Explosive plays not only put points on the board quickly, they can shift momentum and change the complexion of a game.
And Sunday night's game features a pair of playmakers who have delivered their fair share of explosive plays. In fact, Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson and Chicago's Devin Hester are part of an influx of young talent over the past few seasons that has produced 50-yard touchdowns at an increasing rate. Both Jackson and Hester able to score from anywhere on the field.
"These guys mean a lot to their teams," says NFL Network analyst and former cornerback Deion Sanders. "These type of players mean a lot because they can score from anywhere on the field. Players with this type of talent and ability are tough to come by."
In 2007, Hester tied the NFL record held by Pro Football Hall of Famer Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch with eight 50-yard touchdowns in a single season.
The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Jackson has already scored six touchdowns of at least 50 yards and is poised to challenge the standard set by Hirsch and Hester. Jackson has been able to find the end zone in a variety of different ways (four receiving, one punt return, one rushing) through the first nine games of this season.
"That kid's explosive," head coach Andy Reid said of Jackson. "He's exciting to watch and he loves to play the game."
The second-year player out of California needs one 50-yard touchdown to become the seventh player in league history to score seven such touchdowns in a season. The six players to accomplish the feat are Hester, former Eagle Timmy Brown, who holds the club mark, and four Pro Football Hall of Famers – Lance Alworth, Jim Brown, Hirsch and Gale Sayers.
"When Devin gets the ball in his hands, he's magic," said Bears linebacker Lance Briggs. "You don't see a player like him very often. He's a special type of playmaker."
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Hester began his NFL career as a return specialist and defensive back. Over the last few years, he has transitioned over to the offensive side as a wide receiver.
"Having faced him last year out there in Chicago I would say he's a year better than he was at this time last year," said defensive coordinator Sean McDermott. "The transformation is still taking place, but he's done a nice job and the coaches out there obviously have been working hard with him.
"He's a formidable receiver due to his speed, number one, and I would say the same thing about (WRs) Johnny Knox and Earl Bennett. They've got some speed-oriented receivers that, if you lose them at the line, they can get behind you in a hurry."
-- Posted by Bob Kent, 5:54 p.m., November 21