The San Francisco 49ers defense forced a three-and-out to start the game, but Nick Mullens missed a couple of easy throws on the first drive, including a possible touchdown to Kyle Juszczyk. In typical Carson Wentz fashion, he tried to scramble on the following possession and had his pass tipped by Javon Kinlaw, which resulted in Azeez Al-Shaair’s first career interception.
The 49ers allowed a couple of play-action passes, let Wentz slip out of their grasps, and allowed an 11-yard touchdown on the following drive to Wentz. The defensive end on the play crashed hard on the play and allowed Wentz to waltz into the end zone.
San Francisco got back on track on the next drive by giving the ball to their best players. After a screen and two runs to George Kittle and Deebo Samuel, the 49ers were in Eagles territory. After failing to move the ball on the first drive, Kyle Shanahan went screen-jet sweep-end around-jet sweep-toss-screen for a touchdown on the following drive that was capped off by this beautiful run by Aiyuk:
Mullens struggled early on in this game. He was holding the ball too long, not processing what the Eagles were throwing at him, and it was causing Mullens to be a statue in the pocket. Combine that with a Philly pass rush and an offensive line that has struggled to pass protect, and that was the one way this game would remain close.
Robert Saleh did an excellent job of drawing up blitzes to get Arik Armstead 1-on-1 looks inside. Armstead rewarded Saleh by winning, and that allowed the 49ers to get off the field. It doesn’t hurt to have that Fred Warner guy as a blitzer, either.
Mullens best pass of the day down the sideline to Kittle for 38 yards. Unfortunately, Mullens followed that throw up with a disaster of a decision that resulted in an interception in the red zone. When you’re playing with as many backups as you are, you can’t have those decisions no matter who it’s against. Thankfully, the Eagles are the Eagles, and couldn’t take advantage after a bad snap and a sack by D.J. Jones.
The score was 8-7 at halftime. It was sloppy, but that was to be expected with the number of backups playing in this game. The 49ers averaged 7.1 yards per play at the half. They weren’t struggling to move the ball, but they were struggling to execute. On defense, the Eagles bailed the Niners out just enough. If the offense stopped shooting themselves in the foot and the defense stopped the QB runs from Philly, San Francisco would win this game.
On the first drive out of the half, Mullens was much more methodical and checked the ball down before finding Kittle for a big gain. Jerick McKinnon had a couple of impressive runs, and Jeff Wilson Jr. made a couple of nice moves to take the 49ers into the Eagles red zone. A five-yard touchdown pass to Kittle capped off a much-needed scoring drive. I loved the play-call as it isolated Kittle with a lot of room to work with near the goal line. That score made it 14-8.
Contain remained an issue during the third quarter. Saleh would blitz, but, whether Kerry Hyder or Dion Jordan, would let Wentz get to the edge and extend plays. Too many times, the Eagles should have had a third and medium that instead turned into third and short thanks to Wentz’s mobility. The 49ers came up with a stop in the red area and held the Eagles to a field goal, which made it 14-11. The 49ers defense was on the field for 16 plays and 7:31 on that scoring drive.
The 49ers had an opportunity to put Philly away, but a sack given up by Trent Williams and another rusher came through on the next third down, after the line had seven blockers. Mullens’s pocket movement was much improved during the second half, but the line didn’t give him much of a chance on these passes.
On the next defensive drive, K’Waun Williams, who seemingly was hurt multiple times this game, went to the locker room. Jamar Taylor came in on a third down, and Saleh didn’t give Philadelphia a chance to pick on Taylor as he sent him as a blitzer. The play-call worked as Taylor sacked Wentz to force an Eagles punt. The 49ers couldn’t take advantage of the next series as Daniel Brunskill was beaten by a defensive back who had a strip-sack on Mullens after he held the ball for 37 seconds. His mental clock was off all night, and the 49ers paid for it on this fumble.
The 49ers defense were put in a tough position, and Kerry Hyder made two nice plays, but Jason Verrett gave up a first down on 4th & 4 where an Eagles receiver picked him off. The 49ers got the Eagles behind the sticks again, but an illegal contact penalty by Dontae Johnson gave Philly a first down. If that wasn’t enough, Johnson gave up a 42-yard touchdown to a receiver that I did not know existed, and I’m sure you didn’t either. If you thought it couldn’t get any worse, Mullens threw the ball directly to an Eagles linebacker underneath on his next throw to give the Eagles a 25-14 lead.
C.J. Beathard came into the game on the next possession. He started the game completing his first seven passes of the game, but was sacked on his eighth dropback. I liked Shanahan going no-huddle and thought the 49ers should have sped up the tempo much earlier in the game. Beathard drove the offense down near the goal-line, and McKinnon punched it in for a touchdown. Beathard tried to get the ball to Kittle again on the two-point conversion, but the pass was incomplete. It seemed like C.J. could’ve easily walked into the end zone. That made the score 25-20, and the 49ers were set to attempt an onside kick. Only one second went off the clock, which gave the defense a chance to get a stop and give the ball back to the offense since the clock was still over two minutes, and San Francisco had two minutes remaining.
The 49ers needed to go 88 yards in 100 seconds to win the game with Beathard as their quarterback. San Francisco made it into Eagles territory. The final play came down to 4th & 10 with seven seconds left from the 35-yard line, but the Hail Mary attempt in the end zone was no good, and the Eagles pulled off the upset 25-20. The 49ers fall to 2-2, and, with their upcoming schedule, will have their backs against the wall for the remainder of the season.