The 49ers won their second road game in a gritty fashion against the Philadelphia Eagles yesterday. Let’s look at five takeaways from the game and how they affect the season without wasting your time.
49ers will have to win in different ways
San Francisco secured a complete team win yesterday. The offense, defense, and special teams all had memorable moments. Javon Kinlaw’s blocked field goal helped set the tone in this hard-fought matchup.
The defense fought through adversity early in the first quarter to get key stops. Jaquiski Tartt's touchdown-saving tackle on the 91-yard reception led to a goal-line stand.
Jimmy Garoppolo’s 12-play scoring drive before the half soothed Niners fans as the offense had a stagnant first quarter.
I say to win in different ways because one unit didn’t solely win it yesterday. In certain situations, the Niners may lean on the defense or offense, but all three phases helped them cap off this win.
Jimmy Garoppolo settles in
Jimmy Garoppolo and Deebo Samuel making plays on the 97-yard drive before the half. pic.twitter.com/nRZgX520SY— Xavier Dixon (@GOOBVILLE) September 20, 2021
Garoppolo didn’t start too hot as he had a few bad throws early. I actually started yelling at my laptop to put Trey Lance in. The offense didn’t muster a first down in the first quarter.
As much as I want Lance to play, I liked that head coach Kyle Shanahan let Garoppolo settle in and make the plays needed to win. Everything changed once the Niners drove on their 12-play 97-yard drive.
Garoppolo was calm in the pocket and delivered passes on target with good decision-making. In addition, he constantly evaded pressure throughout the game.
One of the many things he learned as a Patriot from Tom Brady was how to quarterback sneak. As a result, Brady has been one of the best quarterback sneakers of all time, and Garoppolo converted four QB sneaks yesterday for first downs.
My favorite part of the offensive drive before the half was the touchdown to Jauan Jennings. Jennings told the media that he was last in Garoppolo’s progression. This shows Garoppolo is scanning the field and isn’t just relying on his first option.
The goal-line stand was a step to becoming an elite defense
Tartt’s touchdown-saving play coupled with Deommodore Lenoir not giving up after getting beat rallied the defense together.
The goal-line stand was a step to becoming an elite defense.— Xavier Dixon (@GOOBVILLE) September 20, 2021
- Arden Key making a play on the HB screen
- Fred Warner had Zach Ertz in Jail
- Street, Jones, and Armstead all get penetration as Warner gets the TFL.
- Azeez Al-Shaair still shining
- "The Philly not so special." pic.twitter.com/Ik9XZv7LHb
Philadelphia’s false start pushed back the Eagles to the SF 11. Arden Key sniffed out the halfback screen, making his first splash play of the season. Josh Norman hooked DeVonta Smith on the next play, and San Francisco would go on to hold the Eagles out of the end zone.
Fred Warner erased Zach Ertz on a play-action pass from Hurts. Then the defensive line outmuscled Philadelphia for Warner to get the tackle for loss.
Azeez Al-Shaair and Jimmie Ward made a huge third-down stop as they flew in to force Hurts out of bounds. The goal-line stand was capped off by the defense staying home on the not-so Philly special.
Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni took the blame for bad play-calling, ignoring the fact that San Francisco stayed disciplined for the goal-line stand.
Secondary stands strong
Sirianni tried to challenge the 49ers' secondary all game. But, outside of the 91-yard heave, the Niners' defensive backs more than held their own. As a result, hurts had only 12 completions and will have nightmares about Nick Bosa after being sacked twice and stripped by him.
Norman had two ticky-tack flags. The first pass interference was a weak call. His second Pass Interference on the Niner 11-yard line put the Eagles on the one. This play was beneficial because Smith did beat him inside, so it was a touchdown-saving move.
Tartt’s pass deflection early in the first quarter proved how essential it was to get him back healthy. He flew all over the field yesterday and helped get pressure under Hurts.
Ward showed off his range as a safety throughout the game, whether covering ground in coverage or closing in on the tackle.
Lenoir had a good game despite giving up the explosive play. He was challenged downfield a lot and was in a great position in most of them. Lenoir made a few plays in run-support as well. He continues to become a vital member of the defense.
A win is a win
Winning in all three phases is a must if you want to be a Super Bowl-caliber team. Late in the Lions game, the hiccups were frightening, but San Francisco showed a stronger backbone in yesterday's win.
Mitch Wishnowsky had a great day. He pinned the Eagles inside their 20 three times.
The offensive rushing attack wasn’t the strongest but JaMycal Hasty’s run in the fourth quarter helped seal the game.
Defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans should be proud of the performance the defense gave after constantly being challenged downfield.
San Francisco heads into their prime-time matchup against the Packers at home next week 2-0.
The 49ers will have to stay consistent. They have had to fight through adversity in both of these wins and need to set themselves up better against Green Bay.
Garoppolo has to play sharper, but he didn’t turn the ball over and will continue to grow chemistry with his receivers.
Standing tall after a 91-yard reception is enormous for the defenses’ morale. That goal-line stand was a big step to becoming an elite defense. The defense is still forming together, and they still have some things to clean up, but the future is bright for this unit.
The cornerback room has been questioned going back to training camp. Having two spectacular safeties aid the undermanned cornerback group matters. Norman and Lenoir both had solid games. And K’Waun Williams made plays that’s don’t show up on the stat sheet.
All in all, this team will get better week by week. San Francisco is setting themselves up well and will have to continue to hammer the nail against the Packers next week.