As promised, Eagles fans saw wide receiver DeSean Jackson back on the field in the 22-14 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday. Well, unless they arrived to the Linc late or briefly changed the channel on their TVs, and missed the four snaps that Jackson played in the first quarter.
The wide receiver then watched the rest of the game from the sidelines, a move coach Doug Pederson said was “precautionary” to ensure he didn’t aggravate the abdominal injury that’s kept him out since Week 2.
Going into Sunday, “the plan was to play him, obviously,” Pederson said after the game. “So we’ll have some more testing done in the morning.”
Not only was the plan to play him, Pederson said, but the plan was to play him the entire game.
So why did Jackson come off the field? Did he tweak the abdominal strain?
“Precautionary right now,” Pederson said. “We’ll get some more testing on it. Find out tomorrow.”
Jackson drew a pass interference penalty and caught a 5-yarder, both on quick out patterns.
Jackson has proved impossible to replace for a team that limped to a 4-4 record at the halfway point of its schedule and nearly blew a 19-0 lead against the Bears. Putting aside a strong showing from tight end Zach Ertz, the passing game was difficult to watch Sunday.
Speaking of injuries, nickel corner Avonte Maddox, who suffered a concussion and neck injury Sept. 26 at Green Bay, and defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, who suffered a foot injury Week 2 at Atlanta, also returned Sunday.
As expected, left tackle Jason Peters (knee) and linebacker Nigel Bradham (ankle) remained inactive.
The only real surprise Sunday was that corner Sidney Jones was inactive, despite being healthy.
Jones was a 2017 second-round pick who was acclaimed as a steal; he’d been considered a likely top 15 selection before he suffered an Achilles tear preparing for the draft. Jones spent much of 2018 struggling with hamstring injuries, but he had a strong training camp this season. Somehow he has not been able to translate his talent into effectiveness; he made several bad coverage mistakes last week at Buffalo.
Genard Avery, the defensive end the Eagles traded for last week, was active and logged half a sack.
The other inactive Eagles were quarterback Nate Sudfeld, defensive end Shareef Miller, center Nate Herbig, and defensive end Daeshon Hall.
Also, running back/returner Darren Sproles was active for the first time since suffering a quadriceps injury against the Jets. Sproles dropped a pass and fumbled a punt out of bounds.
The Bears consistently came to the Eagles’ aid by taking penalties. After the Eagles drove for a Jordan Howard touchdown that made it 19-0 on the first series of the third quarter, Chicago had compiled nine accepted penalties for 70 yards, including a late hit on Zach Ertz that helped set up that TD -- it turned a 14-yard gain into 27 and got the Eagles into the red zone
Afterward, Bears defenders said Eagles center Jason Kelce was drawing them offside by subtly moving the ball, something Kelce is not supposed to do.
The Eagles defense got a first-possession three-and-out for the second game in a row, which is noteworthy, given that six times in nine games, the opposition scored on its first drive. And the Eagles managed a field goal on their first drive, only the third time they have produced points in that situation.