I guess Jeremy Maclin decided he had enough of quietly working his way into the lineup. He came up with a huge game Sunday in the win over Tampa Bay. Maclin caught six passes for 142 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Sometimes numbers can give you a false read. Hank Baskett had an 89-yard touchdown catch and a 90-yard touchdown catch in his time as an Eagle. Both came on short throws where a defender missed a tackle and Baskett just raced downfield for long scores.
Maclin's numbers from Sunday were completely legit. He earned those stats. The first touchdown was a play where Maclin got behind nickel cornerback Elbert Mack on a deep route. The pass was a bit off-target, but Maclin was able to adjust to it and get his hands on the ball. He showed excellent speed in getting by Mack for the 51-yard score. His second touchdown also involved his speed. Maclin ran by the cornerback, who was playing off. It is impressive when a receiver can eat up a defensive back's cushion and still get behind him. Maclin made more of a body catch on this play and did a good job to hold onto the ball as he hit the ground in the end zone. The second touchdown was from ""only"" 40 yards out.
Maclin played very well. He caught short, intermediate and deep passes. He worked the left and right sides. He was effective over the middle as well. Maclin ran good routes. He was able to beat press coverage when Tampa tried that. He was also able to make catches with a defender all over him. Maclin located the ball well and adjusted to it. These are not easy things for a young receiver, especially one who spent his college days in the dreaded spread offense.
Maclin has slowly adjusted to the pro game and has improved a bit each week. Well, don't look for him to improve on the numbers from Sunday, but he still can get better at the little things it takes to be a good receiver. Honing positional skills is something that takes years of practice. Maclin is ahead of schedule as far as I'm concerned. I had low expectations for him this season. I thought he would contribute more on special teams than as part of the offense. This is one case where I'm happy to be wrong
Click here to read my complete, detailed recap of Sunday's win.
-- Posted by Tommy Lawlor, 6:37 p.m., October 12