Maclin breaks out for Birds

Jeremy Maclin, left, catches a 51-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter of the Eagles 33-14 win over the Buccaneers. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)

The theme of the Eagles' victory over the Chiefs two weeks ago was A glimpse into the future.

LeSean McCoy filled in for an injured Brian Westbrook. And Kevin Kolb took over for a sidelined Donovan McNabb.

Both No. 5 and No. 36 returned to the lineup today against Tampa, but that same theme continued with rookie Jeremy Maclin front and center.

With Kevin Curtis inactive, Maclin got a chance to start for the second time this season, and he made the most of the opportunity, catching six balls for 142 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

He put the Eagles on the scoreboard in the first quarter, catching a 51-yard bomb from McNabb on the team’s second offensive play.

Maclin followed that up with a 40-yard touchdown catch in the second, adjusting to the football beautifully and beating the Tampa cornerback in the end zone. Maclin became the first rookie receiver in Eagles history to score two touchdowns of 40 yards or more in the same game.

After he held out during training camp and had just six catches through the first three weeks, we wondered what kind of impact Maclin would have as a rookie. Today, he showed flashes of what the Birds were expecting when they traded up to draft him in the first round.

While a season comparable to Jackson’s 2008 campaign doesn’t seem likely, Maclin showed today that he is capable contributing right away.

Which leads to the obvious question: Did he take Curtis' job away for good?