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49ers/Eagles history: How the 49ers slayed the ‘dream team’

The 49ers needed a couple of missed kicks and big plays offensively, but it was an impressive comeback.

San Francisco 49ers v Philadelphia Eagles Set Number: D151791 TK1 R2 F281

As an East Coast 49er fan who lives 90 minutes outside of Philadelphia, any matchup between the Eagles and 49ers will have a heightened sense of purpose. To be fair, in Northern New Jersey and the New York area, the fan base is pro-Giants and Jets, for the most part. However, there is a large group of Eagles fans, with that number growing due to their popularity and recent winning.

The 49ers and Eagles have matched up 36 times, including the postseason, and the 49ers lead the series 20-15-1. Since 2011, the two teams have split their last six meetings. Players who have played for the Eagles and 49ers are David Akers, Nnamdi Asomugha, Jeff Garcia, Charlie Garner, Javon Hargrave, Terrell Owens, Isaac Sopoaga, and Ricky Watters.

My favorite Eagles/49ers matchup has to be from Week 4 in 2011 @ Philadelphia. Jim Harbaugh was in his first season as 49ers head coach. The Eagles spent the entire offseason building their “dream team.” The 49ers entered the matchup with a 2-1 record, only falling to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2 in overtime.

The Eagles were ten-point favorites at home, with Andy Reid leading the team. Early on, it appeared Philadelphia would have no problem covering the spread as they jumped out to a 23-3 lead with 9:30 remaining in the third quarter.

At this point, the 49ers were a nice story, but very few people believed they would contend in Harbaugh’s first season. Wins against the Seahawks and Bengals were viewed as positive steps from the franchise, but not viewed as statement wins.

It would take a huge comeback on the road against a preseason favorite to be in the mix for the top of the NFC.

From 9:30 until the clock struck zero, Philadelphia wouldn’t score another point as the 49ers rattled off 21 consecutive points to steal a victory at Lincoln Financial Field. The picture of Justin Smith running Jeremy Maclin down and causing the game-ending fumble is a staple memory of the Harbaugh era.

The conversation from “nice story” to “legit contenders” began following the comeback win in Philadelphia. It was the first big win for Harbaugh and his team and put the league on notice that the 49ers were back.

This victory turned skeptics into believers or at least opened their eyes to the possibility that the 49ers were for real again. A very fond memory for any 49ers fan who remembers what it was like before Harbaugh arrived.