With a 63-yard touchdown grab against the Giants on Sunday, DeSean Jackson appears to be finding his groove with quarterback Kirk Cousins in the Redskins offense.
When the Redskins and Giants matched up at MetLife Stadium back in September, quarterback Kirk Cousins was limited in his opportunities to stretch the field with deep throws. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson was absent, in the early goings of a hamstring injury, and the offense suffered because of it.
Sunday afternoon, in the Redskins' 20-14 victory at FedExField, the Giants got a sour taste of what they had been able to avoid two months ago.
Early in the second quarter with the Redskins ahead 3-0, Jackson lined up to the right of the formation. Cousins, implementing a quick cadence, began a play-action stretch to running back Alfred Morris. Before cornerback Jayron Hosley knew it, Jackson had sprinted past him, and was curling towards the middle of the field, flying behind safety Brandon Meriweather.
Cousins lofted a long pass to hit his speedy receiver, who caught the ball in stride and skipped gleefully into the end zone, straddling and then backpedaling his way over the goal line to complete an 11-second, 63-yard drive.
"DeSean won his matchup and got behind the safety," Cousins said. "I was able to lead him across the field. I had a great pocket. He made the catch. He made the play. It was his ability to get behind the defense with his speed and then track the football in the air that's so special."
The downfield strike marked the second consecutive game that Jackson hauled in a touchdown. Both came on plays of more than 50 yards, the first time Jackson achieved that feat since last year in Weeks 5 and 6. The touchdown also moved Jackson past Joey Galloway for sole-possession of fifth-most total touchdowns of 50 yards or more.
He finished with two catches and 66 yards, but the touchdown pass exemplified the dangerous threat he can pose at any time.
"I know I'm a big-time receiver in this league and I know I can make big plays to spark this team," Jackson said. "It was a great feeling. I just want to do more stuff like that to win games and help the energy on the team."
Jackson missed the first nine games of the season after injuring his hamstring during the second drive of the opener against the Dolphins. He returned against the Patriots, but it took him a couple games to find his full speed and get acclimated to the pace of the offense.
With a 56-yard touchdown connection against the Panthers last week, it appears he and Cousins are finally getting into a groove, adjusting to each other in practice and gathering a rapport for the lost time in training camp, when Jackson injured his shoulder, and the last few months.
"Anytime you're missing time in the NFL that's hard to make up," Jackson said. "But I'm doing the best I can week-by-week to improve and be where I need to be, so Kirk comes out to throw the ball, he's ready to hit me."
Sunday afternoon, Jackson also subbed in a couple times as a punt returner, something he did earlier in his career with the Eagles. The move suggested the confidence the Redskins have in his playmaking ability and the desire to utilize his skillset at more than one position as the season enters its final month.
"We're just trying to catch this wave," Jackson said. "If we catch a wave and keep our fire, playoffs here we come."