OAKLAND, Calif. -- Maybe it was returning punts once again. DeSean Jackson was electrifying against the Raiders, catching five passes for 150 yards and one touchdown and returning three punts for 13 yards.
It looked like Jackson may have got his punt return job back for good. Damaris Johnson was active and also had his kick return duties yanked. He was back to return a fourth quarter punt. On Jackson's first return, he meandered his way through the Raiders cover team for 35 yards. A personal foul penalty on the receiver, because he grabbed the punter by the face mask, brought the return back 15 yards.
As a receiver, Jackson caught short, long and intermediate passes. He caught one for 17 yards on third-and-16. He reeled in a deep one for a 46-yard touchdown and sashayed into the end zone. After three games in which he was held under 100 yards, Jackson finished with his fourth 100-yard receiving game on the season.
It's unlikely Chip Kelly was thumbing his nose at his critics when he had Nick Foles drop on first and goal at the 2-yard line. But a week after the coach was criticized for calling a naked bootleg with rookie Matt Barkley that resulted in a fumble, Kelly called for a pass play in essentially the same situation.
Foles had completed 5 of 6 passes for 82 yards up until that point and Kelly went with the hot hand. He also called a rather simple play. Foles was in the shotgun and Brent Celek ran a short out. The tight end was wide open and Foles hit him for the first of seven touchdowns for the Eagles.
So while Kelly might say it didn't matter what play was called, only that it was executed, he took some of the guesswork out of his quarterback's hands.
Last week, Trent Cole sat at his locker stall and said, "I'm getting my sack this week."
That he did.
After eight games without a sack, the Eagles linebacker got off the schneid on the Raiders' opening drive. Cole chased down the elusive Terrelle Pryor and knocked the ball loose from the quarterback. Pryor recovered his fumble, but the damage had been done and Oakland eventually punted.
Cole was active the entire first half, often pressuring Pryor and forcing him to zigzag in the backfield.
COOPER GETS HELP
Riley Cooper deserves credit for the best statistical game of his career. The Eagles wide receiver caught five passes for 139 yards and three touchdowns and was even credited with 18 yards on the ground when Foles flipped him a lateral in the third quarter.
But D.J. Hayden deserved an assist. The Raiders cornerback has had a difficult first season and the misery got even worse on Sunday.
On Cooper's first score, Hayden was singled up on the receiver and Foles lofted a 17-yard touchdown pass into the corner of the end zone. Hayden looked back for the ball and lost Cooper, who ran under the throw. A series later, the Eagles needed only one play to reach the end zone. Hayden was again singled up on Cooper, who ran a go route. Foles' pass was on the money and Hayden was slow to react. Sixty-three yards later, Cooper had his fourth of five scores on the season and the Eagles had a 21-3 lead.
JOHNSON'S REDUCED ROLE
Damaris Johnson was active for the Eagles, but was not a part of their return on Sunday. Instead, Brandon Boykin returned kicks for the Eagles and DeSean Jackson returned punts. Johnson, who was limited earlier this week with an ankle injury, took plays with the offense, so he was still a participant in the game.
It's unclear whether the change was the result of injury or performance. Johnson has struggled to generate big plays in the return game this season. Both Boykin and Jackson played better than Johnson has this season. Jackson had a 32-yard return that lost a bit of its luster when he was flagged for face-masking. Boykin had a 41-yard kickoff return to open the third quarter.
BROWN BREAKS OUT
The Eagles entered the season with optimism about Bryce Brown as the No. 2 running back, although the second-year player has struggled this season. He entered the game averaging 2.6 yards per carry, but he appeared like the productive rusher from 2012 on Sunday. Brown averaged 12.8 yards on four carries in the first half, including a 32-yard run.
DANGERS OF PUNTING
The Eagles defense forced the Raiders to punt on the opening drive, but they gave the Raiders second life when Kurt Coleman was flagged for running into the kicker when punter Marquette King was knocked to the ground. The penalty handed the Raiders a first down, although Oakland could not take advantage of it. They needed to punt four plays later.
The Eagles benefited from a running into the kicker call in the second quarter when Donnie Jones fell to the ground, but it was fourth-and-6, so the Eagles did not get a first down. Coach Chip Kelly sent the offense onto the field on 4th-and-1 to try to draw Oakland offsides before the Eagles called timeout and punted the ball.
Bradley Fletcher recorded his second interception of the season in the third quarter when he caught a deflected pass. Fletcher, a free agent signee, had four interceptions in 2010, but only one the past two seasons.
His first interception was Oct. 13 against the Buccaneers. Even without the interception, Fletcher played well in coverage on Sunday. The Raiders were unable to throw the ball deep and their offense's best work came on broken plays.
(c)2013 The Philadelphia Inquirer
Visit The Philadelphia Inquirer at www.philly.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services