PHILADELPHIA (AP) — DeSean Jackson lay flat on the turf, motionless. A few yards away, Dunta Robinson was just as immobile.
The Eagles and Falcons gathered around the players who seconds before collided so violently that the Linc fell silent.
“Very scary,” Jeremy Maclin said.
Thankfully, both players eventually got up and, wobbly, were helped to the locker rooms, Jackson with a concussion, Robinson with a head injury. Neither returned to Philadelphia’s 31-17 victory Sunday.
Maclin made sure receiving partner Jackson wouldn’t be missed. Catching TD passes of 8 and 83 yards, he helped Philadelphia improve to 4-2, tied for the NFC’s best record, while also snapping the Falcons’ four-game winning streak.
“Anytime you lose any guy in your offense, especially somebody like that, everybody has to step up and have a good game,” Maclin said. “We have playmakers all around our offense. Today was just a day when I got a lot of balls. We always look for ways to give ourselves an advantage over our opponent.”
Kevin Kolb hit 23 of 29 passes for 326 yards replacing injured Michael Vick. The Eagles told Vick, serving as their third quarterback Sunday, to remain in the locker room all game. Vick damaged rib cartilage two weeks ago and has not played since.
“We just kept him in the locker room, not near the field,” coach Andy Reid said. “Today, I just wanted him here. I wasn’t going to let him get in the game and throw the ball. He was not getting hit (Sunday). The chances of him being in there were slim to none.”
Before he was sidelined by the hit to his helmet, Jackson was unstoppable. He gained 78 yards on three first-quarter touches, scoring on a 31-yard run and a 34-yard pass from Kolb for an early 14-0 edge.
“We were able to get a few big plays on them and able to put them in a bind,” Reid said
With Jackson out, Jorrick Calvin and Maclin grabbed the spotlight. Calvin, a rookie cornerback, returned a punt 44 yards to start a drive capped by Maclin’s 8-yard TD catch.
Philadelphia seemed headed for an even bigger first-half lead after Tony Gonzalez had a pass tip off his hands to cornerback Asante Samuel. The Eagles once more efficiently moved into Falcons territory and Kolb had Brent Celek wide open down the middle. But the pass was short and tipped twice before William Moore picked it off and made a weaving 34-yard return. Kolb used a horse-collar tackle to bring down Moore, adding 15 yards to the play, setting up Atlanta (4-2) at the Eagles 31.
A pass interference call on Joselio Hanson led to Gonzalez’s 1-yard TD reception with 14 seconds left in the half, making it 21-7.
“I thought we had confidence at halftime,” quarterback Matt Ryan said. “The defense gave us a big turnover and a short field, we were able to execute and punch it in.”
Before that, the Eagles’ defense dominated a restrained Atlanta offense and several times forced Ryan to throw away the ball before he was sacked. Trent Cole had a big game for Philadelphia with two sacks, and Michael Turner was held to 45 yards rushing.
Atlanta’s defense yielded 474 yards.
“We had a really rough day today,” cornerback Brett Grimes said.
Ryan found the range in the third quarter on a 65-yard drive to Matt Bryant’s 26-yard field goal. Philly quickly negated that thanks to Maclin, who easily outraced safety Thomas DeCoud down the left sideline to haul in Kolb’s long pass for the 83-yard score. Maclin finished with 159 yards on seven receptions.
“It was something we were working on for a while,” Kolb said. “We had a good little fake there, got the safety to jump it and my mentality was if it was one on one, I was going to throw it. And it was none on one.”
Ryan, from nearby Exton, Pa., hit Gonzalez for a 13-yard TD with 5:40 remaining. David Akers, who earlier missed three field goals wide left, made a 30-yarder with 3:01 to go for the Eagles.
Reid blamed a swirling wind for Akers’ misses, but the kicker said that was not the problem. Nor was the fact he wore a pink shoe — the NFL is commemorating the fight against breast cancer this month, and Akers said his mother has had the disease — a factor.
“I just missed the kicks,” he said.
Notes: Philadelphia has scored a TD on its opening drive three times this season. Since 2000, the Eagles are 35-9 when doing so. … The Eagles have won a league-best 22 straight games when leading at halftime. … Jackson has at least one TD rushing and receiving in each of his three NFL seasons, the first WR to do so since Jerry Rice from 1985-87 … Atlanta was second in the league with 148.8 yards rushing per game, but gained only 65.