NEW 49ers NFL Draft Hats Available Now! →
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan, 49ers looking forward to challenge of facing Eagles in NFC title game

Jan 22, 2023 at 8:58 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers are advancing to the NFC Championship Game for the third time in four years. They will face the top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles at a hostile Lincoln Financial Field.

The Niners got there with a hard-fought 19-12 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, ending the season of a longtime rival. It's a moment worth savoring.

"It is not easy, and it is not guaranteed," fullback Kyle Juszczyk said of reaching the NFC title game again.

Of course, the 49ers can't enjoy the victory too much. There is work to be done. They'll try to shift focus quickly and prepare for what looks to be their most formidable foe since starting a 12-game win streak.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan doesn't plan on changing anything for their upcoming bout in Philadelphia. Instead, the 49ers will address the game like any other this season.

"You do as good as you can every single week, and I think we've got a pretty good team," Shanahan said after the game. "We've got a very talented team. Also, a team that plays well together. I know [the Eagles] do [too]. They've been as good as anyone since the beginning of this year, and all the way to right now.

"If you looked at the beginning of the year, you thought Philly would be the last team right here, and that's the way it's ended up. So we're going down there, hopefully, have a good week of practice, and looking forward to the challenge."

The 49ers are one win away from returning to the Super Bowl. After a devastating loss in the NFC Championship Game last year, the team entered the offseason knowing that anything short of returning to the big game and winning would be a disappointment.

"It's exactly where you want to be, right?" Kittle said. "At the start of the year, back in OTAs, all you're doing is preparing for the Super Bowl. To be one step away from that, it's awesome. To go into Philly, which is a fantastic atmosphere ... it's going to be wonderful. I know how much the fans love the opposing team, and all the fans, so it's going to really fun. It's going to be cold and violent, and it's going to be a blast."

The Eagles dominated the New York Giants on Saturday, running away with a 38-7 win. The 49ers held the Cowboys to 12 points. The NFC title game is shaping up to be an exciting matchup.

"The challenge is everything," linebacker Fred Warner admitted. "Just watching from afar, they had a great game yesterday and really took care of business at home. And they've got another home game. Obviously, two great football teams going against each other. We're going to have to watch the tape hard.

"I think from just watching them all season, I think they have an amazing overall team with their offense. Offensively, they've got a great O-line, great play-makers. [QB] Jalen Hurts is having an MVP-type season. I respect the way he approaches the game and his mindset. So we've got a big challenge on our hands, for sure."

While Warner looks toward facing the Eagles' offense, Kittle is starting to think about going against their defense.

"They've got like six first-rounders on their D-line," Kittle said. "They're fantastic. They're vets. They know how to play the game. They're going to be violent. They're going to talk a lot of crap. That's just something I'm looking forward to because every time we play Philly, it's a great game, and it's going to be really fun."

For running back Christian McCaffrey, who was traded to the 49ers in October, this will be the first trip to an NFC Championship Game. So the star player is eager to get to work.

"It starts now," McCaffrey told reporters. "The prep starts now, getting your body back, ready to go. The most important thing is Sunday. It feels good to win this one. Obviously, we've got more life. The prep for next week starts now."

While this is new to McCaffrey, this will be defensive end Nick Bosa's third NFC title game. That doesn't make it any less special.

"I just know how hard it is and how good these teams are going to be," Bosa said. "You don't want to squander any opportunity like this. Once you get this far, everything just cranks up a notch."

Shanahan wishes his 49ers could briefly exhale and enjoy the moment, enjoy what they have accomplished so far. There is no time for that, though.

"You work so hard to get to these points, to these situations, and all we could think about was winning that game," Shanahan said. "Once we did, it's fun for a little bit, but it's more, once you get in the locker room, it's just, 'All right, now let's move on to the next one.' We know what moment we're in, in our lives right here, our whole team, and we've been here before, and it's very hard to get here.

"So we're not really reflecting on anything yet. We've got a big game this week, and that's not our ultimate goal either. So in order to do that, we've got to make sure we take care of business."

Kirk Larrabee contributed to this article.

Related News


Facebook Comments

More San Francisco 49ers News

Jason Kelce: 49ers adding Javon Hargrave "not going to make it any easier" for Eagles

By David Bonilla
Mar 19

Adding Javon Hargrave was a huge (and shocking) addition by the San Francisco 49ers. While it seems like a perfect fit and addresses a significant team need, no one saw it coming. The Niners didn't have considerable salary cap space, so signing Hargrave to a four-year, $84 million deal was unexpected. The former Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle, nicknamed "Grave Digger," joins a defensive line that includes NFL Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead, bolstering the middle of that unit. One of the defender's former teammates is happy for Hargrave and his financial good fortune. However, he also knows the loss could be problematic for the defending NFC champions in the upcoming season. "I'm happy for my man, Grave Digger," Eagles

Kyle Shanahan, 49ers will have better idea of Brock Purdy recovery timeline in June

By David Bonilla
5 hrs

It could be six months. It could be eight months. The San Francisco 49ers don't have a clear picture right now regarding quarterback Brock Purdy's recovery timeline. They will have a better idea in June, though. That's when the second-year quarterback will begin throwing again and ramping up his workload for the remaining portion of his rehabilitation. Purdy underwent surgery to repair the tear of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow, an injury suffered on January 29 in the NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles. "He won't be able to do anything on the field for—who knows?" head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters Tuesday morning from the NFL owners'

Are the 49ers interested in Lamar Jackson? Kyle Shanahan responds

By David Bonilla
5 hrs

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, understandably, was hesitant to field any questions about Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. The coach holds the player in high esteem but doesn't want to get in trouble by discussing a player currently under contract with another organization. One reporter pressed, though, stating that he is asking every team about their interest in Jackson. "Everyone knows Lamar's skill set," Shanahan responded, hoping the reporter wasn't setting him up for a fine. "Lamar's a stud. I'm sure they'll work it out there. But Lamar's a great player." The reporter asked if there was any interest from the 49ers. "We've got three quarterbacks we're pretty good with right now," Shanahan responded, "and

Why Trey Lance faces uphill battle to win 49ers' starting job, per Kyle Shanahan

By David Bonilla
2 hrs

The San Francisco 49ers expect Brock Purdy to be ready to play between early September and early November. That's a significant range considering the 2023 NFL season begins in early September. Head coach Kyle Shanahan, speaking with reporters at the NFL owners' meetings in Arizona, said the team expects its 23-year-old quarterback's recovery from his March 10 surgery to be six to eight months. The 49ers will know more in June, when Purdy begins throwing again and starts ramping up his workload as part of his rehab. "It might be Week 1," Shanahan said. "I think I'm hearing, at the latest, Week 4. But that's just all estimations, and we'll see what


Trending News

Share 49ersWebzone