After a review of the game tape, here is a look at three key Eagles in Sunday's 38-23 victory over the New Orleans Saints:
The center received kudos from Eagles coach Andy Reid during Monday's news conference that were well-deserved.
"He had a big challenge with Hollis Thomas," Reid said. "Hollis played pretty well the last time we played him, and I know Jamaal really wanted to come back and do a nice job, and I thought he did an exceptional job."
With the help of second-year guard Max Jean-Gilles, who was making his first NFL start, Jackson turned Thomas into the invisible man for much of the game, which is quite a trick when you're talking about a player who is 300-plus pounds.
Jackson teamed with Jean-Gilles for a pancake block on Correll Buckhalter's 20-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. In the process, the two shielded linebacker Mark Simoneau on the play. Wide receiver Hank Baskett made a nice block downfield on safety Josh Bullocks to help Buckhalter cover the final 5 yards on what was an impressive burst through the line of scrimmage by the running back.
For much of the afternoon, Thomas was going in reverse when matched against Jackson - a big reason the Eagles averaged 6.6 yards per carry and Brian Westbrook ended up with 100 yards rushing on 17 carries. Jackson and Jean-Gilles also did a good job of keeping quarterback Donovan McNabb protected. McNabb was sacked three times and dealt with some pressure, but most of it came from the outside.
It hasn't been the best of seasons for Jackson, but it should help his confidence going into next year if he finishes strong.
It was an outstanding first start for the rookie linebacker, who came up with a sack and an interception. But his most valuable work came on the momentum-changing goal-line stand on the Saints' opening possession of the second half.
After a catch by David Patten placed the Saints in a second-and-goal situation from four inches away, Bradley was in on the next three tackles to keep New Orleans from scoring.
On second down, defensive tackle Mike Patterson got a hold of Mike Karney's legs and Bradley halted the enormous fullback's momentum at the 1-yard line. On third down, Bradley shot a gap on the left side of the Saints' offensive line and stopped Aaron Stecker. On fourth down, Bradley got the initial hit on Stecker, and safety Quintin Mikell tackled the Saints running back at the 2.
It should be noted that on all three plays, the defensive linemen got a tremendous push against the Saints' offensive line.
Bradley's sack came on a first-down play late in the first half when he blitzed and used his size and strength to bull over rookie running back Pierre Thomas before pulling down Drew Brees for an 8-yard loss. Mikell, who also blitzed, and defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley deserved credit because they had Brees surrounded, leaving him with nowhere to go but into the arms of Bradley.
Perhaps even more impressive was the next play: Bradley had outstanding coverage on Billy Miller, leaving Brees with no choice but to overthrow his tight end.
Before the Eagles' goal-line stand, Bradley showed that there's still room for improvement. Offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb shielded the rookie and created a huge hole for Thomas, who picked up 13 yards on the play. Bradley and Chris Gocong got caught up inside on the next play, allowing Stecker to cut back to the right and pick up 26 yards on his way to the Eagles' 7.
His fourth-quarter interception that turned it into a game of kneel-downs was an outstanding hustle play after a huge hit by Sheldon Brown forced the ball out of the hands of wide receiver Devery Henderson. It's good that Gocong reminded him he should run rather than celebrate after his first NFL interception.
The veteran cornerback wasn't happy in the off-season when it was suggested he might be competing with William James for his starting job.
"I could have been a real jerk about that," Brown said after Sunday's game. "That was uncalled for."
Instead, Brown has had a solid season and James has faded to the role of fourth cornerback, with little chance that he will be back in 2008.
Brown seems to come up with at least one big hit in every game, and the Superdome, of course, is where he delivered the most punishing hit of his career last year in the playoffs when he flattened running back Reggie Bush early in the game.
His big hit Sunday came on the Saints' final offensive series when he smacked Henderson as he tried to catch a Brees pass, making Bradley's interception possible. Brown also made Bradley's outstanding work during the goal-line stand possible.
He chased down Stecker from the backside and stopped him at the 7-yard line. If the cornerback had not hustled to catch Stecker, the Saints back would have scored the game-tying touchdown.
The cornerback did miss a chance for an interception early in the fourth quarter when he mistimed his jump on a second-and-16 play on a pass from Brees to Lance Moore near the goal line. Brown had outstanding coverage on the play.