By Kevin McGuire
The Eagles scored 21 points from their special teams and defense, but the offense left the team hanging in San Francisco. The Eagles offense failed to get going until the last few minutes of the game, and by then it as too little, too late. San Francisco played inspired defense from the start to finish in what was being referred to as a must-win game for the 49ers. It showed, and the Eagles offense was the victim.
A week after being beat up by Washington's defense, a trip out west was not all that kind to Nick Foles either. Foles was picked off twice and completed fewer than half of his passes (21 of 43) for 195 yards. It was not a good day for the offense in general, but Foles was unable to put the team on his back. He did lead the team down field on one late promising drive but ultimately failed to get the team in the end zone with the game on the line. Grade: F
There is plenty of blame to spread around the entire offense in this game, although give a tremendous amount of credit to the San Francisco defense. Regardless of the play of the opposing defense, the Eagles offense was left with nothing to be proud of in this one. The running game put together just 22 yards on the ground, with LeSean McCoy rushing 10 times for just 17 yards. The Eagles recorded just 11 first downs, and most of those came on a late fourth quarter drive that stalled at the two-yard line. The Eagles had just 213 yards of offense and the offense failed to register any points. Riley Cooper and Zach Ertz each fumbled away a pass reception, with Cooper's washing away a first down late in the first half with the team moving close to potential field goal range. That the Eagles came within two yards of winning with the play of the offense is somewhat remarkable. Grade: F
All things considered, the defense was not terrible for the Eagles. The defense kept the game within reach on a day the offense sputtered from start to finish, but the Eagles were unable to keep the 49ers from running away with the game, but some broken plays resulted in longer drives for the home team. A 55-yard touchdown pass form Colin Kaepernick to Frank Gore was a bad break hurting in the worst way, but the defense also came up with a touchdown. Malcolm Jenkins returned an interception 53 yards for a score to give the Eagles a lead just minutes later in the second quarter. San Francisco was eight of 19 on third down conversions and the Niners put together 407 yards of offense and held the football for over 42 minutes. The defense was worn down but came up with a three-and-out after the Eagles were stuffed on the San Francisco two-yard line, giving the offense one last chance. This loss is not on the Eagles defense. Grade: C
The Eagles special teams came up with two touchdowns on the day. First the Eagles blocked a punt in the San Francisco end zone in the first quarter, with Brad Smith jumping on the loose ball in the end zone for an early touchdown. Darren Sproles later added a punt return of 82 yards for another touchdown. At the time that gave the Eagles a 21-10 lead and the offense had yet to score. Kicker Cody Parkey connected on all three extra point attempts but never got a chance to kick a field goal. On the Eagles late punt return the Eagles could have taken over around midfield with the game on the line, but instead a debatable block in the back call pushed the Eagles offense back closer to the 30-yard line. An earlier kick return taken out of the back of the end zone by Chris Polk did not quite reach the 2-yard line and another penalty pushed the offense back closer to the end zone. This was the drive that saw the Eagles finally put something together on offense to come just shy of the end zone. Who knows if better field position would have changed anything. Grade: A-
Looking On The Bright Side
It is going to be tough to digest this loss for Eagles fans. After the special teams scored twice and the defense added another touchdown, the Eagles only needed their offense to reach the end zone once. Normally this is a given for a Chip Kelly offense, but that was not the case on Sunday. The good news, if there is any bright side to this loss, is the Eagles offense is not going to be tied down like this very often. San Francisco has not played like it, but they still have potential to be one of the top defensive teams. And despite all of the struggles on offense in this game, the Eagles still managed to find a way to come two yards from a win. There are no moral victories in the NFL, but the Eagles are still in an excellent position to reach their bye week with a 5-1 record with the next two games coming up at home against St. Louis and the New York Giants. The Eagles missed a chance to record a signature win to prove worthy of top NFC contender status, but entering the bye week at 5-1 is a very real possibility.
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Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.
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