The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-7 in the 2023 NFC Championship Game. The Eagles took full advantage of injuries to 49ers quarterbacks Brock Purdy and Josh Johnson as they cruised to a trip to Super Bowl 57.
The 49ers will be wondering all playoffs how this game could have gone had Purdy not suffered a significant elbow injury. But now it’s a highlight after the disappointing results. Contrary to our expectations and in a game that was not competitive, there were major points on both sides. Let’s dive into the top four takeaways from an Eagles win.
4 taken from 49ers vs. Eagles
The Eagles boast rare offensive versatility
Thanks to Purdy’s injury, the Eagles didn’t have to do much to win, as they quickly went up 21-7 after he left. Everything that happened after that was not important. As talented as the 49ers are defensively, they simply can’t overcome their lackluster offense.
However, if the Eagles keep scoring and this game is an offensive battle, they could grind out drives or find explosive plays. With Devonta Smith leading an incredibly balanced unit, Philadelphia’s ability to pick special zone coverage continues to dominate.
No one contributor stood out on the stat sheet, but that’s the beauty of the Eagles’ offense. They go into the Super Bowl with defenses in mind.
Christian McCaffrey should be first-team All-Pro.
Sadly, Christian McCaffrey’s gem performance is lost due to the loss. He rushed for 55 yards and a touchdown before the tackle was sidelined with an injury. But 106 yards rushing on 19 touches and a dominant pass defense against the Eagles’ lineup is impressive.
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McCaffrey has been brilliant since being acquired by the 49ers, reviving a career that seemed lost before him. Instead, he enters the 2023 season as one of the top three quarterbacks in the NFL, if not the outright No. 1.
McCaffrey may not have been named to the AP’s first-team All-Pro list, but there’s little doubt he’s still such a talent.
Losing Brock Purdy was impossible to overcome.
Well, it’s not good enough to suggest that losing a part-time third-string quarterback is hard to overcome. San Francisco may have a chance to win this game with Purdy if everything goes his way and they continue to force turnovers. Losing Purdy and playing Johnson was the end of the game.
The end result certainly showed a blowout, but it was a contest until Johnson entered the game and was immediately downed on his own 25-yard line. Purdy may have made the same mistake, but Johnson’s inability to sustain Kyle Shanahan’s offensive level of performance was as damaging as the turnover.
Shanahan was in dire straits when Johnson suffered a concussion and was left with the option of reinstating Purdy or moving McCaffrey to quarterback. Unsurprisingly, Purdy failed to catch the ball. It added insult to injury on a long, miserable day for the 49ers.
The eagles were lucky
I like the Eagles roster and their ability to pressure opponents on both sides of the ball. However, given the strength of their 21st-ranked schedule and the three weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, it makes sense. Neither the Giants nor the Purdy-less 49ers stood a chance.
MORE: The Philadelphia Eagles face the easiest playoff road in recent history on the road to the Super Bowl.
Things could be very different when facing the AFC champion. Both the Chiefs and Bengals have great QBs, great coaching staffs and terrific defenses. Neither the Giants nor the 49ers can push the Eagles because of their personnel.
We’ll have a battle of the heavyweights in the Super Bowl, but we’ll find out more about Philadelphia than either of their potential opponents.