Eagles can’t complete comeback in week two loss

Jackson McCrae '23, Sports Editor

On Sunday, September 19 the Philadelphia Eagles lost to the San Francisco 49ers 17-11. It was the Eagles’ home opener, and their first game with fans in Lincoln Financial Field in 623 days.

While the Eagles lost a game they seemed to be in control of at the beginning, that wasn’t the worst part. Eagles’ star defensive lineman Brandon Graham was carted off the field and it was later announced that he had torn his Achilles and would be out for the entire year. Star offensive lineman Brandon Brooks was also taken out of the game due to a chest injury and has been added to the injured reserve (IR).

The Eagles offense just could not move the ball for 90% of the game. There were several miscues, including a Jalen Reagor touchdown that got called back because he stepped out of bounds. Philly failed to score on that drive after a Jake Elliot field goal was swatted down by the 49ers’ Javon Kinlaw.

The Eagles even failed to capitalize on a golden opportunity after Jalen Hurts and Quez Watkins connected for 91 yards, moving the Eagles to the six-yard line. However, the Eagles failed to do anything the next three plays, only moving three yards. The Eagles opted to go for it on fourth down and attempted a Sirianni version of the Philly Special, to no avail.


The turning point of the game came on the 49ers’ next drive, when QB Jimmy Garoppolo led the 49ers 97 yards in just over four minutes to take a 7-3 lead heading into the locker room. The Eagles defense had dominated the 49ers the entire first half to that point, and the combination of the failure to score after a 91-yard play, and the 49ers covering the whole field to score right before halftime just took the energy out of the Eagles.

The 49ers then put seven more on the board on their second drive of the second half, pushing their lead to 14-3 on a 16-play, 92-yard drive that spanned from 4:50 in the 3rd quarter to 10:52 in the 4th quarter. The 49ers then scored on their next drive too, adding three more points to their lead after a Robbie Gould 46-yard field goal.

The Eagle’s defense that took the field down 17-3 had a much different energy than what they displayed earlier in the half, and the spirited Eagles began driving. Hurts started doing what he does best, which is create on the fly, running for 36 yards and a touchdown on the drive. Nick Sirianni once again displayed his faith in his young offense, opting to go for two. Hurts handed it to rookie Kenneth Gainwell, who snuck in to make the score 17-11. The Eagles were out of timeouts when they gave the ball back to the 49ers, and San Francisco was able to run out the last 4:02, securing the six-point win.

Hurts didn’t play as well against the 49ers as he did against the Falcons, but it’s not cause for concern against an expectedly tough matchup against the 49ers’ defense. Hurts finished with 190 yards in the air and ran for 82 yards and a touchdown. Miles Sanders finished with 55 yards on the ground, and only four receiving yards. Rookie RB Kenneth Gainwell continued to impress, scoring the crucial two-point conversion, and accumulating 32 total yards in limited touches. If he continues to play as well as he has the past two weeks, he should see an increase in touches the future.

The Eagles’ receiving corps was nothing short of abysmal. Quez Watkins had the best game out of the group, with 117 yards, but only two receptions and two targets. Watkins has produced big numbers in few targets, and he should also see an increase in touches in the future, especially considering how the rest of the receivers played. DeVonta Smith finished the game with TWO receptions for sixteen yards…on SEVEN targets. Overall, the Eagles had twelve receptions on 24 targets, and that’s just not going to win games.

Nick Sirianni was seen as the second coming of Vince Lombardi after Week 1, but after the Eagles loss in Week 2, he quickly became a polarizing figure. Some fans love his aggressiveness, taking deep shots and running trick plays on fourth downs. However, he also failed to make the right calls when the Eagles were within striking distance, which led to lots of missed opportunities.

The Eagles will be back in action next week when they take on the Cowboys in Dallas on Monday Night Football. With control of the NFC East up in the air, it will be an important early game for the Eagles if they want to top the NFC East after Week 3.