NASHVILLE-- With DeSean Jackson out with a concussion, it figures that the Eagles' wideout returning from his own concussion would make such a big impact in Tennessee. In his first game since suffering a concussion in the Week 4 loss to the Washington Redskins, Riley Cooper, the rookie fifth-round pick, scored his first career touchdown. But it was the play he made moments earlier that had everyone talking.
On first-and-10 with under four minutes to go in the first half and trailing 10-7, Jeremy Maclin lined up at quarterback with Kevin Kolb at wide receiver. The Eagles had shown the formation earlier in the game when Maclin handed off to running back LeSean McCoy. This time, Maclin handed the ball off to McCoy, who ran left and pitched the ball back to Kolb. It was a well-set-up play and Cooper went streaking down the field with a step on safety Chris Hope.
However, going against the wind, Kolb underthrew Cooper and it looked like Hope would have a sure interception. But Cooper, showing unusual awareness for a rookie, doubled back on the ball and stole it from Hope in mid-air, completing the catch and going down at the 5-yard-line.
"It's my thing to just go get the ball when it's in the air," said Cooper, who caught 3 passes for 51 yards. "Kevin threw it and I went and got it. That's just what I do."
Three plays later, Cooper lined up on the right side of the formation then ran a crossing route while the rest of the offense cleared out the left side. Kolb delivered the ball to Cooper in stride for the touchdown and the 10-7 lead.
"A basic shallow cross," said Cooper. "We knew the linebacker was going to wall me and not let me get around him, but I was able to get past him and Kevin put it right on the money and it was easy from there."
Cooper's emergence is a great sign for what is becoming a stacked wide receiver crew. Cooper adds to Jackson and Maclin, both ensconsed as elite wideouts, the always dependable Jason Avant and the diminutive jack-of-all-trades Chad Hall.
"I enjoyed playing and it was a great experience, but we didn't win the game and that is all that matters," he said. "I'm disappointed in the result. We're here to win. Nothing else matters."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 5:45 p.m., October 24