Observations: 49ers 26, Eagles 21
Santa Clara, Ca. — Here’s what we saw during the Eagles’ 26-21 loss to the 49ers.
* The Eagles were 1 yard away from pulling off their fourth straight victory. But Nick Foles threw incomplete twice – once to Brent Celek and another time to Jeremy Maclin – as the 49ers escaped with a 26-21 victory.
* Foles and the Eagles drove 91 yards, but were stopped short of the end zone. Maclin made a fantastic catch during the drive, but with 1 yard to go, the offense couldn’t convert. They got the ball back again at their own 30 with 1:23, but couldn’t move the ball, and Foles was intercepted to end the game.
* On the day, the offense struggled to get anything going. All 21 points the Eagles scored came from the defense and special teams. Foles went 21-for-43 for 195 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. The run game continued to struggle. LeSean McCoy ran 10 times for 17 yards. As a team, the Eagles managed just 22 yards on the ground and averaged 1.8 YPC.
* On 11 possessions, the Eagles had six punts, four turnovers and a turnover on downs.
* When Foles had an opportunity to hit on big plays early, he misfired. Foles was off-target on corner routes to Zach Ertz and Celek on separate occasions. He also had a couple chances to Maclin, but couldn’t connect.
* The offensive line was not great, but the Eagles failed to convert on the opportunities they had.
* Special teams led the way in the first half. Trey Burton had a blocked punt that was recovered by Brad Smith for a touchdown. Sproles had an 82-yard punt return for a score.
* The defense hung tough for the most part in this one and didn’t get a lot of help from the offense. Colin Kaepernick went 17-for-30 for 218 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. The 49ers ran the ball 42 times for 218 yards, averaging 5.2 YPC.
* The big miscue in the first half was a 55-yard Kaepernick throw to Frank Gore that resulted in a 55-yard touchdown. It’s tough to fault the Eagles for the completion. Kaepernick rolled to his left and then threw all the way across the field. But Earl Wolff botched his tackling attempt and allowed Gore to score.
* Malcolm Jenkins had an interception for the third straight game. He did a tremendous job of sidestepping 49ers offensive players and took the return 53 yards for a touchdown in the first half.
* Cary Williams cost the Eagles on a few different occasions in the second half. He was called for holding on third down and kept a 49ers drive alive. Later on third down, he was beaten by Michael Crabtree for a 25-yard completion. Stevie Johnson also made a great grab on a 12-yard TD against Williams.
* Kaepernick missed multiple open receivers, but the Eagles did a good job of pressuring him. Brandon Graham beat left tackle Joe Staley with a nice inside move and sacked Kaepernick. Connor Barwin rushed up the middle and sacked Kaepernick before the punt block. Others like Trent Cole, Bennie Logan, Vinny Curry and Beau Allen also got pressure.
* Brandon Boykin suffered a hamstring injury on punt coverage. After he went out, the Eagles went with a three-safety look in nickel. Jenkins often covered the slot receiver. Wolff and Nate Allen were the other two safeties. Nolan Carroll II played in dime and also replaced Bradley Fletcher at LCB on at least one possession. Boykin returned to the game in the second half.
* Great call by the 49ers in the fourth quarter going with a designed Kaepernick run on 3rd-and-14. That extended their drive and allowed them to kick a field goal.