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Eagles vs. Niners: Not-So-Bright Lights of Sunday Night

Posted By Christopher Rowe On Oct 8 2010 @ 3:53 pm In Philadelphia Eagles | 3 Comments

After a disappointing loss at home to Washington, the Eagles will look to bounce back under the bright lights in a Sunday Night showdown in San Francisco. This will be the first of five scheduled primetime games for the Eagles, as the team looks to get back on track and above the .500 mark.

Head coach Andy Reid has enjoyed success against San Francisco in the past, as his teams have won five of the seven meetings between the two teams. On their most recent trip to the Bay City, Juqua Parker’s INT return for a TD put the final stamp on a resounding victory, as the Eagles beat the 49ers, 40-26.

[1]In fact, the Eagles have done well against the NFC West during Reid’s tenure, compiling a 15-6 regular season record. With a win, the Eagles will be 3-0 on the road in 2010. The last time the teams opened the season with three straight wins away from Philadelphia was in 2004, the year they played in Super Bowl XXXIX.

Meanwhile, the 49ers are simply looking to get into the win column for the first time in 2010. Last week – and for the second time this season – the 49ers lost on a late FG, this time 16-14 loss  to the Atlanta Falcons. The 49ers actually forced a turnover that should have ended the game. Cornerback Nate Clements picked off a Matt Ryan pass, but as he returned the INT the ball was stripped by Atlanta WR Roddy White so the game-winning drive was kept alive.

The 49ers were the trendy preseason pick to win the NFC West. After an 0-3 start, the 49ers dismissed offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye and promoted QB coach Mike Johnson prior to last Sunday’s game. The 49ers got off to a great start, leading Atlanta 14-0 in the first quarter, but one of those scores came on a blocked punt recovered for a TD. The 49ers offense did have a 13-play, seven-minute drive in the fourth quarter, but it didn’t result in any points.

Last Time They Met

Eagles 27, 49ers 13
December 20, 2009, Lincoln Financial Field
In a late-season matchup with San Francisco, Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson took another giant step towards the first Pro Bowl berth of his career. Jackson finished the game with 140 yards and a TD, and in the process became just the third 1,000-yard receiver under head coach Andy Reid. 49ers RB Frank Gore rushed for 107 yards on 16 carries, breaking the Eagles’ streak of 23-straight games without allowing a 100-yard rusher, but neither Gore nor his teammates could outscore the Eagles offense. When you turn the ball over four times in the first half, as San Francisco did, it’s difficult to win games in the NFL. Helping to balance the Eagles offensive attack was FB Leonard Weaver. His 17 carries, an astronomical number for a fullback in Andy Reid’s offense, wore down the 49ers defense and opened up the passing game for Jackson, TE Brent Celek (4 catches, 73 yards) and WR Jason Avant (3 catches, 44 yards). The Eagles improved to 10-4 on the season.

PREDICTION: Frank Gore and Niners rushing eats Philadelphia’s defense alive while Eagles have no rushing attack of which to speak. Kevin Kolb’s passing attack bests that of apathetic Alex Smith but Niners win with defense and clock control.

FINAL SCORE: NINERS 17   EAGLES 13

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BIRD BITS:

  • The Washington Redskins defeated the Eagles last week because they won the battles upfront. Their O-line handled the Eagles front seven. McNabb got the game ball, but his line made it possible. Watching the tape, you might have thought it was a game film from the 1980s for the way the Redskins’ line was pushing the Eagles around. While it looked like the Hogs were back in town, Russ Grimm, Joe Jacoby and that bunch were nowhere to be found. This was Artis Hicks and four other guys you never heard of. You could make a case that Hicks’ return to Philadelphia, not McNabb’s, may have had more to do with the outcome. The Redskin line was very good – at times even dominant – and it was playing with backups at left guard (Kory Lichtensteiger for Derrick Dockery) and LT (Stephon Heyer for No. 1 draft pick Trent Williams).
  • The Redskins ran the ball 35 times for 169 yards, a 4.8 yard average. It was a huge improvement over the first three games in which they ran the ball just 57 times, fewest in the league, and seemed to phase out Clinton Portis, reducing his carries from 18 in Week One to 13 in Week Two to 7 in Week Three. Did Eagles Coach Andy Reid notice the success of the run game and the way it complimented an otherwise unimpressive passing attack?????
  • For the second straight week, the Eagles will face one of their franchises greats in his first game as an opponent. Brian Westbrook was released by the Eagles at the end of last season and ended up signing with the 49ers in preseason of this year. There were a few teams we knew had interest in Westbrook, most notably the Redskins, but he chose to sign a one year deal with 49ers  (making $1.25 mil). The 49ers are off to an 0-4 start and Brian Westbrook has carried the ball exactly once this year for ZERO yards and has caught two passes for 6 yards. Part of this is because he’s backing up one of the better backs in the game, Frank Gore, and therefore isn’t going to be featured. Still, his production hasn’t just slowed down… it’s flatlined.
  • One play summed up the game. Early in the first quarter, Redskins had second-and-three at their own 29 and ran Portis wide left. DT Brodrick Bunkley and Mike Patterson were inside and the three LB – Jordan, Ernie Sims and Stewart Bradley – were blocked as off the ball. Portis picked up an easy 11 yards to start the Redskins on a nine-play, 78-yard scoring drive which ended with McNabb’s touchdown pass to tight end Chris Cooley.“Look at this,” NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger said as he rewound the tape. “All three linebackers are blocked out of the play. They look like they’re on roller skates. That is great execution by Washington, but it’s a terrible job by the Eagles.” Brian broadcast the game on the Compass Media radio network and he watched the tape twice this week. He came away with the same impression: the Eagles lost the game in the trenches.“Just count the number of Eagles on the ground,” he said. “That’s how you can tell. Every play there are three, four, five white jerseys on the ground. The guys up front really got handled.”

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  •   Andy Reid announced that Michael Vick [5] has a rib cartilage injury [6], but no broken bones. LeSean McCoy [7] however, has a rib fracture. For Vick, there is no specific timeline. Reid said he could practice any given day if the soreness started to go away – hurts to breathe, sneeze of get tackled – but there’s no way of knowing. It could be a day to day or week to week injury. LeSean McCoy suffered a fractured rib at some point in the game but continued to play with it. You would think that means he won’t miss games, but a RB is going to get hit in the ribs a lot so this is obviously going to be a touchy injury. Reid really offered no timeline on McCoy either. CB Assante Samuel is also out for the game vs. 49ers
  • Rookie DE Brandon Graham is struggling against the run. He has flashed on occasion rushing the passer, but he is getting pushed around in the run game. That was very noticeable Sunday when he was taken out of plays by the tight end, Cooley. Graham is 6-1, 270. Cooley is 6-3, maybe 245.“I’m willing to cut [Graham] some slack because he’s a rookie and it takes guys awhile to figure things out, especially on the defensive line,” Baldinger said. “But every team in the league is going to see this tape and say, ‘We can run at this guy.’ He’d better get ready.”

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[1] Image: http://prosportsblogging.com/psb/uploads/2010/10/49ers_Eagles_Football.jpg

[2] Image: http://prosportsblogging.com/psb/uploads/2010/10/djack-mccoy.jpg

[3] Image: http://prosportsblogging.com/psb/uploads/2010/10/Kolb-week-5.jpg

[4] Image: http://prosportsblogging.com/psb/uploads/2010/10/Vick-Week-5.jpg

[5] Michael Vick: http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/1188/michael-vick

[6] rib cartilage injury: http://twitter.com/EaglesInsider/status/26375232338

[7] LeSean McCoy: http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/71549/lesean-mccoy

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