Biggest takeaways from the Eagles blowout loss to the 49ers in week 13

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Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (91) sacks San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Nick Sirianni and Jalen Hurts era of Philadelphia Eagles have had a consistent theme of finding ways to win no matter the cost.

On Sunday, the Sirianni era, as dominant as they’ve been, were punched in the mouth as bad as anyone has ever seen.

In a game that featured a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship game, the San Francisco 49ers embarrassed the defending conference champs by a final score of 42-19 that stunned fans and analysts alike. Philadelphia was dominated at every phase of the game at home against a conference rival, and had even their ardent defenders questioning the viability of their championship prowess in 2023.

With any major blowout loss like this, there’s going to be massive overreactions and concern across the city. We have the biggest ones that matter here.

Eagles’ coaching staff failed the team Sunday

PHILADELPHIA, PA – JANUARY 29: Philadelphia Eagles coach Brian Johnson looks on during the NFC Championship Game between the San Fransisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles on January 29, 2023 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

There are many contending teams that get whalloped like this over the course of a season. Philadelphia’s loss isn’t a major concern in the grand scheme of things, but the one major takeaway is that Kyle Shanahan completely embarrassed Nick Sirianni’s staff.

After jumping out to a 6-0 lead, the Eagles offense struggled to maintain any sort of rythym while their defense allowed six straight touchdowns to end the game. Sean Desai was outcoached, Brian Johnson was outcoached, and Nick Sirianni had a major fall down to earth.

Sirianni is an excellent motivator and has his team going through an excellent stretch that many organizations would only dream of.

That being said, the bravado that comes with a coach as open as Sirianni means that there is plenty of bulletin board material given to opposing teams. Everyone knew that the 49ers had this game circled on the calendar. Everyone could excuse the Eagles for losing a tough game after a stretch of hard contests.

But when the coaching staff talks a big game before and the players don’t back it up, then said coaching staff looks foolish.

Sirianni is a great coach. Sunday needs to be a humbling experience for the players and coaching staff for them to reach their full potential.

It’s safe to assume that they will.

Jalen Hurts is a franchise QB regardless

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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)

Philadelphia ran into a buzzsaw Sunday and it wasn’t because of their quarterback. Jalen Hurts went 26-45 passing for 298 yards and two total touchdowns. While the 49ers defense did a good job in limiting Philly’s deep passing attack, Hurts was still perfectly fine.

To think that the worse loss by point differential in a start from Hurts is troubling would ignore the fact that this quarterback has made a career off of improving every game and every season. The Eagles have an excellent team and one blip on the radar isn’t enough to question that about their quarterback.

Linebackers will be the Achilles heel of the organization for years

49ers vs. Vikings
Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (2) fumbles the ball in front of Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Mario Goodrich (31) and Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Nicholas Morrow (41) during the second half of an NFL football game Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Philadelphia. The play was negated by a penalty on the Eagles. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

There’s a very obvious weakness on this Eagles defense – it’s been the same one plaguing them over the years.

The linebacker position was exposed in the worst possible way on Sunday. Whether it was Brock Purdy picking apart the middle of the field, or Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel getting to the edge, the 49ers exploited Nicholas Morrow and Christian Elliss.

While I do think the return of Zach Cunningham, and potential addition of Shaq Leonard may be extremely helpful, the Eagles have shown that mediocre linebacker play is good enough to win a championship. The problem is that the Eagles have a clear weakness that both the 49ers and Cowboys know how to exploit.

They are exhausted

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) scrambles as Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Jalen Carter (98) defends during the first half of an NFL football game, Monday, Nov. 20, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

If you asked anyone before the season that the team would be 3-1 during their schedule gauntlet leading into Dallas, I think everyone would be willing to sign up for that.

The fact of the matter is that the Birds have played consecutive games against the Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, and 49ers. Three of those games have come in 13 days. It’s really hard to play up to a high standard under those conditions against the top teams in the league.

This team is exhausted.

Philadelphia is a veteran team and they will get up for any big game. It was clear on Sunday that the legs on the defense, and even on the offense, looked tired and slow. That can’t happen against the Cowboys (who are coming off nine days of rest) but it’s a good sign that the team is going to be fine once this gauntlet stretch is over.

This ass-kicking needed to happen

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni, center, talks with down judge Danny Short (113) during the second half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

It’s easy to say that the Eagles have been playing on borrowed time for the last month. They earned their wins over Buffalo and Kansas City, but they didn’t play nearly enough to be featured as the best team the way some were talking about them.

This was the beating they needed to take to show that they cannot simply walk into a game and simply win by their talent. Major adjustments will need to be made on both offense and defense. They will, as any top coaching staff has done.

Sunday was also a message to the roster as a whole as well. They cannot simply expect things to happen without proper dedication and intensity.

A blowout loss like this helps many championship teams grow into what they become to be. If they are to reach that plateau, they need to take Sunday as the ass-kicking to reset everything.

Bonus: They will be just fine the rest of the way

If the Eagles win out the rest of the way, then Philadelphia would get the top seed in the NFC Playoffs and their second straight division title. Even if the Cowboys beat the Birds next week but win out, the Eagles could be in a tie for the top seed in the conference and win the division.

In short, a blowout loss like this isn’t the end-all-be-all that most analysts will want to make them out to be. When games like this happen, it’s up to the coaching staff and roster to have a reset and go back to the things that work for them.

This week will be important to see just how good the Eagles are.

With the leadership group that Sirianni and Hurts have built, it’s safe to assume this group will be ok.

AP Photo/Matt Slocum