ARLINGTON, Texas - DeSean Jackson hit paydirt with a prime-time performance Sunday night that will surely boost his efforts to get the big contract extension he has been seeking.
The Eagles wide receiver caught four passes for 210 yards and scored a tiebreaking touchdown when he caught a quick out from Michael Vick and zoomed 91 yards into the end zone.
It was a touchdown worthy of an exclamation point, and Jackson provided it when he did the Neste Plunge into the end zone. The mercurial receiver was called for an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty, but it did not matter as the Eagles rallied past the Cowboys, 30-27, at Cowboys Stadium.
They trailed, 20-14, midway through the fourth quarter on a night in which Vick was just OK. But the Eagles knotted the score with back-to-back David Akers field goals and got the ball back with 11 minutes, 43 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
On first down, Vick fired a quick pass to his left at Jackson. Dallas cornerback Mike Jenkins dove for the ball, however, and whiffed. Uh-oh. Jackson had nothing but green turf in front of him and it was off to the races.
Under normal circumstances, no one is catching the speed demon. But somewhere around the Dallas 20, safety Gerald Sensabaugh had caught up to Jackson. He tried to trip him up, but Jackson high-stepped away and had just 10 yards between himself and the end zone.
Rather than coast in, though, he stopped just short of the goal line, turned and flopped across for the score. Jackson was flagged, but the result was much better than what occurred on a similar play two years earlier in Texas, when the receiver prematurely dropped the football before he crossed the goal line.
Jackson spiked the football this time and ran to the sideline out of gas. He waved away congratulating teammates and fell to the ground once he reached the Eagles' bench. Oxygen was provided and eventually Eagles coach Andy Reid came over and whispered something in his star receiver's ear.
What did he say? Great play, kid, but cut out the extracurricular activities?
A little later in the game, kick returner Jorrick Calvin was called for a personal foul when he was baited into pushing a Cowboys player. When he came to the sideline, Reid read him the riot act.
It pays to be good at what you do. And someday soon, Jackson will get paid. Unfortunately for him, a tenuous labor situation has made getting an extension unlikely at this time. Jackson had let it affect him. In the previous three games, he had only 10 catches for 160 yards and no touchdowns.
Reid called him out after the loss in Chicago for, among other reasons, refusing to field practice punts before the game.
But he delivered a show-stopping performance against the Cowboys. His 210 receiving yards were the third most in team history behind Tommy McDonald's 237 in 1961 and Kevin Curtis' 221 in 2007.
He also had two carries for 6 yards and returned four punts for 27 yards.
He bailed Vick out on a night on which the quarterback threw two interceptions for the first time since Dec. 24, 2006.
If he stay healthy for the final three games of the season and into the playoffs - which seem likely - Jackson eventually should hit the jackpot.