PHILADELPHIA – The Eagles bullied a San Francisco team that hadn’t lost in three month on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field to earn a berth in Super Bowl LVII.
Philadelphia reached the big game for the second time in six seasons by dominating the 49ers en route to a 31-7 victory in the NFC Championship Game.
Back in Super Bowl LII in 2018, the Eagles topped the New England Patriots, 41-33, in Minneapolis. This time the weather will be nicer in Glendale but the competition will be just as tough with presumptive MVP Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and former long-time Philadelphia coach Andy Reid leading the AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs, who took care of business over the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday night.
The Eagles outscored their two playoff opponents 69-14 and halted the Niners’ 12-game winning streak.
“This is something you dream about your whole life,” said head coach Nick Sirianni. “Like I said to the guys, we’ve all been dreaming about it, whether you were dreaming about it when you were two, 10, 14, 18 or when you got in the NFL, this is something we all dream about, and we get to do it because we did it better than anybody else in the NFC this year. It’s pretty special.
“Fans were awesome. Atmosphere was unbelievable. When you guys go into our indoor, there’s always that picture in the back part of it of the 2017 NFC Championship game, and it’s just the electricity of the stadium. We’re looking forward to getting another picture up there of this special moment that we had.”
The Niners lost starting quarterback Brock Purdy early in the game to an elbow injury suffered on a strip sack by Haason Reddick. The team was severely limited offensively from there and became frustrated, committing 11 penalties for 81 yards in what was their second straight championship game loss after falling to the L.A. Rams, 20-17 last year.
The frustration really manifested itself with the game out of hand and 4:13 to play when 49ers star left tackle Trent Williams slammed safety K’Von Wallace to the ground. Wallace came up swinging and both players were ejected after the officials had to order both teams back to their respective sidelines.
The Eagles’ offense scored on the first possession of the game and the defense quickly proved to be too much for Purdy and the Niners’ offense, especially Reddick.
The All-Pro edge rusher had a pair of sacks in the first quarter, one of which essentially ended Purdy’s impact on the game. Backup Josh Johnson was diagnosed with a concussion after a third-quarter hit by Ndamukong Suh that forced him out of the game.
In addition to his two sacks, Reddick had a forced fumble recovered by Linval Joseph, as the Eagles won the turnover battle 3-0, and recovered a fumble when Johnson dropped the snap with just over a minute to play in the second quarter.
The Eagles scored four touchdowns, all on the ground – two by Miles Sanders and one each by Boston Scott and Jalen Hurts. Jake Elliott’s 31-yard field goal accounted for the final score.
Sanders’ second TD of the game, this one a 13-yard scamper around the left side, gave the Eagles a 14-7 with 1:36 to go in the second quarter and one they never relinquished.
“I’m proud of Coach Sirianni, the whole coaching staff; offensive staff, defensive staff, special teams staff,” said Sanders. “We’ve got a great, great atmosphere in our building, and I love it. And like I told y’all before, I would love to be here for the rest of my career. Love it.”
The defense held the 49ers to just 164 yards of total offense and just 11 first downs.
“We took a little bit (of offense to all the talk of the 49ers’ defense),” said Brandon Graham, “but we just kept it quiet and kept it casual. Because we heard some things that we didn’t like.”