NFL Direct Snaps: DeSean Jackson Keeps Philadelphia Eagles Soaring

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NFL Direct Snaps: DeSean Jackson Keeps Philadelphia Eagles Soaring
Nick Laham/Getty Images
DeSean Jackson's big night kept the Eagles on top of the NFC East

What a long, strange week this was in the NFL.

This week had it all, from exciting finishes in Dallas and Houston, to the Patriots dominating in the snow, to Planes, Trains and Automobiles 2 starring the New York Giants.

In short, it was one wacky week.

But all of that pales in comparison to an act I consider so bush league that it has no place in the NFL.

To see what I'm talking about, you'll just have to read on.

 

Five Things That Impressed Me About Week 14

1. DeSean Jackson

It seems like Michael Vick is getting all the love in both the City of Brotherly Love and the national media.

Vick's return to grace is as overplayed in the media as "White Christmas" is on the radio this time of year.

Therefore, it was refreshing to see that one of Vick's speedy wide receivers was able to attain some adulation of his own.

The numbers speak for themselves: Four catches for 210 yards, with 91 of those coming on a beautiful route run that led to the go-ahead touchdown.

Yes, Vick's speed is a huge part of the Philadelphia offense, but so is DeSean Jackson's.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Who says kickers can't run? Tell that to Jay Feely.

Without it, the Eagles would be taking next week's key matchup with the Giants a lot more seriously.

 

2. Jay Feely

The Cardinals' veteran kicker provided the majority of their offensive input on Sunday.

Not only did he kick five field goals and three extra points, but he also scored a touchdown on a fake punt the Broncos never saw coming and accounted for 22 fourth-quarter points all by himself.

And you thought kickers were only good for booting balls off tees and through goal posts!

 

3. Deion Branch

Yet another receiver who doesn't get enough credit because his quarterback's greatness sucks up all the headlines.

The rebirth of Branch continued on Sunday, as he caught eight passes for 151 yards and a score in the Patriots' mauling of the Bears.

The touchdown was an absolute thing of beauty, as Branch and Tom Brady completely faked out the Bears defense, who were clearly thinking run, with a go route as time expired in the first half.

Seahawks fans must be wondering where this guy was over the last few years.

Scott Boehm/Getty Images
Deion Branch and the Patriots continue their march to the postseason by beating the Bears in the snow on Sunday

 

4. Josh Wilson

Forget the fact that the Ravens blew a 21-0 lead last night.

You can also forget the fact that one of the worst defenses in the league somehow shut the Ravens down for the majority of the second half.

What matters is that Josh Wilson was able to intercept a Matt Schaub pass in overtime deep in Texans territory and return it for a touchdown, giving the Ravens a win.

Thus, they were able to keep pace with the Steelers and remain a game back in the AFC North.

I only wish I hadn't completely ignored this game, as its finish was no doubt exciting.

 

5. Michael Turner

The Atlanta running back scored three touchdowns in the Falcons' destruction of the lowly Panthers, tying him with Gerald Riggs for the most games with multiple rushing touchdowns in franchise history.

Whatever happened to Gerald Riggs anyway?

 

Five Things That Depressed Me About Week 14

1. Sal Alosi

NFL Photos/Getty Images
Sal Alosi's bush league tacle of a Dolphin returning a kick, suspended him for the season and cost him $25,000

The objective of defensive football is quite simple: All you've got to do is tackle the ball carrier.

I should also point out that the rule only applies to those in uniform on the field.

Coaches should keep a safe distance between themselves and players on the field at all times near the sidelines.

Evidently, this simple act eluded the Jets' strength and conditioning coordinator, who out of pure frustration, intentionally tripped the Dolphins' Nolan Carroll as he was covering a kick.

Sal Alosi had no right to do what he did. He not only set a poor example, but he also undermined the rules of the game—rules that even Pop Warner players should understand.

The Jets have enough headaches as it is. Their defense was badly exposed last Monday night in Foxboro, their offense could only muster two field goals against Miami, at home no less and they're now two games back of the Patriots for the AFC lead.

The last thing they want is this clown making things worse by doing incredibly tacky things, like sticking out his leg and tripping up a player when he's not even on the field.

Kudos to the Jets for sending this guy home for the rest of the season and fining him.

Hopefully, this provides an excellent example for coaches who even think about doing this.

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
Time for a new stadiun Vikings?

 

2. The Washington Redskins Kicking Game

I don't even think Gus the field goal kicking mule could solve the Redskins' kicking woes.

Graham Gano missed two field goals from 34 and 24 yards and punter Hunter Smith botched a snap while holding for a Gano extra point that would have tied the game.

Things like that happen when you're trying to salvage a season that's slowly eluding your grasp.

 

3. Brodie Croyle

Once the news came out that Matt Cassel would be missing Sunday's key divisional matchup with the Chargers with an appendectomy, I wouldn't blame any Chiefs fan for expecting the worst.

After all, backup quarterback Brodie Croyle came into the game with a far from gaudy 0-9 career record as a starter.

As if on cue, Croyle led the Chiefs to an 0-for-11 mark in third down conversions and passed for a grand total of 19 yards, averaging a paltry one yard per completion.

Predictably, the Chiefs were dominated 31-0, keeping the Chargers' division hopes alive and making the Chiefs pray for a speedy recovery for Cassel.

 

4. The Minnesota Weather

On Saturday, the Giants prepared to fly to Minnesota for a Sunday tilt with the Vikings.

However, Mother Nature's fury in the form of a snowstorm diverted the plane to Kansas City and caused a long travel delay there.

Then, to add insult to injury, the snow punctured a hole in the Metrodome's roof, causing the game to be canceled.

Because the Giants had packed for an indoor game, they, along with the Vikings, flew to Detroit to play in front of pseudo fans who were probably there for the free tickets.

All's well that ends well though, and the Giants were able to obtain a victory as they head into a big showdown with the Eagles on Sunday.

 

5. The Lions-Packers Game

Or as I like to refer to it, the game that made me realize just how valuable Aaron Rodgers truly is.

Poor Rodgers suffered his second concussion of the season and his replacement, Matt Flynn, was not able to develop much chemistry with the offense.

The Lions weren't much better, but did manage to eke out an ugly 7-6 win.

The loss was brutal for Green Bay; not only did they lose their leader, but they also risk not having him next week in Foxboro.

I wouldn't be smiling just yet Bears fans.

 

Idle Thoughts

1. I find it ironic that the very week an article appears in Sports Illustrated that extols Brett Favre's toughness, he misses his first start in 297 games.

2. The optimist in me is thrilled the Yankees missed out on both Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford, but the realist knows they've got something up their sleeve.

3. Good luck trying to beat a rotation with Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt, National Leaguers.

4. I think gift cards are one of the greatest inventions of all time. They save so much time because they allow the receiver to buy whatever they want.

5. So the government wants to crack down on soda, huh? Good luck with that, when my local supermarket has a 10 bottles for 10 dollars sale.

6. I subbed for a math teacher today and was amazed at the number of proficiency tasks the students had to complete to graduate. I don't know if I'd graduate with today's rigid standards.

7. If all the world wanted for Christmas was its two front teeth, no one would be in debt come January.

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