NFL Direct Snaps: DeSean Jackson Creates New Miracle at Meadowlands

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NFL Direct Snaps: DeSean Jackson Creates New Miracle at Meadowlands
Nick Laham/Getty Images
De Sean Jackson became the first player in NFL history to return a punt for a game winning touchdown.

In the four years that I have written this column, no player has ever been the lead story two weeks in a row.

DeSean Jackson is the first.

Last week, I spoke about his speed and his ability to make plays for the high-powered Eagles offense.

Today, I will be speak of his ability to make something out of an almost impossible situation

 

Five Things That Impressed Me About Week 15

1. DeSean Jackson

Somewhere Joe Pisarcik is smiling, for Matt Dodge has taken a seat next to him as the biggest goat in Giants history (more on him later).

It's amazing enough that the Eagles erased a 21-point deficit with seven minutes to go in hostile territory.

It's also pretty amazing that Michael Vick both passed and ran all over New York in the fourth quarter.

But what DeSean Jackson did in using his speed to find the end zone on the final play of the game created one of the most fascinating finishes to an NFL game I have ever seen.

The key moment of Jackson's game-winning punt return was when he fumbled the ball shortly after catching it. The split second the ball was on the ground allowed the Philadelphia special teams unit to create a seam that Jackson followed for the touchdown, giving the Eagles first place by themselves.

J. Meric/Getty Images
Calvin Johnson's big day helped the Lions get their first road win in over three years.

However, it is important to point that Andy Reid could have easily been the goat in this game instead of Matt Dodge. His surprising refusal to challenge an earlier Jackson fumble, when replays showed a push by the Giants' Jonathan Goff caused Jackson to lose the ball, was sort of perplexing.

But it doesn't matter now, and Jackson's exciting punt return with no time left will be fondly remembered in Philadelphia, and grumbled about in New York, for years to come.

 

2. Calvin Johnson

The Lions' big play target came up big Sunday by amassing 10 catches for 152 yards in the team's surprise upset of the Buccaneers.

Of his 10 receptions, the biggest one came in the fourth quarter, when Johnson was able to use his fantastic vertical leap to stay in bounds and set up a game-tying field goal.

The Lions used the momentum to gain their first road win in over three years.

 

3. Rex Grossman

Even though the Redskins came up short on Sunday, Rex Grossman deserves to be commended.

Donald Miralle/Getty Images
Vincent Jackson reestablished himself as Philip Rivers favorite target by catching three touchdown passes against the 49ers.

He did exhibit some of his old habits from Chicago by throwing two interceptions and losing a fumble, which DeMarcus Ware turned into a touchdown.

But for a guy who was making his first start in two years, to throw four touchdowns and lead your team back from a 21-point deficit is quite an accomplishment.

Grossman showed a lot of valor in defeat, refusing to give up and showing Mike Shanahan that at the very least he should be considered as the quarterback to lead this team in the future.

 

4. Vincent Jackson

Any player who sits out for 10 weeks embroiled in a nasty contract dispute yet comes back to have a game like Vincent Jackson did last Thursday night must really believe in his talent.

Jackson reestablished himself as Philip Rivers' go-to guy by grabbing five catching for 112 yards and three scores.

More importantly, he kept the Chargers alive in the highly competitive AFC West.

 

5. Donald Brown

Finally, the Colts have a running back that can make an impact!

Donald Brown came to play in a key divisional matchup against the pesky Jaguars.

Al Bello/Getty Images
Rest assured you had a better day than this guy on Sunday.

Not only did Brown outrush the great Maurice Jones-Drew, he also averaged six more yards per carry and ran for four first downs, which was four more than Drew had on Sunday.

Add to that a key 43-yard score, and Donald Brown sure had himself a career day.

 

Five Things That Depressed Me About Week 15

1. Matt Dodge

When a player can't follow a simple direction from his coach, it always leads to friction.

Matt Dodge was told by Tom Coughlin not to kick the ball to the dangerous DeSean Jackson.

But Dodge was forced to contend with a high snap from teammate Zak DeOssie, which might have made it difficult for him to kick it out of bounds. That said, most punters should be able to achieve that anyway.

Unfortunately, Dodge couldn't, and he was treated to an earful from a steamed Coughlin, who scampered to greet the dejected punter on the field mere seconds after Jackson's touchdown.

Maybe the sight of Coughlin screaming in Dodge's face while Dodge looked down at the ground tells us all we need to know.

If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Elsa/Getty Images
Matt Flynn played great on Sunday, but his inability to run the two-minute offense cost him

 

2. Austin Collie

Just when you thought Austin Collie was back to his old self because he caught eight passes and two touchdowns, he takes a hit from the Jaguars' Daryl Smith and suffers another concussion.

Looks like someone is going to have to step up for the Colts.

 

3. Kellen Winslow

Winslow's ill-timed pass interference penalty negated a touchdown and opened the door for the Detroit Lions to obtain their first road win in over three years.

What's more is the loss may have ended any hope of the Bucs making the postseason.

 

4. Matt Flynn

The former LSU standout almost pulled off the biggest upset of 2010.

Flynn showed me that he was a more than capable backup to Aaron Rodgers, throwing for three touchdowns and trusting his teammates to help him kill the clock and keep the dangerous Tom Brady on the sidelines.

His efforts kept the Pack in the game and shocked the New England crowd.

Marc Serota/Getty Images
Since when does a pro-bowl kicker miss four field goals in one game?

However, his inability to manage the clock in the waning seconds of the game showed his inexperience in running a two-minute offense and allowed the Patriots to escape with a victory.

It was a most unfortunate ending to an otherwise sparkling night.

 

5. Dan Carpenter

The Dolphins offense isn't that good, but when you have a Pro Bowl kicker, you should at least assume that he can generate points if given the opportunity by the offense.

Dan Carpenter had four such opportunities Sunday afternoon and failed each time.

Predictably, Carpenter's ineptitude was a key reason why the Bills were able to defeat the Dolphins and make the seat underneath Tony Sparano even hotter.

 

Idle Thoughts

1. Just what is Brett Favre trying to accomplish? He's not helping his team or his long-term health by playing when his body is obviously breaking down.

2. I could care less about Rex Ryan's foot fetish. If he has a fetish for anything, it's fattening foods.

3. I wouldn't mind if all the professional sports leagues shut down on Christmas Day. Christmas should be about family togetherness, not television ratings.

Jim Rogash/Getty Images
You got reason to smile Geno. Your girls accomplished something that's never been done before

4. The Phillies have the majors' best rotation, but don't sell the Brewers short on that end.

5. I haven't seen The Fighter yet, but plan to. I haven't seen a bad review yet.

6. Call me a scrooge, but I've had enough of the all-holiday music formats on the radio.

7. I don't care what anybody says about the talent in woman's basketball being diluted. If you're to win 89 games in a row in any sport, against any competition, you're doing something right. Congratulations to the UConn Lady Huskies on this most remarkable achievement.

8.  Waiting for four professors to stop deliberating on whether or not you did enough to deserve it while your master's degree hangs in the balance is as nerve-wracking as waiting for a baby to be born. Thankfully, they said yes, and I'll be walking in May.

9. I wish you a safe and joyous holiday wherever you spend it. Here's hoping you get what you want too.

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