Eagles-49ers Postgame: Eagles Forgot to Pack Something
When the Philadelphia Eagles flew to the west coast to take on the San Francisco 49ers, they apparently forgot to pack their offense
The Eagles managed to score 21 points, but none of them were by the offense. As a matter of fact, the Eagles so-called offense didn't even cross midfield until there was 4:45 left in the game. With such ineptitude, it's no surprise that the home team sent the Eagles home with a 26-21 loss.
The Eagles scored two touchdowns on special teams and one on defense.
They blocked a punt in the end zone and recovered it for a touchdown. And Darren Sproles returned a punt 82 yards for another special teams touchdown. As for the defensive touchdown, that was made possible by a horrible pass that 49ers' QB Colin Kaepernick threw right to Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins. Jenkins did make a few nice moves to return the interception 53 yards for the score, but it was hard to determine if there was any offense at all between these two teams in the first half.
Gore: 24-119-0 1 Rec.-55-1
Oh sure, Kaepernick managed to throw an off-balance pass across the field to a wide open Frank Gore, who promptly ran it 55 yards for a touchdown, but that was about it. Phil Dawson chipped in two field goals to make it a 21-13 Eagles lead at halftime, but this was not an offensive showcase for either team.
Kaepernick finished the game 17-for-30 passing for 218 yards, 2 TDS and 1 INT, but he looked awful for most of the game. He managed to find Steve Johnson for a TD at the pylon to bring the 49ers back to within one point, but that scoring drive went all of 23 yards after a Zach Ertz fumble. It was the second fumble of the game for an Eagles receiver after Riley Cooper coughed up the ball right before the half.
Anyway, Johnson beat Eagles CB Cary Williams, as everyone else has been doing regularly this season. Williams stinks at everything but making excuses and should be benched immediately.
It was the first second half touchdown by San Francisco's offense all season. As sad as that may sound, at least the 49ers were producing on offense on this day. The Eagles were not.
The Eagles running game was absolutely non-existent behind their make-shift offense line with three new starters in the interior of the line. They simply couldn't open up any holes for the running game and Nick Foles was under constant pressure the entire game. The Eagles gained all of 22 yards rushing for the game and LeSean McCoy gained only 17 yards on 10 carries all afternoon. It was easily the worst performance of his entire career and it wasn't even his fault. It's not like Sproles was doing much in the running game either, as the Eagles had one rushing first down all game. One.
The 49ers, on the other hand, had 218 yards rushing and Frank Gore went off for 119 yards on 24 carries.
Who was to blame for the Eagles' lack of running success?
You can't blame the Eagles defense too much for this loss since they outscored their own offense. They were also on the field for nearly three quarters of the game. The 49ers led the time of possession by a margin of 42:17 to 17:43. Part of that was due to the fact that the Eagles scored two special teams TDs and another defensive TD, which meant that the defense was going right back on the field without a break, but really, the Eagles' offense was just terrible.
As I said, Foles didn't have any running game to rely on, which made it that much easier for the 49ers to pressure the quarterback. But Foles was also off on a few of his passes. He finished 21-for 43, with no TDs and 2 INTs. Now, the 2 INTs weren't really his fault. The first one came on a play when LT Jason Peters got absolutely manhandled, as Justin Smith ran him over and hit Foles' arm as he threw the ball. The hit cause Foles to under-throw Jeremy Maclin, who had beaten two defensive backs down the middle of the field. Maclin, by the way, had one of the most amazing one-handed catches you will ever see on a day when he caught 5 passes for 68 yards. The other interception was a desperartion pass on 4th and 24 at the end of the game. No 4th & 26 magic on this day for Eagles fans. (Where have you gone, Freddie Mitchell?)
Even Eagles head coach Chip Kelly had a bad day. When the Eagles defense stopped the 49ers late in the game in field goal range, Kelly decided to accept a 10-yard penalty instead of making the 49er attempt a field goal from about 31 yards. Obviously he was hoping to push them back and force a longer field goal, but that plan backfired when Kaepernick ran a sweep around the left side for a 16-yard gain and a first down. The 49ers ended up having to settle for a field goal anyway, to go up 26-21, but they were able to run valuable time off the clock in a close game.
The Eagles took over at their own 8 yard line with 6:35 left in the game, down 26-21. They then proceeded to sustain their first (only) positive offensive drive of the game. Foles drove them 90 yards on 15 plays down to the 49er 2 yard line. McCoy had 2 carries for 10 yards, against a 49ers' defense in full prevent mode, but the rest was all Foles. After McCoy ran the ball to the 2 yard line, it was 3rd and goal. Since the Eagles were having no success at all running the ball, Kelly decided to throw on 3rd down. Foles' pass to Brent Celek in the left flat was incomplete. On 4th down, Kelly called a roll-out to get Foles away from the pressure. It didn't work. Foles was under extreme pressure and fired too high for Maclin in the back of the end zone.
The 49ers ran the ball three times, to kill the clock, and punted. The Eagles couldn't do anything with their last possession, with only 1:23 left in the game, and the game ended as the 49ers took a knee.
The Eagles didn't deserve to win this game, but it's not like the 49ers offense was much better than the Eagles. The difference was a 49ers defense that just dominated the Eagles offense all game.
Donovan McNabb Rips Nick Foles
Honestly, if you had told me that the Eagles would score two special teams TDs and another TD on an interception return, I would have thought the Eagles would have won going away. As it was, that was the only scoring the Eagles could muster on their west coast trip to San Francisco and that complete lack of offense cost them the game.
As rare as it is to score on a blocked punt, punt return and interception return, the Eagles actually did it once before. It was Nov. 22, 1992 against the NY Giants, but that game was actually a win for the Eagles. They weren't so lucky in this game.
The Eagles return home a respectable 3-1, but they blew a chance to remain undefeated by stealing a win. Meanwhile, the 49ers may have just saved their season, raising their record to 2-2.
Sure, the Eagles offense should get better when RT Lane Johnson returns next week from his four-game PED suspension, but they couldn't play any worse than they did against the 49ers. On a day when the special teams and defense scored for the Eagles, who would have guessed that one of the top offenses in the NFL the last two years would look so pathetic. They did and it cost the Eagles a game they should have won.
Maybe next road trip, they remember to pack their offense.