DeSEAN JACKSON timed it perfectly.
With the clock quickly winding down in the second quarter, Jackson sprinted toward the white paint in the back of the end zone and shook Corey Webster with a vicious head-fake before making a sharp left turn. Even with his back still facing Michael Vick, the quarterback and his receiver were in sync.
Vick floated the ball toward the corner - in a spot where only the fading Jackson could grab it - and Jackson effortlessly ran under it for his first touchdown of the season.
Jackson's touchdown, which kept the Eagles from going scoreless in the first half for the second week in a row, jump-started the Birds offense on the way to a come-from-behind, 19-17 win over the Giants on Sunday night.
"All week in practice, we simulated how they played that on film," Jackson said. "Getting the inside release on Corey Webster and getting the attention of Antrel Rolle, they both thought I was going to the post and I actually went to the corner route. Vick threw a great ball. It was just a great play call. I was waiting and waiting for it, I thought I would've gotten it on second down, but we waited until third."
Even including his rookie season, Jackson's wait until Week 4 tied the longest he had ever gone without a touchdown to start a season.
Jackson was not incredibly explosive, but he was effective. There were none of the 50-yard bombs that made him one of the league's most lethal deep threats. In fact, his longest catch on Sunday was a 32-yard strike from Vick on a third down in the first quarter.
Long or short, Jackson made the Giants pay. Again.
After his six-catch, 99-yard night, Jackson now has more receiving yards (636), catches (35) and touchdowns (3) against the Giants than he does any other NFC East opponent. Jackson finished just 1-yard shy of his 15th career 100-yard receiving game, which would have been his second against New York.
If we learned anything on Sunday night, it's that the Eagles offense is infinitely more powerful with Jeremy Maclin on the field - regardless of his performance or production.
Maclin missed last Sunday's thumping in Arizona with a hip injury. He left his teammates deserted in the desert - and the Cardinals knew it. Arizona's game plan was simple: Make anyone other than Jackson single-handedly beat them. With a huge lead at halftime, they knew the Eagles would be forced to abandon the run game. So, they covered Jackson with a blanket.
Jackson looked lost. At one point during the first half against the Cardinals, Jackson didn't even make it to the Eagles' hurried-up huddle in the red zone for the play call from Vick. It was a telling moment in an otherwise forgettable game. Overall, Jackson was limited to 43-yards over three catches.
With Maclin back, Jackson responded in a big way.
"It was great to have him back," Jackson said. "He does a great job of balancing it out for me. He did some great things out there. He was probably a little frustrated because he wanted to do more, but it was definitely great to have him back."
Maclin was clearly not 100 percent, but that didn't matter. On Sunday night, the Giants' banged-up secondary had to at least give Maclin the respect he deserves. Maclin finished with one important reception for 7 yards - a first down to extend the game-winning field goal drive from Alex Henery.
Usually animated, Jackson was quiet this week in the Eagles locker room at the NovaCare Complex. He insisted that he was not frustrated with his lack of receptions (14) in the first 3 weeks of the season. On Sunday night, he let his play do the talking.
"Being the fourth game of the year, we're starting to jell together," Jackson said. "I still feel like we've got a lot to learn. We had a lot of red-zone opportunities that we left out there. To be a high-powered team, to be first in the division, you've got to execute and come through."