Chip Kelly Update: DeSean Scored & the Eagles Won

Philadelphia played its long awaited showdown with the Washington LOLSkins and it was even nastier and more dramatic than anyone could have imagined.

DeSean Jackson has been cocky and attitudinal since he played at Cal. No one doubted that he wanted to get revenge against the team that cut him over the summer (and cost him millions of dollars a year in reduced salary). Not enough to postpone his summer vacation on a private island just so he could practice with his new teammates, but still, a lot.

Washington coach Jay Gruden actually mocked Jackson before the game on Gruden’s local ESPN-affiliate radio show. I’m not joking. Here’s what Gruden said as his buddies whooped it up, laughing. (Jackson was coming back from a shoulder injury.)

“I think he’s going to be a game day type deal. He wants to go really bad obviously, he’s going back to Philly, but if he’s not 100%, if he’s 60-70%, he’s really not that [much] good to us. {laughter} He’ s already 160 pounds. If he’s only ….{laughter} He’s already a very terrible blocker. “

Maybe this was a clever plan to anger Jackson and rile him up for the game, because Washington came out throwing to him on the second play from scrimmage (a 6-yard gain). And again, on the fifth play from scrimmage, 13 yards for another first down. As cornerback Bradley Fletcher brought Jackson to the ground, safety Malcolm Jenkins (6’0″, 204 lbs) added an exclamation point in the form of a driving tackle aimed directly into Jackson’s injured left shoulder.

Nate Allen catches up with DeSean

from video: NFL Rewind

Nate Allen catches up with DeSean

Jackson hopped up angrily and shoved Jenkins off, at which point Nate Allen (6-1, 210) shoved Jackson back harder and kept stepping up into the wide receiver’s face as he back-pedaled and tried to look tough. (Jackson is 5’10” in platform shoes.)

That little exchange pretty much set the tone for the entire day. You knew that Jackson was going to get his long touchdown, and he did on the first play of a 3rd-quarter drive: 81 yards, a post route where safety Nate Allen bit on a short in and CB Cary Williams had no chance of keeping up.

Chip Kelly admitted after the game that Williams should have had help from Allen, but there was no excuse for Williams’ failed tackle at the 22, where he just slid off the 160 pound receiver like Robin dropping down the Bat Pole. That was pretty embarrassing.

For Jackson though, scoring is just the necessary condition for his favorite part of the game — a taunting victory dance with all eyes on him. He clearly worked hard on this one and may have hired a choreographer. First, he turned around and jogged backwards into the end zone, knees kicking high. Then he flapped his arms with exaggerated curviness in what was meant to be an eagle motion, except that eagles soar with straight wings, but whatever. Finally, he pivoted and kicked an invisible field goal, perhaps to symbolize the Eagles kicking away such a wonderful player.

Jackson even diagrammed his dance after the game with a CSN-Washington reporter. And that wasn’t the end of it. All game long, Jackson kept chirping at the Eagles’ bench, talking smack despite a notable lack of production. (Two Eagles’ receivers, Jeremy Maclin and rookie Jordan Matthews, had better games.)

Those were the undercards though. The title bout came with two minutes into the fourth quarter. Nick Foles was apparently intercepted by rookie Bashaud Breeland, though a review showed that the ball had hit the ground. As Breeland was being tackled and Nick Foles strolled toward the sideline, Washington’s nose tackle Chris Baker blindsided Foles, knocking him up into the air and flat on his back. (Baker, coincidentally, was expelled from college after multiple off-campus fights.)

The Cheapest of Shots

Baker tried to casually walk away but turned back to see something no man ever wants to see — Jason Peters bull-rushing him. Only the desperate strategy of grabbing Peters’ facemask with both hands saved him from likely internal injuries. There was a bench-clearing brawl as a team of trainers revived the quarterback after a couple of minutes. Baker (#92) and Peters (#71) were ejected, though only after the bumbling referees ejected Washington’s Trent Williams (also #71) by accident first.

Jason Peters greets Chris Baker

from video (NFL Rewind)

Jason Peters greets Chris Baker

What happened next was almost too perfect for a heart-warming sports movie. Nick Foles rose strong and stoic and led the Eagles to the game-winning touchdown.

After a Washington turnover, the Birds’ rookie kicker Cody Parkey drilled a game winning 51-yard field goal. Washington put up a fight, scoring a late touchdown but the Eagles’ defense got strict and shut them down on two of their three final drives. They clanged a field goal attempt off the post before that.

DeSean Jackson didn’t catch any of his final three passes and the Eagles won a gritty 37-34 victory. DeSean was apparently fine with that. Bleeding Green Nation writer
Dan Klausner tweeted:

Text from friend: A guy I know is buddies w/ DeSean. Desean said “All I want Sunday is 100 [yards receiving] and a touchdown.” Didn’t give a s*** if they won.

In the end, the final word went to the Eagles’ backup linebacker Emmannuel Acho, who tweeted a meme picture that captured exactly why the Eagles were happy to see Jackson go. Acho found the telling picture which showed that after inciting fights all game, Jackson backed away and watched when actual fists were thrown.

If you want to read more about Chip Kelly — and I mean, a LOT more — I wrote a longform profile of Chip for Philly.com, in 11 chapters with beautiful illustrations. I bet you’d like it.

Mark Saltveit’s is the author of “The Tao of Chip Kelly” (Diversion Books: NY, 2013). His new book, “Controlled Chaos: Chip Kelly’s Football Revolution” will be released in November.

Feature photo: from video (NFL Rewind)

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