The Philadelphia Eagles (7-1) defeated the San Fransisco 49ers (0-8) by the final score of 33-10 on a wet, rainy day at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The Eagles fought through a stubborn 49ers defense, offensive line struggles and the rain to get their seventh win of the season. The defense had one of their best games of the season and Carson Wentz came back down to Earth as the Eagles continued their winning ways this week against the 49ers.
1. Eagles pass rush reigns supreme over weakened 49ers offensive line
One of the NFL’s best pass rushes had its way once again this week. 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard was hit 12 times and sacked four times. Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Mychal Kendricks and Vinny Curry all tallied one sack, but Curry had arguably his best game of the season by adding on three quarterback hits to his one sack. The 49ers came into the game already without one starter on the offensive line, and they lost two more throughout the game. The Eagles defensive line took advantage of San Fransisco’s weakened offensive line to never give Beathard a clean pocket to throw from.
2. The secondary continues to make plays and create turnovers
The Eagles came into today’s game tied for fifth in the NFL in interceptions with seven, and they added on two more on Sunday afternoon. The first interception occurred on a pass that wasn’t handled by 49ers receiver Aldrick Robinson. Eagles safety Rodney McLeod snagged the ball out of the air for the first turnover of the game on either side. The second and final interception thrown by 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard occurred late in the first half when Jalen Mills picked off a pass and made a highlight reel return of 37 yards for a touchdown. The Eagles secondary might get targeted a lot and they do give up their share of big plays, however they do succeed at creating turnovers each and every week.
3. Eagles offense goes through another tough first half
The Eagles offense has been one of the best in football through the first half of the season. So when they got off to a slow start in last week’s victory over the Redskins, everyone shrugged it off to the fact that the team had an extended layoff between games. However, their first half struggles continued once again in today’s game against San Fransisco. The offense totaled 143 yards on six drives in the first half, with the only bright spot being a six play, 56-yard drive that ended with a touchdown to Zach Ertz late in the first half. Head coach Doug Pederson has emphasized the importance of not getting off to slow starts in games, but that is exactly what the offense has done the past two weeks. Hopefully, this is just something that the Philadelphia offense can fix in the coming weeks.
4. Eagles’ offensive line struggles in first game without Jason Peters
When left tackle and future NFL Hall of Famer Jason Peters was pronounced out for the season with both a torn ACL and torn MCL, many fans began to worry about how the offensive line and the offense in general will be able to overcome that major loss. Contrary to what many thought, Lane Johnson stayed over at right tackle and Halapoulivaati Vaitai stepped in at left tackle. The offensive line struggled in their first game without Jason Peters, and that partially resulted in the slowing down of the Philadelphia offense. Eagles’ quarterback Carson Wentz was sacked three times and hit seven times, and the offensive line struggled to open up holes for the running backs throughout much of the day. The Eagles are going to need to figure out how to handle their offensive line quickly, as Von Miller and the dangerous Denver Broncos defense is coming to town next week.
5. Carson Wentz comes back down to Earth
After putting together a handful of superhuman performances the past few weeks, quarterback Carson Wentz finally came back down to Earth in today’s win over the 49ers. Wentz struggled with his accuracy (he missed multiple open receivers throughout the game), completing 18 of 32 passes for 211 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for a 84.2 passer rating. The one interception that Wentz threw today came on a miscommunication between him and rookie receiver Mack Hollins. Hollins stopped running his route and Wentz threw the ball anticipating that Hollins was going to continue the route.
Going into today’s game, Wentz was being talked about as a MVP candidate and he was putting up fantastic numbers. In today’s game, he fell back down to Earth as he showed that, after all, he is still only a second-year quarterback.
6. Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery headline the Eagles receiving efforts
On a day where the Eagles passing game never really got into rhythm, tight end Zach Ertz quietly put together another solid game. Ertz totaled four catches for 34 yards and a touchdown. Ertz has quickly developed excellent chemistry with his quarterback Carson Wentz, and that once again showed itself today.
Alshon Jeffery, one of the Eagles prized offseason free agent acquisitions, had a quiet day outside of grabbing a 53-yard touchdown bomb from Carson Wentz. This play showed exactly why the Eagles brought in Jeffery, as he won a 50-50 ball over a San Fransisco defender and ran into the end zone for the touchdown. Jeffery finished the day with two catches for 62 yards and a touchdown.
One week after losing both middle linebacker Jordan Hicks (torn achilles) and left tackle Jason Peters (torn ACL and torn MCL) for the season, the Eagles made it through their seventh win of the season almost without any injuries. Cornerback Patrick Robinson left the game to with a head injury, and it was reported that he went into concussion protocol. This could be another big loss for the Eagles, as Robinson has been one of the Eagles’ top players in the secondary.
The Philadelphia Eagles (7-1), the NFL’s best team thus far, take on the Denver Broncos (3-3) at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia at 1 p.m. on CBS.
Mandatory Photo Credit: Brain Garfinkel/www.philadelphiaeagles.com