By Ben Sullivan

You didn’t have to look far and wide to find the brightest spot in the gloom of the Eagles’ 24-20 loss to Arizona yesterday.

Jeremy Maclin caught 12 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns. He went to the locker room for a concussion evaluation after a massive collision with two Cardinals defenders. Cornerback Patrick Peterson didn’t return to the game after that play. And then there was Maclin’s adventures in punt returning, when he was run out of bounds and crashed into a table covered with cups of Gatorade.

“I’m all right, man,” Maclin said after the Eagles’ 24-20 loss. “It was a hard-fought game. I’m a little tired, a little sore. I’m all right, though.”

Maclin is in a complicated situation. After missing last season with a torn ACL, he agreed to a one-year contract to prove himself worthy of a big long-term deal. He was saddled with the added pressure of having to replace speedy DeSean Jackson after Jackson’s surprising release from the team.

Seven games into the season, Maclin has 39 receptions for 632 yards and six touchdowns. He is on pace to finish ahead of Jackson’s 2013 numbers (82 catches, 1,332 yards, nine TDs).

His first touchdown Sunday came off a craftily designed play. Quarterback Nick Foles faked a handoff. As that was happening, right tackle Lane Johnson slid over to the outside, in front of Maclin. Foles threw to Maclin, who was sprung for a 21-yard score.

But the second touchdown, which gave the Eagles a 17-14 lead in the third quarter, was from Jackson’s script. Maclin ran a go route for a 54-yard score.

“I thought Mac played a great game,” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said. “You see he’s starting to seem to round back into shape, in terms of just total confidence and what he’s doing, running around up there, coming off the injury he had. It’s what I thought we had. I love his work ethic. He’s a legitimate deep threat and he played a hell of a game today.”

He also earned points for toughness. Peterson was covering Maclin as he caught a short pass from Foles. Safety Deone Bucannon charged both of them. All three players’ heads collided.

“I caught the ball,” Maclin said. “I don’t know who exactly hit me. I knew Peterson was on me. The dude was on a beeline. I’m all right, though. I never was out of it. It hurt. Simple as that.”

Maclin said the collision with the Gatorade table was less painful. It was just messier.

“It will probably get a ‘C’mon, man!’ or something,” Maclin said.

Eventful as the day was, Maclin would have preferred a victory.

“The win is so much more important,” Maclin said. “This was a big one. It’s not enjoyable if you don’t win the game. I’ve never been a stat guy, like I said. Today was just one of those days where my number was called. The win would be so much sweeter.”

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