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How are the 49ers preparing for the Eagles ‘tush push’ play?

The 49ers are facing off against the Eagles, who execute one of the most-efficient plays.

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers are set to take on the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 13, looking to improve to 9-3 and chip away at the gap for the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

Philadelphia has been scorching hot to begin the season, starting off 10-1 with wins over the Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, and Buffalo Bills. Their lone loss was to the New York Jets in Week 6.

The Eagles possess the league’s third-best scoring offense at 28.2 points per game, which stems from efficiency and aggressiveness with their RPO-related scheme.

The aggressiveness has continued to be highlighted, as the Eagles convert 1.2 fourth downs a game, the second-most in the NFL, while converting on 76.5 percent of those opportunities, by far the best in the league.

While head coach Nick Sirianni is known for his aggressiveness, the Eagles have also perfected the “tush push” play, otherwise known as the quarterback sneak that has seen significant success with Jalen Hurts under center.

How are the 49ers looking to prepare for that play ahead of their Week 13 matchup?

The short answer: they’re not.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, head coach Kyle Shanahan revealed that the team doesn’t practice defending the play, instead hoping that players will understand their assignments and execute as best as they can.

“No, you don’t practice it,” Shanahan said about defending the play. “You just coach it up, tell them where we want guys and stuff. We’re not going to spend a lot of time on it, but we’re going to talk about it, show it, and do as good as we can.”

The best way to defend that play? Keeping the Eagles out of short-distance situations so that the 49ers don’t have to worry about staying on the field for extended periods of time.

“Yeah, you want to try to keep him out of those situations first and foremost. I know it’s possible to stop, but I think it’s pretty proven that it’s extremely hard, so you try to keep him out of those situations,” Shanahan said of Hurts’s success with the “Brotherly Shove”.

While the Eagles have been a sound team in balancing their playbook, Shanahan believes the key to stopping them is not allowing setbacks to break the team and taking advantage of every opportunity.

“They do such a good job of balancing everything out with the drop-backs, the play-actions, the RPOs, the quarterback run game, the regular run game. So, it’s really impossible to stay ahead of them in terms of who has the chalk last. They’ve got a lot of answers in their run game and stuff, which could put him in some pretty good situations,” Shanahan said.

“So, you’ve got to be able to weather the storm when they get you. Let it be a first down and not a touchdown. Play very disciplined, very sound, and when you get your opportunity to make plays you can’t miss them.”

It’ll be a tough challenge for the 49ers this weekend, but a crucial one for their playoff seeding, as San Francisco currently stands two games behind Philadelphia for the No. 1 seed.