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3 takeaways from 49ers 42-19 win over Eagles

Dec 3, 2023 at 5:01 PM--

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The 49ers walk out of Philadelphia with a commanding 42-19 victory, avenging their collapse at the Linc eleven months ago.

After a slow start, the 49ers responding with a bruising performance in the final three quarters. WR Deebo Samuel backed up his talk with three touchdowns, RB Christian McCaffrey recorded 133 overall yards and a TD, and QB Brock Purdy finished with 314 passing yards and a 148.8 passer rating. On the defensive side, the D-Line sacked QB Jalen Hurts three times and limited Eagles rushers to just 46 yards on 18 carries.

Here are three quick takeaways from the 49ers' 42-19 victory against Philadelphia.

The Punch

With 9:19 left in the third quarter and San Francisco ahead 21-6, 49ers LB Dre Greenlaw slammed Eagles WR DeVonta Smith to the ground after the receiver's momentum had stopped. What followed instigated one of the most unusual fights in recent memory.

Smith popped up following the hit and began a heated confrontation with Greenlaw, who had already incurred a 15-yard personal foul penalty as a result of the play. Before Smith and Greenlaw could escalate or pull apart, though, Eagles head of security Dom DiSanto stepped forward from the sidelines and placed himself between the two. After a moment of argument, Greenlaw reached out and extended a closed fist at DiSanto.

What can best be described as a light brush against the lips nevertheless instigated a replay review for the sequence, keeping tensions high as both sides waited for the decision. Despite the glancing nature of the contact, the NFL's replay review center in New York correctly determined that Greenlaw had made contact with a closed fist to the face of a sideline official. As a result, both Greenlaw and "Big Dom" DiSanto were ejected from the game.

Philadelphia seized on both the yardage and the energy, continuing a drive that culminated in a pair of Tush Push/Brotherly Shove attempts that earned them their first touchdown. That cut the lead to 21-13, which would nevertheless be the closest the score would ever get; San Francisco scored on their next three drives to pull away. But the tempers that flared in the aftermath, including a personal foul by Eagles DT Jalen Carter on the 49ers' subsequent touchdown, sets the stage for enduring tensions between these two teams into the postseason and beyond.

49ers come back from early deficit

The 49ers have spent most of this year absolutely pummeling teams in the first quarter, entering the game with a league-high 52 first drive points. Last week against the Seahawks, for example, the Niners limited Seattle to 7 plays on 0 yards while scoring on their own opening drive. But kicking off in the Linc, Philly flipped the script.

In the first quarter, the Eagles limited San Francisco to just six plays for -6 yards. Philly, meanwhile, seemed to march down the field at will, racking up 120 yards and two scores. The only saving grace for San Francisco was their red zone defense, which somehow held Hurts and the Eagles to just two field goals. Nevertheless, Philadelphia was clearly in control and had an opportunity to run away with the game early on.

But as the second quarter arrived, a light bulb seemed to flip on San Francisco's sideline. At once, the 49ers began imposing their will. The rest of the half had four possessions - two Philly three-and-outs, and two 49ers touchdowns. When the Niners scored again coming out of halftime, the rout was on. San Francisco's offense would go on to score six touchdowns in a row, salting away any chance the Eagles had to come back themselves.

While not a comeback of the dramatic fourth-quarter variety, finding a way to overcome a deficit against another elite team was a big step for this year's 49ers team. San Francisco, and QB Brock Purdy especially, have been criticized somewhat for relying on big early leads to ensure wins. In too many high-profile games in recent memory - vs. Bengals and Vikings this year, vs. the Rams and Eagles in past NFCCGs, against the Chiefs in the 2019-20 Super Bowl - the 49ers have let small leads balloon into decisive losses. Even if Sunday's victory against Philadelphia was very much a team win, it confirmed that San Francisco has yet another way to win against top-tier competition.

Jalen Hurt

In the midst of the 49ers' second-half rout, Eagles QB Jalen Hurts attempted to make something out of nothing on a third-quarter scramble. The resulting hit, though, may prove disastrous for Philadelphia. After turning over the ball, Hurts was seen entering the blue medical tent and later returning to the locker room, reportedly going through concussion protocols.

Hurts remained out of the game for the first five plays of the Eagles' subsequent possession, returning after a 4th-and-1 conversion at midfield. Hurts, to his credit, remained in for the rest of the game and led the Eagles to an additional, if inconsequential, touchdown drive.

As the 49ers can attest, though, keeping your quarterback in after questionable concussion symptoms can be detrimental. Brock Purdy cleared concussion tests during the Week 7 loss to the Vikings, but suffered through concussion symptoms through much of the following week. Head injuries are notoriously unpredictable, and any player trying to push through a possible concussion risks repeating last year's debacle with Tua Tagovailoa, who effectively lost the rest of his season after his own head injury.

As such, Hurts' brief departure is something that the rest of the NFC will monitor closely. If Hurts' play suffers over the final weeks of the season, it could easily open the door for San Francisco, Cowboys, or Lions to snatch the #1 seed in the conference. More importantly, though, Eagles coaching and management should take care not to risk the health and safety of their franchise QB. As last year's NFC Championship Game proved, things are a lot less fun without your quarterback.

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