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49ers vs. Eagles third quarter thread: It keeps getting worse

A brutal fumble by the fourth-stringer has dug the 49ers quite the hole.

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

The 49ers defense held strong for another series. The Eagles started 1-for-4 on third downs. Unfortunately, with a fourth-string quarterback, they’d need to play near flawless football.

Thanks to a poor punt and a penalty, the 49ers were in business offensively. But a delay of game and a sack put the offense behind the chains, and that’s not something Johnson is capable of overcoming.

The bar was low for the fourth-stringer, but he didn’t stand a chance with the pressure the Eagles were generating. Philly’s defensive line lived in the 49ers backfield. So, on Purdy and Johnson’s last drives, they faced a 3rd & 20. That’s not the recipe for success.

The 49ers defense is the definition of success. The Eagles offense had no answers as they started the game going 1-for-7 on third downs. But a pass interference on Jimmie Ward extended the drive for Philadelphia. T.Y. McGill was then flagged for an illegal hands to the face, which gifted the Eagles another first down.

Miles Sanders had a run of 17 yards which put the Eagles into scoring position. But a Mooney Ward illegal contact penalty kept the drive alive for the third time, and that was the nail in the coffin on the drive. Sanders would score to give the Eagles a 14-7 lead.

On the ensuing drive, Johnson fumbled a snap that hit him right in the hands. To make matters worse, he couldn’t recover the fumble. Philadelphia scored three plays later to take a commanding 21-7 lead.

Johnson’s fumble was a backbreaker because the game was still one possession and the Niners were set to receive the ball to start the second half. Instead, a two-possession game felt insurmountable the way the Eagles blocked in the first half.