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NFL: 49ers Barely Survive, As Defense Smothers Foles, Eagles

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(September 27, 2014 - Source: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images North America)
(September 27, 2014 – Source: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images North America)

Today marked the second game that the San Francisco 49ers played at Levis Stadium and faced the high-powered offense of the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles.

The 49ers fell behind early when Eagles tight end Trey Burton blocked an Andy Lee punt, which got recovered by Brad Smith in the end zone. San Francisco did answer with a field goal as Greg Roman made it an effort to get Frank Gore touches and he picked up 30 yards on four carries. Penalties stalled the drive and Phil Dawson came in and made a 29-yard field goal.

Philadelphia got forced to punt. Gore again made his presence felt this time in the passing game with a 55 yard touchdown reception. The 49ers running back had been in the backfield to block, yet slipped down the field while Colin Kaepernick rolled out and found Gore wide open, he used his strength to avoid the tackle of Earl Wolff.

Kaepernick highlighted the drive with a 23 yard run with five yards added to the end of the run due to an Eagles penalty.

After the Eagles punted, Kaepernick misread the coverage of the defense and threw directly to safety Malcolm Jenkins who returned the interception 53 yards for the touchdown. Special teams pushed Philadelphia’s lead to 21-10 after Darren Sproles returned a Lee punt 82 yards.

San Francisco was able to put points on the board with a 51-yard field goal made by Dawson, which got partially tipped by defensive end Brandon Bair. Still, the Eagles got plenty of time with Chip Kelly’s offense to get points before halftime, that plan backfired as Riley Cooper fumbled with Justin Smith recovering the fumble. The 49ers offense came in took a knee to head to the locker room to end the first half.

After the 49ers punted on their first possession of the second half and this time the coverage down the field containing Sproles. Antoine Bethea who had an outstanding game forced tight a fumble by tight end Zach Ertz and cornerback Perrish Cox recovered getting both feet in before stepping out-of-bounds.

The 49ers went backwards as Kaepernick got sacked by Casey Matthews and an incomplete pass it seemed that Dawn would get his third field goal attempt. A defensive holding penalty on cornerback Cary Williams kept the drive alive. On a third and 11, Stevie Johnson made a tremendous finger tip catch while getting both his feet down for the touchdown.

That touchdown reception by Johnson marked the first touchdown of the 2014 season by the 49ers in the second half.

Dawson did make two more field goals one later in the third quarter and one in the fourth putting San Francisco’s lead at 26-20. Nick Foles and the Eagles offense did not pick up a first down in the second half until after the halfway mark of the fourth. Jeremy Maclin recorded an 11 yard reception, Lesean McCoy picked up five yards on a run, Maclin picked up another first down on a gain of 15 yards, Ertz picked up another 14 and then Maclin made an unbelievable catch along the sidelines for a gain of 22 yards.

For the Eagles with the 49ers using all their timeouts including one on the catch by Maclin, Philadelpha had the chance to run the clock down. Jordan Matthews picked up another first down making it first and goal from the six-yard line. After an incomplete pass, McCoy picked up five yards on the ground, yet decided to throw on the next two plays which the 49ers defended extremely well and forced Foles to throw the football away.

With the Eagles having all three timeouts the 49ers needed to pick up a first down to seal the victory. That didn’t happen as Gore received three carries picking up five yards. Lee got off a good punt and Sproles got limited on the return.

Philadelphia ended up getting called for an illegal block in the back penalty pushing the ball back to the 31-yard line. A holding call pushed the ball back even further, Sproles picked up four yards on a quick pass after an incomplete pass forcing a fourth and 24, Cox sealed the win by intercepting Foles.

Leading the way offensively for the Eagles, Foles went 21/43 for 195 yards passing, didn’t throw a touchdown and got intercepted twice. McCoy got bottled up and finished with 10 carries for 17 yards. Cooper caught six passes for 54 yards, Maclin five catches for 68 yards and Ertz finished with four receptions for 43 yards and Mathews also caught four passes which went for 28 yards.

Defensively Demeco Ryans, Bradley Fletcher, Connor Barwin, Jenkins and Williams all recorded seven tackles.

For San Francisco Kaepernick went 17/30 for 218 yards, threw two touchdowns and the one interception. Gore picked up 119 yards on 24 carries. Anquan Boldin caught five passes for 62 yards, Michael Crabtree also recorded five receptions with 43 yards receiving and Brandon Lloyd and Vernon Davis each caught two passes.

Defensively Bethea led the way with seven tackles, Chris Culliver, Jimmy Ward and Ray McDonald each recorded four tackles. Rookie Aaron Lynch had his best game of his career getting pressure on Foles and forcing him to get rid of the football before he wanted to.


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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com

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