With DeSean Jackson returning to the Philadelphia Eagles, we thought it would be fun to relive some of his greatest plays in midnight green. While more of them are certainly on their way, here are my five favorite moments featuring Jackson as an Eagle.
5. Classic DeSean
12/13/09 - East Rutherford, New Jersey
Before the “Miracle at the New Meadowlands” was this incredible punt return. While this play didn’t have as much significance as some of the others on the list, it was a big play, in a big game, that led to the playoffs for the Eagles. I chose this play because its a classic example of what Jackson is able to do with the ball in his hands. That explosiveness seems to quadruple on national television and this example is no different. On a punt that many returners would call a fair catch on, Jackson beats the entire special teams unit of the Giants and takes it for a TD. This play is classic DeSean.
4. DeSean’s First Touchdown (almost)
9/15/08 - Irving, TX
Fair warning, I cut off the final moments of this play, as they aren’t what made it great. The day was Monday, the hour was late, and the receiver was a 21-year-old rookie named DeSean Jackson. In just the second game of his young, under the national spotlight, Jackson demonstrated exactly who he was. Not only was he the most explosive player to step foot onto a field in many, many years, but he also was a knucklehead. In what should have been his first career touchdown, Jackson blazed past the secondary and began to celebrate prematurely. As iconic of a moment as it was, it ended up being irrelevant as Brian Westbrook was able to punch the ball in on the following play. Jackson ended up with over 100 yards in each of the first two games of his career, and the city of Philadelphia was electric with excitement for the young superstar in the making. I also like to think of this as a learning moment for Jackson, who to this day still celebrates prematurely, but he now always maintains possession of the ball until he is a few steps into the end zone.
3. Don’t Call it a Comeback
1/18/09 - Glendale, AZ
In his final game as a rookie, DeSean continued to shine brightly under the national spotlight. In the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship, the Eagles were down 24 to 19 with just 10:58 remaining in the game. In what would ultimately become a familiar site among Eagles fans, Donovan McNabb just tossed the ball up and let Jackson do his magic. In his signature dramatic fashion, Jackson bobbled the ball as he ran into the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown. As I’m sure you painfully remember, the Eagles ended up losing this game on four straight incompletions and the Eagles were not able to play the Steelers in the Super Bowl. The loss was eased by the play of the rookie phenom we would all come to love, and the potential he showed.
2. “He accelerates, on the opening play for a Touchdown”
11/15/10 - Landover, MD
DeSean Jackson Appreciation Thread pic.twitter.com/QLNzERuMlO— Lee Sifford (@LeeSifford) March 12, 2019
In the first season without Donovan McNabb at the helm since he was drafted, the 5-3 Eagles, led by the rejuvenated Michael Vick, took the short trip to Washington DC where they were set to face off against their former franchise QB for just the second time. To set the tone, on the first play from scrimmage, after a muffed kickoff by Jorrick Calvin, DeSean Jackson had his eyes on the open field ahead of him. The ball was snapped from Philadelphia’s own 12-yard line, before the left-handed Vick rolled out, set up, and threw the ball as his life depended on it. At first glance, the ball seemed to be overthrown before Jackson turned on the afterburners, blew past a diving LaRon Landry, and showboated his way into the end zone.
While the Eagles ended up making it to just the wild card round that year, this play will always be a prototypical DeSean play due to the unexpectedness of it paired with the dramatic finish.
1. Miracle at the New Meadowlands
12/19/10 - East Rutherford, New Jersey
In what is likely the least surprising thing you’ve read today, Jackson’s historic punt return touchdown to beat the New York Giants in dramatic fashion tops the list. Not only was the play itself extraordinary, but the win from which it resulted propelled the Eagles into the playoffs and ultimately left the 10-6 Giants wondering what happened. Not only is this the best DeSean Jackson play of all time, its arguably the greatest play in Eagles history (that my 28-year-old eyes have seen, anyway).
While Jackson is now on the wrong side of 30, his play throughout the 2018 season demonstrated that he is still a top-tier deep threat and one of the biggest playmakers in the league. While we hopefully will add another great play to this list soon, what are some of your favorite DJax memories?