In the first quarter of last Sunday's game between the Falcons and Eagles, DeSean Jackson took a reverse 31 yards for a touchdown. Later, in the third quarter, Kevin Kolb faked a reverse and heaved an 83-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin.
The two explosive scoring plays showcased Philadelphia offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's skill as a game-planner and play-caller, and were certainly worthy of Mike Mayock's "Anatomy of a Play" treatment.
One play set up the other.
Both utilized the same tight-bunch alignment, same run fake to LeSean McCoy, and same reverse action. On the first touchdown, Maclin was a blocker. On the second, Maclin walked off the line as if he was a blocker, then blew past Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud.
The most noticeable difference between the plays, aside from the fact that one was a pass and one was a run, was that Jackson was on the field for one of the touchdowns -- but not the other. Jackson was knocked out in the second quarter after a vicious hit from Dunta Robinson that has grabbed headlines this week.
Now, with Jackson expected to sit out Sunday's game against the Titans (and who knows how much more), the Eagles will miss his deep threat ability. Lucky for them, they still have McCoy to utilize play action off of, as Kolb was 10 of 11 for 200 yards on play action passes against the Falcons.
Still, Jackson will be missed after enduring as violent a collision as you'll see in football. Both he and Robinson suffered concussions, forcing them out of the game and encouraging the NFL to take further steps toward the prevention of head injuries.
Under the league's new policy, defenders who attack with their helmets or launch themselves at defenseless receivers face a possible suspension. This form of punishment should help cut back on the number of concussions that take place.
Suspensions will force coaches and players to play the game without utilizing those kinds of hits. More and more defenders will go for the football, not the receiver. The "strike zone" will be lowered, from the upper body to the midsection. Our favorite players will remain on the field, exciting us with their speed and skill -- brains intact.
For those of you who don't want the big hits legislated, consider the NFL's rules to protect quarterbacks...
A QB cannot be:
1. Driven into the ground
2. Hit in the helmet
3. Hit below the waist
These rules draw the ire of defenders like James Harrison, but should be praised by fans.
Watching a quarterback get smeared is definitely part of the viewing pleasure of the sport, but watching the best quarterbacks play in every game every week is far more important for its overall viewing pleasure. No one wants to see the league's most exciting and dynamic playmakers off the field or, more poignantly, suffering brain damage.