Eagles unable to figure it out as they lose to the 49ers 42-19

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FILE – Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts looks to pass against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of the NFC Championship NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023, in Philadelphia. Jalen Hurts is set to sign one of the richest deals in NFL history, agreeing to a five-year, $255 million extension with the Philadelphia Eagles, including $179.3 million guaranteed, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. The Eagles announced on Monday, April 17, “QB1 is here to stay,” but terms were not yet announced, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet final. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, FIle)

The Philadelphia Eagles looked strong in the first quarter on both sides of the football, but the San Francisco 49ers dominated in all facets from the second quarter on as the Eagles lost 42-19 at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday.

The first two quarters were a tale of both teams. The Eagles scored on their first two drives, marching down the field converting numerous third downs, but had the drives stall resulting in a pair of Jake Elliott field goals to take a 6-0 lead. The defense was swarming, pressuring Niners quarterback Brock Purdy and stuffing the run game to force a pair of three-and-outs. Philadelphia had seven first downs to the Niners six plays in the opening quarter.

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) celebrates after running for a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

San Francisco found a rhythm in the second quarter and never looked back. The offense was able to rip off big chunks courtesy of short passes in the backfield to tight end George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel. The Niners took the lead on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Purdy to Aiyuk which capped off an 85-yard drive to make it 7-6 with 7:15 left in the second quarter.

Purdy and the offense were back at it again and capped off the first half with another well-orchestrated drive, going 90 yards with a touchdown run by McCaffrey to take a 14-6 lead into halftime.

The second half saw a bit of everything between the two top teams in the NFC. The 49ers opened up the third quarter with an impressive 75-yard scoring drive with a 12-yard rushing touchdown from Samuel on an end around to take a 21-6 lead and silence the fans at Lincoln Financial Field.

On the Eagles’ first drive of the quarter, chaos ensued. On a 2nd and 5, DeVonta Smith caught a pass and was body slammed by Dre Greenlaw which warranted a flag. Then, Dom DiSandro, the head of security for the Eagles stepped in between Greenlaw and Smith and Greenlaw extended his arm towards “Big Dom”. It resulted in both Greenlaw and DiSandro being ejected from the game.

Once play resumed, Jalen Hurts connected with A.J. Brown on 3rd and 12 to keep the drive alive before a pair of “Brotherly Shoves” put the Eagles back on the board as Hurts scored the first touchdown of the game for the Eagles with 6:51 left in the third quarter.

The Niners answered right back on the following drive with on an 18-yard touchdown catch from Jauan Jennings to make it a 35-13 score. Hurts, who had to be tested for a concussion in the fourth quarter, miss a few plays but returned to lead the Eagles to a touchdown drive, finding DeVonta Smith in the corner of the endzone to make it a 35-19 game after the failed two-point conversion.

Eagles Defense Gassed

Philadelphia Eagles safety Kevin Byard (31) is congratulated by teammates after intercepting a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Monday, Nov. 20, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

When the Eagles got an unexpected spark with the confrontation with Greenlaw and DiSandro, the defense needed to get a stop. However, Purdy found Samuel over the middle of the field and a missed open field tackle propelled Samuel to a 48-yard touchdown. The missed tackles were a reoccurring theme for the defense most of the game and from the second quarter on, it looked like the defense was running on fumes. The defensive unit had to play a ton of snaps over the two previous marathon games against Kansas City and the thrilling overtime win over Buffalo where the defense played nearly 100 snaps.

The Eagles defense surrendered touchdown drives of 85, 90, 75, 77, 75 and 48 yards Sunday.

Need Help at Linebacker

New England Patriots running back Ezekiel Elliott (15) pulls in a pass reception as Indianapolis Colts linebacker Shaquille Leonard (53) covers in the first half of an NFL football game in Frankfurt, Germany Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

The lack of linebacker depth and the talent in the middle of the field and how the Eagles were going to defend it against Kittle and McCaffrey was a major concern entering this NFC clash and it reared its ugly head. Philadelphia gave up huge chunks to help the Niners move the ball on their long scoring drives. Nicholas Morrow struggled in coverage against McCaffrey and missed on some open field tackles. The loss of Zach Cunningham is a big one and it was evident.

Hurts Concussion Scare

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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) reacts to his touchdown pass to Eagles’ A.J. Brown (11) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

In the fourth quarter, Hurts went to the blue medical tent and then jogged to the locker room to be evaluated for a concussion. He seemingly passed the protocol, coming back out and led the Eagles to a touchdown drive. He’s already dealt with the knee injury most of the season.

Even with the return of Hurts, the Eagles were still far off from catching up to the 49ers. Samuel put the nail in the coffin with his third touchdown of the game late in the fourth quarter. The Eagles will now be 10-2 heading into their big game against the Dallas Cowboys next Sunday. If Philly can bounce back then locking up the number one seed may only get easier.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File