Philadelphia Eagles News

In The Dome, Jackson Still Shines Bright

MINNEAPOLIS -- DeSean Jackson never caught a punt in a dome before Sunday's wild card matchup against the Minnesota Vikings.

The spotlights that shine from various angles along the roof inside the stadium create an uneven lighting that makes it harder for some to see the ball when it's in the air.

Well, it wasn't a problem for Jackson who has found an uncanny way of always shining brightest even in just his rookie season.

Jackson finished with 109 punt return yards on just five opportunities, a whopping average of 21.8 yards per return, as the Eagles ousted the Vikings 26-14 to advance to a divisional-round meeting with the New York Giants.

"It's a great feeling. We came up here to Minnesota. We brought all of our fans and we did what we needed to do to win," Jackson said. Photo Gallery : PHI vs. MIN 1-4-09

From the opening return, Jackson ignited the spark that helped the offense get going. After Minnesota's first offensive drive, Jackson took punter Chris Kluwe's offering from the Eagles' 11-yard line. Since the 60-yard punt was much further than the coverage, Jackson had some room to run. He ran it up straight and finally bounced outside to the right where he was off to the races. Jackson wasn't brought down until he got to the Vikings' 27, a 62-yard return. The Eagles capitalized with a 43-yard David Akers field goal for the game's first points.

Jackson didn't just make an impact in the return game. He also had one catch for 34 yards, but it was a beauty. On a third-and-5 from the Eagles' 45, quarterback Donovan McNabb dropped back as Jackson ran a go route down the right sideline. McNabb perfectly threaded the ball between the cornerback and the safety for a 34-yard gain. Akers hit a 31-yard field goal to put the Eagles ahead 9-7 when the game was still very, very close.

Tight games are nothing new for the Eagles, who have battled a lion's share of adversity this season.

"We've been through so much this year," Jackson said. "To be able to overcome it is a blessing."

He may have been a rookie playing in his first playoff game, but just as he has all season he performed like someone who has been through all of the playoff wars with the Eagles. He finished the year with 62 catches for 912 yards and a pair of touchdowns to provide one of the most productive seasons by a rookie receiver in franchise history.

Now, he's a pivotal part of a magical run that could go all the way to Tampa. In fact, the ultra-confident Jackson thinks that's exactly where this run is headed.

"We're going to take it all the way," Jackson said.

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