The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 26-21, thanks in large part to a strong defensive showing, and a big performance from the running game. The 49ers passing game struggled to get going, but San Francisco was able to overcome it.
Now that the 49ers are back on the winning side of things, I thought it would be fun to pass out some game balls. There were plenty of notable performances, but I'll try and focus on the biggest performances. Feel free to make your own suggestions.
He had the interception to close out the Eagles at the end, but he was all over the place on Sunday. The 49ers secondary as a whole had a big game, particularly with the pass rush struggling early on. Nick Foles struggled at times with his accuracy, but the 49ers secondary deserves a ton of credit for their performance. Cox broke up four passes, and almost had an interception to close out the first half. It ended up ruled an incompletion, but it was part of what continues to be a huge year for Cox. He has been playing in place of Tramaine Brock, and he has been lights out for the most part.
The 49ers replaced Donte Whitner with Bethea, and they have not missed a beat. He has been beat deep, but for the most part, he has been a key cog. He had the biggest day on the stat sheet, with 7 tackles, 1 interception, and 1 forced fumble. The fumble was particularly huge as the Eagles had forced a 49ers punt early in the third quarter. Bethea stripped the ball, and it popped right into Perrish Cox's waiting hands.
The 49ers fifth round pick may have officially moved past Corey Lemonier on the depth chart. Lynch took over nickel snaps, and made his presence felt, particularly in the fourth quarter. On the Eagles 4th and goal at the 1, Lynch got serious pressure on Nick Foles to help force the incompletion. On the Eagles final drive, he made a huge tackle of Darren Sproles on a dump-off in the flat.
Vic Fangio told the media that Lynch had done more in the pass rush during his time in the game the first three weeks, so now seemed like an appropriate time for more opportunities. We'll see what the snap count says, but Lynch might have secured that nickel role until Aldon Smith comes back. He needs to continue his performances, but if he does, maybe he gets more nickel work in place of Ahmad Brooks opposite Aldon. Can you imagine Smith and Lynch as bookend defensive ends in the nickel?
This was an old school performance for the 49ers running back. He rushed 24 times for 119 yards, marking his first 100 yard performance since Week 13 last year. Oh, and how about that ridiculous 55-yard catch and run for a touchdown? The throw was all Kap, but that marked Frank Gore's longest career reception.
Gore gashed the Eagles all day long, and thankfully the 49ers kept feeding him. There were a few instances I expected more running, but for the most part, they called the runs pretty well. I'd actually argue for the most part the game was called pretty well. If Kap was a little more accurate on his passes, I think the offense puts up a pretty big number.
I think a 4 of 4 performance with a 51-yard field goal is worth a game ball. Particularly in a 5-point victory. It seems like just yesterday we were so concerned about Phil Dawson. He had struggled in the preseason, and then missed his first field goal attempt of the regular season. Since that miss against the Dallas Cowboys, Dawson is 6 of 7. His first attempt on Sunday actually was mildly deflected at the line, but he had the power to get it through. There's a lot of football left, but congrats to Dawson on getting things straightened out for now.
- Justin Smith did not show up much in the box score, but he was all over the field. I love the fact that he was 30 yards up field running down the fumble Culliver forced at the end of the second half.
- Anquan Boldin and Stevie Johnson both made some huge catches