DeSean Jackson was sensational before taking a vicious hit and leaving the game, Kevin Kolb looked his best yet and the Eagles defense once again stopped the run in a first half full of stories.
And that doesn’t even get to Michael Vick’s absence from the sidelines. The Eagles lead 21-7.
The biggest issue in terms of potential long-term impact is Jackson, who had 78 total yards of offense, including a 31-yard rushing touchdown and 34-yard receiving score in just over one quarter of work.
That was before he suffered an unspecified head injury after taking a horrific hit to the head from cornerback Dunta Robinson. Jackson was reaching for a catch and defenseless on the play. Both players remained on the field for a very long time before getting help to their locker rooms. Jackson will not return to the game.
But he had helped the Eagles take a big lead with Kolb playing his best game of the year and seeming more commanding than ever. He 16 for 20 for 169 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, and a 114.4 passer rating.
The defense held tight as well, holding the vaunted Falcons running game to 35 yards. Stewart Bradley got his first sack of the year and has been far more active than in recent games. Antonio Dixon, helping to fill in for an injured Brodrick Bunkley, has been powerful in the middle of the defensive line. With Bradley and safeties Quintin Mikell and Nate Allen providing coverage, Tony Gonzalez did not have a catch until the Falcons last play of the first half.
That last play, and Kolb’s one interception, could prove significant, though. The Eagles were driving late in the second quarter, with a chance to go up by 24 or 28 points, but Curtis Lofton tipped a Kolb pass, the Falcons intercepted the ball and Kolb compounded the problem with a horse-collar tackle. Suddenly the lifeless Falcons offense got a chance to score, and did, and we have a two touchdown game.
-- Michael Vick is the emergency third quarterback, but is not on the sideline with his teammates. Inactive players are there, but not injured Eagles. We’ll ask Andy Reid about this later.
-- The Eagles are only the second team (after the Saints) to score more than 15 points on the Falcons this season.
-- Asante Samuel is back and had an interception.
-- Moise Fokou is having another strong game, applying some quarterback pressure and making several open field tackles.
-- With Jackson out the Eagles are again down to three wide receivers. Chad Hall is getting lots of playing time. One catch so far.
-- Jorrick Calvin had a 44-yard punt return.