It was a big night for San Francisco 49ers’ third-string Quarterback as he led his team into their NFC Championship game, but it wasn’t to be.
The anticipated physical game which the pundits had predicted, did indeed kick off from the opening minutes of the First Quarter, but soon the Philadelphia Eagles would dominate.
The Philadelphia Eagles most certainly looked like the better team and they had a lot to prove given their embarrassing fall in the Wild Card Round last season.
Likewise, the San Francisco 49ers were determined to get past the Conference Round and reclaim the thrill of 2019’s Super Bowl Final.
Eagles would take the lead in the opening and while the 49ers did try to dig in, they would be defeated 31 – 7.
How did it go down?
Eagles dominated in defence. While the Eagles’ offence has had its issues in previous games, it would be the defence game that ultimately suffocated the 49ers’ chances to penetrate the Eagles’ lines.
The First Quarter would see the Eagles collect their first seven Championship game points with a Touchdown Run from Right Back Miles Sanders and the Extra Point conversion from Kicker Jake Elliott.
Purdy got hurt. A First Quarter strip-sack on Purdy from Haason Reddick sent the Quarterback to the ground. Purdy would suffer wrist and elbow injuries.
He’d be replaced temporarily by Josh Johnson but would very soon return to the field after the Eagle’s steamrolled over him, forcing Shanahan to put ‘Mr Irrelevant’ back on.
They were just better
Eagles outpowered and outmuscled the 49ers for the NFC Championship and on their home turf.
While the 49ers had shown themselves to be particularly capable in the ground game, they just couldn’t keep up with the Eagles’ rushing power from the likes of Jalen Hurts, Miles Sanders, Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell.
Apart they weren’t particularly convincing but as a team, they were formidable.
The Second Quarter would see the 49ers wake up if only momentarily as they secured seven points in the first 10 minutes.
Right Back Christian McCaffery would make a run to secure the 49ers’ first and only touchdown run of the evening. Kicker Robbie Gould would kick for the Extra Point and complete 49ers’ only points of the game.
Sanders would continue the Eagles’ almost flawless performance with his second Touchdown Run inside the 13th minute. Elliott would kick for the Extra Point and do it all again with a third Touchdown Run delivered in the 14th from Boston Scott.
The Third Quarter would become a damage control game for 49ers as they worked to repel more runs from Eagles.
They managed up until the 14th minute when the Eagles Quarterback Jalen Hurts delivered their fourth Touchdown Run and Elliott kicked his penultimate Extra point to bring the score to 28 – 7.
Elliott’s Field Goal just before the 10th minute in the Fourth and Final Quarter would top off the Eagles’ scoreboard and add some salt into the wound for an unfortunate 49ers team reeling from an injured Purdy.
Well… it’s the big one. Philadelphia Eagles head to the Super Bowl to face the AFC Championship winners; Kansas City Chiefs. It’ll be their first Super Bowl Final since 2019.