Jackson turning into go-to receiver

The fun stat of the Chargers' season is that neither starting receiver, Keenan McCardell or Eric Parker, has caught a single touchdown pass.

That stat may be fun, but it is no longer entirely true. While McCardell and Parker have yet to score, Vincent Jackson has played too often (including six starts) and too well not to be considered a starter, and against the Seahawks scored his fourth and fifth touchdowns of the season.

"He has all the skills we look for," said head coach Marty Schottenheimer. "He is very bright and is able to put the stuff together quite well."

Jackson had a statistically stellar performance against Seattle. He totaled five catches for 97 yards and the two scores, good for the first multi-score game of his young career. He also got to run the ball twice in Seattle, which pushed his total yards from scrimmage into triple digits.

However, as is always the case with Jackson, his contributions reached beyond the stat sheet.

"I am more a part of the running game here and I am very proud of that," Jackson said. "To be out in front of a great player like L.T. is really an honor. I know we have a lot of weapons in our offense and I can't be selfish about my stats."

Jackson has the ideal build and mentality for a run-blocking receiver. The 6-foot-5, 241 lb. Northern Colorado product is a hardnosed player willing to take on safeties and even linebackers in order to spring his All-Pro tailback.

Those blocking skills were on display during Tomlinson's 62-yard run midway through the second quarter. Jackson lined up tight on the right side of the formation and cracked down on safety Michael Boulware, redirecting him to the outside and allowing Tomlinson to go untouched up the middle.

But against the Seahawks, Jackson's contributions in the passing game accounted for most of his highlight-reel time.

Although Philip Rivers completed just one pass in the first half, Jackson made that one completion count. On his first score, Jackson aligned wide to the right and, at the snap, ran to the end zone and streaked the width of the field as Rivers directed traffic. The two then connected in front of safety Ken Hamlin near the left sideline to put the Chargers up early. Jackson's refusal to give up on what appeared to be a busted play, along with incredible pass protection, made that score possible.

His second score game with 36 second left to play and the Chargers down by four. Jackson, again aligned to the right, used a perfect out-and-up double move to get by Hamlin and cornerback Kelly Herndon before coming down with the game-winning, over-the-shoulder catch deep down the middle of the field. The play covered 37 yards and extended the Chargers winning streak to nine.

Next week, when the Chargers host the Arizona Cardinals, we will analyze the play of kicker Nate Kaeding.


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