The Eagles’ defense allowed them to pass the sluggish 49ers

In Philadelphia Boston Scott ran unchallenged for a 10-yard rushing score shortly before halftime, setting off fireworks over Lincoln Financial Field as Eagles players and coaches sprinted into the goal zone in jubilant celebration.

Even though there were still 30 minutes left on Sunday, the Eagles’ two-possession lead and the N.F.L.’s top pass rush against a backup quarterback looked to put the game away. The Eagles maintained their advantage to defeat the San Francisco 49ers 31-7 and claim the NFC title, earning a trip to Glendale, Arizona, for the team’s fourth Super Bowl appearance.

The Eagles have been among the league’s most complete teams this year, and they demonstrated that once more on Sunday. With the victory, they will play in their first Super Bowl since winning it all in the 2017 campaign against either Cincinnati or Kansas City.

“You can see how passionately this city supports this team. In a post-game press conference, Philadelphia Coach Nick Sirianni remarked, “We’re really grateful for these supporters. Look at this location. In the NFL, there is no place like this. It’s a city of hard workers and blue-collar residents. That kind of squad, in our opinion, is what we have.

Brock Purdy’s Cinderella run for the 49ers quarterback was halted by the Eagles’ defense, which finished the regular season with the most sacks (70) and the fewest passing yards per game (179.8) in the league. With roughly seven minutes left in the first quarter, linebacker Haason Reddick sacked Purdy after the Eagles had scored on their opening possession, leading to a turnover. On the play, Purdy suffered a right throwing elbow injury, forcing him to sit out the rest of the first half.

Under his white-and-red jersey, quarterback Brock Purdy of San Francisco tosses the ball.

With Josh Johnson serving as Purdy’s backup, the 49ers’ offense only had one successful scoring drive in the second quarter, which resulted in a 23-yard rushing touchdown by running back Christian McCaffrey. Purdy came back into the game, but he was obviously compromised after Johnson departed the game early in the second half due to a concussion. Purdy attempted four passes in the whole game. The total completion distance was 23 yards.

The great streak Purdy had been in charge of since December came to an abrupt halt when Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance, the 49ers’ top two quarterbacks on the depth chart, both suffered injuries. In his seven starts as a starter, Purdy, the last choice in the 2022 N.F.L. draft, played well while throwing for 1,374 yards, 13 touchdowns, and only four interceptions throughout the regular season.

Thanks to strong coaching and an outstanding roster, he became just the sixth rookie quarterback to start in a conference championship game. He was helped by the weapons around him, including the versatile McCaffrey, acquired in a trade with general manager John Lynch in October, receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, tight end George Kittle, and coach Kyle Shanahan’s offensive scheme that combined efficient running with allowing passing targets to gain yards after the catch.

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But without Purdy, Johnson, an eighth-year veteran who has played for seven clubs, failed to establish a rhythm for the 49ers’ attack. Prior to leaving the game, Johnson completed only 7 of his 13 passes for 74 yards and fumbled on a poor snap, which the Eagles recovered. Finally, Shanahan’s success in switching quarterbacks without incident was done.

According to Shanahan, the atmosphere in the locker room was particularly dejected as players and staff pondered what could have been.

We were quite eager to play that club, and we were very thrilled for today, according to Shanahan. Although they made some smart decisions, we wished we had a somewhat better opportunity than we did today.

Under a group of players, Josh Johnson, wearing the No. 17 shirt, is holding the ball.

Reddick, who ended with three tackles and two sacks, tormented both San Francisco quarterbacks and served as an example of the crucial free-agency acquisitions and trades arranged by general manager Howie Roseman to revive the Eagles.

Prior to the start of the season, Reddick signed with the Eagles. He did so alongside safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson and cornerback James Bradberry, who had both been released by the Giants in May. These three were the captains of a defense who tormented the 49ers and held them to only 164 offensive yards. The 49ers defense, which had concluded the regular season as the top-ranked team in the league, was under immense pressure as a result.

The Eagles’ owner, Jeffrey Lurie, remarked in a press conference with reporters in the Eagles’ locker room, “We genuinely believed there was a fantastic chance, but you’ve got to acquire the right players, and we have the right guys. They are exceptional.

On Sunday, the Eagles’ offense appeared to be operating well. It took advantage of the 49ers’ untimely penalties and used a balanced strategy, as it had all season. Despite only finishing with 121 passing yards, Jalen Hurts, a third-year quarterback who shone in his second complete season as the starter, extended plays with his legs by running for 39 yards and a touchdown. DeVonta Smith grabbed a pass from him in the first quarter with one hand, but it looked like Smith could not keep possession of the ball as he struck the ground. He also threaded the ball through small openings. Shanahan said that he contemplated raising the challenge flag but that the replay did not provide a clear picture.

Miles Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell, and Scott, a trio of Eagles running backs, combined for 111 rushing yards and three touchdowns against a 49ers team that had only given up 77.7 rushing yards per game during the regular season, the second-fewest in the league.

Both in their players’ actions and on the scoreboard, the 49ers began to fall apart. Linebacker Dre Greenlaw was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for punching a running back while the ball was still in his hand following a play in the fourth quarter, and safety Talanoa Hufanga was called for striking Hurts late out of bounds. Trent Williams, a San Francisco offensive lineman, and K’Von Wallace, a Philadelphia safety, were both dismissed after starting a fight that left both benches empty in the fourth quarter.

Boston Scott is holding the ball in his right arm while sporting the Eagles’ No. 35 jersey.

After winning the Super Bowl, the Eagles sank into mediocrity, missing the playoffs in 2018, 2019, and 2021, and winning just four games in 2020. After the 2020 season, they traded quarterback Carson Wentz, the first-round selection they had made in 2016, in an obvious attempt to rebuild. They also dismissed their coach, Doug Pederson.

Hurts had doubts about his ability to serve as the franchise’s lynchpin going into this season, despite the fact that Sirianni and Hurts made the playoffs in their first season together, in 2021. The fact that he ran for 760 yards and 13 scores while throwing for 3,701 yards and 22 touchdowns throughout the regular season, despite missing two games due to a shoulder ailment, supported his thesis.

In a post-game press conference, Hurts stated, “I believe my character — I’ve been raised to be who I am. “The character doesn’t change as the times do. I always work to maintain a healthy balance between high and low emotions while giving my all.

Additionally, Roseman’s acquisition of receiver A.J. Brown in a trade with Tennessee in April, who amassed 1,496 receiving yards and 11 touchdown catches, helped Hurts throughout the course of the season. With an 8-0 start and a 14-3 record overall, the Eagles tied Kansas City for the best record in the league.

After a quick reconstruction, Roseman’s roster design and Hurts’s development helped the Eagles reach the Super Bowl. After the two-minute warning, the players started dancing and the fans started singing along to Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” as the celebration officially started. The rapper Meek Mill’s “Dreams and Nightmares,” which has become the song for the city of Philadelphia, was then played loudly as green confetti started to fall.

Several Eagles supporters tailgating before to the 49ers game.

Emmanuel Morgan specializes in covering the N.F.L. in sports. He formerly worked as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, where he wrote articles on players, staff members, and on-field trends while covering both local N.F.L. teams. More about this topic

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