Defense Gets a Vote


The 49ers and the Eagles defense dominated the day. Looking back to last week, the 49ers executed a 41-point season opener. Similarly, the Eagles scored 32 points in their season opener. Today both clubs would combine for a paltry 28 points. The 49ers started today’s game with four 3 and outs. Javon Hargrave lived in the 49ers back field the first two 49er possessions. The crowd noise coupled with the Eagles suffocating fans prevented the 49ers from getting into an early rhythm. On defense the 49ers bent but only broke for a field goal in the first half. The 49ers won a hard-fought game in a hostile environment.

The Eagles were finding ways to move the football. Eagles scored a field goal on their 2nd possession. On their 3rd possession they attempted a 47-yard field goal and Javon Kinlaw blocked it! Still, the 49ers disappointed with their third 3 and out. After the third 3 and out, I might have pulled Jimmy G for Trey Lance. He was hurrying throws. He looked rattled. The offense lacked juice. Thankfully Coach Shanahan is the head coach and not me. On their 4th possession they moved the ball down the field but had to punt after a questionable penalty against Mohammad Sanu Jr. for an alleged crack back block. Looking at his block, he appeared head up on the defender. Their fourth possession was eleven plays for 35 yards. The Eagles get the ball and Jalen Hurts connects with Quez Watkins for a 91-yard pass play. The Eagles are now on the 49ers 6-yard line. The 49ers stand tall for 3 downs. Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni opts to go for it. The 49ers stoned the Eagles defense.

At this point in the game, we had only seen the 49ers move the ball 35 yards on eleven plays. Now they are starting on their own six-yard line. Jimmy G marched the 49ers down the field 97 yards for a score. The Niner offense executed twelve plays closing out the half with an eleven-yard pass play to Jauan Jennings. What was cool about the Jennings play is it looked like Jimmy G’s third read.

Jimmy G played very well after getting past the first three possessions. He threw the ball with authority. He threw the ball with accuracy. He threw the ball on time. When the pocket collapsed, he ran for positive yardage. He led the 49er offense on two long scoring drives that ended up being the difference in this ball game. However, his best play was the quarterback sneak. He converted several 3rd downs, a 4th down and scored a touchdown on the quarterback sneak. The quarterback sneak was the difference making play on offense.

Kyle Shanahan’s genius shows thru in a tough match up in Philadelphia. First, he stuck with Jimmy G when he could have moved off him after the first 3 possessions. Second, he recognized that hand off running plays were not working so he moved to toss plays. He also settled down the aggressive Eagles front with screen plays to his running backs, wide receivers and George Kittle. Lastly, he masterminded two long 49ers drives. The sixteen-play drive for 9 minutes ending in a touchdown wore the Eagles defense out. The players had to execute, but Coach Shanahan made the calls.

Jalen Hurts tested Josh Norman and Deommodore Lenoir. For the most part they were up for the challenge. Norman kicked off his first defensive possession with a pass interference call. He had another one during the 49ers monster goal line stand. Lenoir played with great technique the whole game. Not many wide receivers are going to run past him. Fred Warner patrolled the middle and frustrated Hurts on numerous plays. Nick Bosa led the defensive line with two sacks. The whole defensive line consistently put pressure on Hurts causing him to run out of the pocket numerous times for a total of 82 yards. Hurts has a dynamic accurate arm. However, his accuracy and ability to read the field effectively began to degrade significantly when he experienced pressure causing him to run the ball. The 49ers defense was gashed for 151 yards, but they stood tall when they needed to. The bend don’t break mentality abides. Jimmy Ward and Jaquiski Tartt held down the back end of the field on several key defensive plays. Overall, the unit performed marvelously. They greatly improved from last weeks near debacle at Detroit.

Overall, this was a great week two for the 49ers. The Eagles will be a tough out for any team they face. For now, the 49ers remain undefeated!

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