On the surface, the Niners two week trip to the East Coast was a success. Two commanding victories against the Jets and Giants had the 49ers at 2-1 heading into Week Four.
However, the injury bug proved to be too much to overcome for San Francisco as they fall 25-20 to the also injured Philadelphia Eagles.
Tail of the Tape
Mullens appeared to rally back, leading the 49ers down the field to score via a Brandon Aiyuk screen in which Aiyuk hurdled an Eagle defender. However, both offenses struggled as Mullens threw a bad pick before the half time. The teams entered into half-time 8-7 in Philadelphia’s favor.
The Niners made a bright start to the second half, putting together a competent drive capped off by a George Kittle touchdown. But that would be the Niner’s last effective offensive drive of the game.
The fourth quarter was a complete and utter disaster for Nick Mullens. The backup quarterback fumbled, then proceeded to throw the worst interception I have ever seen for a pick-six.
Mullens was benched for C.J. Beathard, who played well against the Eagles soft coverage, so much so that Beathard scored a touchdown to give the Niners a shot to win. But it was too little, too late as the Niners ran out of time and downs, and the last gasp Hail Mary failed. Niners 20 – 25 Eagles.
49ers Offensive Players of the Week
George Kittle: The best tight end in the NFL returned with a bang, amassing 183 yards receiving, 15 catches on 15 targets, and 1 touchdown. Kittle’s importance to this offense can not be understated. If the Niners are to make any noise come January, Kittle must be present and ready to go.
Brandon Aiyuk: For the second week in a row, the rookie finds himself among the 49ers offensive players of the week. Aiyuk did not stand out statistically, recording 18 yards receiving on 2 catches complimented by 38 yards rushing on 1 attempt and a touchdown. However, Aiyuk made the play of the day as he hurdled over an Eagles defender in fantastic fashion.
C.J. Beathard: Coming into the game when all hope was lost, there was little chance of Beathard mounting a comeback, but he did give it his all. Beathard went 14/19 for 138 yards down the stretch, giving the Niners a glimmer of hope where there was none. Albeit, the Eagles were playing soft coverage and hardly blitzing Beathard. If Jimmy Garoppolo can’t go on Sunday against the Dolphins, then fully expect Beathard to step into the starting quarterback position.
49ers Defensive Players of the Week
Jaquiski Tartt: Tartt has been one of the most consistent starters on this beaten-up Niner defense, and he showed up again on Sunday Night Football. Tartt had 1 pass defended and 4 total tackles (3 solo, 1 combined). The safety tandem of Tartt and Jimmie Ward has been one of the few bright points during this horrid season.
Kerry Hyder: One again, the veteran Hyder finds himself on this list. In Nick Bosa’s absence, Hyder has stepped up in a big way. Not to the extent where Bosa’s absence isn’t felt – he is deeply missed on this 49er defense – but Hyder is proving to be one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL. Hyder was constantly around Wentz all night, forcing him out of the pocket and making the Eagles quarterback earn every inch.
Arik Armstead: The 49ers defensive line may be the most beat-up unit in the NFL. The Niners’ front office brought in veteran Ziggy Ansah to fill the void left by Nick Bosa. However, it was revealed Sunday night that Ansah is heading to IR with an injured bicep. Without Bosa, Ford, Ansah, and Thomas, Arik Armstead is still getting after the quarterback. Similarly to Hyder, Armstead had Wentz running all night. It would have been nice if Armstead could have finished some sacks without the finishers in Bosa and Ford screaming off the edge. There’s only so much Armstead can do.
To Sum Up…
After flying-high with back to back victories on the East Coast, the 49ers came crashing back down to earth on Sunday.
The offensive line is a complete and utter disaster. Nick Mullens played poorly, but he didn’t stand a chance against this Eagles defensive front for most of the game – which isn’t even overly talented. Trent Williams and Mike McGlinchey spent more time chasing edge rushers than blocking them. Center Ben Garland and right guard Daniel Brunskill looked out of their depth, constantly being bowled over by the Eagles interior. A complete and utter meltdown from the offensive line. If the Niners are to do anything of note this season, the o-line seriously needs some work.
On the defensive side of the ball, the cornerback group was competing with the offensive line for the most inept 49er position group. Through sheer bad luck, the Niners had their fifth and sixth string boundary corners, Dontae Johnson and Ken Webster, playing meaningful snaps. Moreover, the Niners had their backup nickel corner see time after starter K’Waun Williams was injured.
At a pivotal point in the game, in the fourth quarter, Johnson gave up a touchdown to an Eagles receiver who doesn’t even have a Pro Football Reference Page. This defense is doing their best, but without a somewhat competent secondary, they stand little chance against any NFL side that doesn’t rest at the bottom of the barrel.
If the Niners fall to the Dolphins in Week Five, then call the Revenge Tour officially over. In the NFC West, its do or die time for San Francisco.
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