EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Boy is it good to have DeSean Jackson back.
In his first game back after a one-game absence because of a concussion, the dynamic second-year wide receiver gave the Eagles what he's given them all season - the big play.
Jackson had 261 all purpose yards on eight touches, including a 60-yard yard touchdown catch and a 72-yard punt return touchdown, and was the catalyst in the Eagles' 45-38 Sunday night win. The win puts the 9-4 Eagles atop the NFC East, one game ahead of the Dallas Cowboys, and one win away from clinching a playoff spot.
"It was a blessing honestly to get out there and fly around," Jackson said. "Sitting at home last week was terrible and I just didn't feel like myself. I told my teammates and everybody that I (was) going to come back strong and that's what I had on my mind."
And it wasn't the first "strong" game Jackson has had against the division-rival Giants. In his four career regular season games against the Giants, Jackson has four touchdowns - two receiving, one rushing, and one on a punt return.
With just over four minutes to go in the first half, Jackson fielded a Jeff Feagles' punt near the left sideline. He slid to his right, hesitated and faked a reverse of field. Then, displaying his world-class speed, Jackson sprinted up the left sideline, faked out Feagles and ran into the end zone - and the Eagles' record book. Jackson's third career punt return touchdown is the most in Eagles' history, and Jackson's only in his second year.
"That punt return was kind of a 'wow' moment," said fullback Leonard Weaver, who scored the game-winning touchdown on a 1-yard run with just over five minutes left in the fourth quarter. "The guy (Jackson) is remarkable man. His speed is unbelievable, his hands, the kid is just an awesome kid."
Later, after the Giants had taken their first, and only, lead of the game in the third quarter, Jackson struck on the very next play from scrimmage. Running deep across the field, he hauled in a bomb from Donovan McNabb and raced into the end zone to reclaim the lead for the Eagles.
"Personally, myself, I feel like I'm the big play, the go-to receiver in crucial moments," Jackson said. After the Giants' took the lead, "I went to Donovan and I went to Coach Reid and Marty Mornhinweg and I told them to put the ball in my hands. (The Giants) were doing some single coverage a couple times and I was like, 'There's no way they can single-coverage me.' They were actually in cover two and Donovan made a great, great throw and I just ran as fast as I could until I got into the end zone."
"He's a special player, he's able to get behind defenses," said wide receiver Reggie Brown. "He was able to get behind the safeties and Don found him and that was a very important play for us. It kind of put a little damper on their spirits; you could hear the wind go out of the crowd."
Jackson has provided the Eagles with the big play all season long, and of his ten touchdowns this seasons, nine have come from 48 yards or more.
His eight touchdowns of over 50 yards this season tie an NFL record with Devin Hester in 2007 and Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch in 1951.
"I kind of had the record in my mind, you know, it's kind of hard not to," Jackson said.
Still, Jackson provided more than the two touchdowns. He helped set up the first Eagles' touchdown with a 32-yard reception of a Michael Vick pass on the opening drive that took the Eagles into the red zone.
Then, after the Giants cut the lead to seven points late in the second quarter, Jackson caught a 44-yard pass from McNabb on 3rd and 20 to set up another Eagles' touchdown at the end of half. On the night, Jackson had 178 receiving yards on six catches (29.7 yards per catch).
"I've had a lot of fun times playing football," Jackson said, "and this just adds on to all the other fun times."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 1:47 a.m., December 14