big swings, three big misses.
"It's not frustrating," Vick said after Sunday's 33-30 shootout loss to San Diego (see story). "Those are opportunities you get throughout the football game. You miss one, you hit one. We had one that was close, but you just have to keep firing until you get one."
A quarter and a half remained. Not that Chip Kelly and his turbo-boost offense -- which appeared to be running on 91 octane instead of 100-octane racing fuel as it did last week -- were going to wait very long.
On their next possession, after LeSean McCoy gained four yards on first down, the stage was set. Second-and-6 on their own 39. Jackson was matched up on corner Shareece Wright, and there was a single safety deep.
Jackson flew by Wright, and this time the two connected: 61 yards, touchdown, tie game.
Vick passed for a career-high 428 yards. Jackson set two career highs with nine catches for 193 yards. But he had only one TD catch. Had he had another, he would have set a third -- and probably have been talking about a win instead of a loss.
"Overall I felt I had a great game," Jackson said. "We still lost the game, and there are things that we can do as an offense and as a team overall to help us win these types of games."
Given the state of the defense -- and secondary specifically -- the Eagles need to take advantage of every scoring chance they get. Vick and Jackson went 1 for 4 and had another TD erased by a penalty (see story).
"Regarding the things we were able to do, I thought it was a success, but it's tough," Vick said. "Maybe we need to score 37 points. I think that's what needed to happen in order to win this football game."
After exploding for 26 in the first half against Washington, the Eagles sputtered for 10 on Sunday.
"[The Chargers] kept us off the field and out of rhythm in the first half," Vick said. "In the second half, we were able to get in a rhythm and score 20 points. But it wasn't enough."
The Chargers stacked the box against McCoy, who rushed only 11 times for 53 yards. Jackson was targeted 15 times -- more than anyone else on either team.
"They did a great job of saying they were going to take away [LeSean McCoy]," Jackson said. "I felt throughout the game that we were going to have some good matchups."
He probably felt it before the game. Jackson (Cal) faced Wright (USC) in the Pac-10.
"Shareece Wright was actually following me throughout the whole game," Jackson said. "I played against him before, and I just felt I was going to be able to take advantage of that matchup. Any time we had a matchup where guys were going to try to get in my face and press me the whole game, I like my options on that."
He should get plenty more.
"You're not going to hit them all," Vick said. "We wish we could. Next week you may hit them all, it all depends."