EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – How can one measure the impact DeSean Jackson has on this Eagles offense? Easy. Just look at a game like the one on Sunday, when Jackson caught 7 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown, the dagger in the fourth quarter of a 36-21 win over the New York Giants.
Jackson, largely silent in losses to Kansas City and Denver when the offense scored, not so coincidentally, 16 points and 20 points, respectively, was a major factor against a Giants secondary missing three cornerbacks due to injury.
Jackson's 56-yard catch of a Michael Vick throw between two defensive backs set up LeSean McCoy's touchdown run that gave the Eagles a 13-7 lead, an advantage they needed after a sluggish start, and then Jackson hooked up with Nick Foles on a 5-yard touchdown, a double move that ended up as a fade pass against press coverage for the final points of a satisfying afternoon.
"Every week is different in the NFL, honestly," said Jackson, when asked about the difference between Sunday and recent weeks. "We had a great game plan today. Division rivalry game, NFC East game, we knew how important it was. We just did everything we could to give ourselves a win. It was a tough-fought battle and we came out on top."
Jackson celebrated his touchdown with own version of Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz' salsa dance, and then ended it by "kicking" the dance away. It was a friendly job at his buddy Cruz, and also maybe a chance to sweep the team's red-zone problems away. The Eagles needed the touchdown in the red zone and Foles and Jackson delivered.
"My friends told me to do that, some friends who didn't really like the dance," said Jackson. "Me and him (Cruz) are great friends. Nothing towards him, just something to pay homage to my friends for wanting me to do that.
"We knew they like to play press coverage in that situation. It was something we had in our arsenal. It was a great call at the right time. I credit Chip (head coach Kelly) for making that call. Nick made a great throw and he gave me a chance to make a play on the ball."
Jackson had just 5 catches for 96 yards in the losses to Kansas City and Denver as the defenses played him in man-to-man coverage with a safety waiting over the top. Taking a few more chances, throwing the ball down the field and also using Jackson on crossing routes, the Eagles made sure to get No. 10 more involved and now the Eagles hope to have something going.
"The biggest thing is making sure we have the opportunities," said Jackson, who now has 28 receptions for 525 yards and 3 touchdowns in five games. "We might not always be able to go out there and have big games and big numbers for myself and things like that, but as long as we're able to have opportunities to get those looks, I think that's what matters the most. They did a good job of keeping me involved and calling plays and making the defense suffer for playing press coverage with a safety sometimes in the middle of the field.
"Today was one of those days to make the defense pay for that."