SAN DIEGO – Surprise, surprise. After catching just 1 pass for 4 yards in the first eight games of the season, Reggie Brown emerged in the passing game for the Eagles on Sunday against the Chargers, catching a pair of passes for 36 yards.
It was a welcomed addition to the offense, which went into an almost all-passing mode after San Diego jumped out to a 14-0 lead. In the first quarter, the Eagles managed just one first down, but Donovan McNabb and Co. got it going in the second quarter and kept it going. The Eagles mustered 433 net passing yards, but came up on the short end of a 31-23 loss to the Chargers.
"Early, we didn't make a couple of plays for (McNabb), but at the same time he fought back," wide receiver Jason Avant said. "All of us tried to rally around him. He did a great job today of leading us out there, not being frustrated. He was just keeping us alive and we fed off of that."
In the middle of it all was Brown, the team's second-round draft pick in 2005 who had seen very little action all year. He was inactive for the opening two games of the season, and had just that single catch in the win over Kansas City.
Just like that, though, Brown was a primary target for McNabb early on. And Brown, who had dropped to the back of the wide receiver rotation with the emergence of second-year man DeSean Jackson and rookie Jeremy Maclin, delivered.
But Brown certainly wasn't the only story at wide receiver. Jason Avant had a career day, making big play after big play highlighted by his one-handed circus catch in the third quarter. He finished with a career-high 8 catches and a career-high 156 yards. Jeremy Maclin caught a touchdown pass to highlight a day when he caught 6 balls for 76 yards.
"It's not about (being) the focal point in this offense," Avant said. "We have a lot of guys who get paid to do a lot of different things. ... It's not me. It wasn't just Don (McNabb). It was the whole unit. That's the way we look at it and that's the way we're going to approach it for the rest of the season."
And, of course, DeSean Jackson was his usual stellar self, catching 8 passes, a career high, for 91 yards.
The Eagles quickly have to put behind this loss. A pivotal NFC battle with the Bears looms a week from Sunday in Chicago.
"We had opportunities to score in the red zone, it didn't happen," Avant said. "You can't beat yourself up about it. There's another game next week. We're going to learn from this and get over it the best way we can."
-- Posted by Dave Spadaro, 9:19 p.m., November 15