GLENDALE, Ariz. – When the Eagles needed a big play from the offense on Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium, they turned to wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, and he delivered time and time again on the way to a monster game in a losing effort for the team.
Maclin set a career-high with 187 yards on 12 receptions, while adding two touchdowns – a 21-yard catch and run on the team's second offensive possession and a 54-yard catch on a perfect throw from quarterback Nick Foles that gave the Eagles a 17-14 lead in the third quarter. He caught long passes and short ones, ones in traffic and ones when he had space.
Oh, and Maclin averaged 12.5 yards on two punt returns, with three fair catches, playing in place of the injured Darren Sproles.
Maclin was, in short, sensational.
At the end of the game as the Eagles fell to 5-2, Maclin's focus was on the loss, not his individual performance.
"We believe that any time we touch the football we're going to score," said Maclin, talking about a final drive that ended at Arizona's 16-yard line. "It didn't happen, but that's the mindset that we have. This is a group full of fighters. Guys that don't quit. Guys that go out there and play hard. Sometimes you just come up short. We've got another week to get ready to go down to Houston and hopefully pull out a win.
"Penalties and turnovers on the road against a good football team are really hard to overcome. Today was living proof of it. And at the end of the day, we still had a chance to win the game. It's just kind of frustrating."
The Eagles turned the ball over three times, including twice in the red zone, and they failed to score a touchdown each time.
Maclin, though, did more than his share. His 12 catches were the second highest for a single game in his career and they tied for fourth-most by an Eagle. Maclin has six multi-touchdown games in his career and has reached the end zone in five of seven games this season, and seven of the last night he has played (remember, Maclin missed all of last season with a knee injury).
"He did it all for us today. He had a great game and we didn't do enough around him," said tight end Zach Ertz.
Maclin scored in the first quarter when he caught a Foles pop pass on the right side of the formation, a simple one-man screen, and used a great Lane Johnson block against cornerback Patrick Peterson to get into the clear. Maclin was untouched on the 21-yard score.
In the third quarter, Maclin got a step on cornerback Jerraud Powers and caught Foles' perfect throw in the end zone for the score.
"I think Nick threw a great ball," Maclin said. "He put it in there and let me make the play. It was a very, very, very good throw by Nick."
What gnawed at Maclin as he left Arizona, though, was the missed chance to win a big game on the road.
"It's frustrating. We've got to clean up the red zone, clean up the turnovers, clean up the penalties," said Maclin. "(But) We're a bunch of fighters. We've been in each and every game this year. Even when we played terribly against the 49ers, we were still in that game. We've got a room full of fighters."