This was a slugfest from start to finish between the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers. The Eagles were out front after the first quarter and looked like the better team on both sides of the ball, but the rest of the way proved to be a different story. The 49ers caught some breaks on offense and shut down Philadelphia en route to a 17-11 win.
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Jimmy Garoppolo led the 49ers at quarterback the entire way, leaving rookie Trey Lance on the bench with zero snaps. Garoppolo finished with a 3.6-yard average depth of target, with only 28.6% of his yards coming through the air. He also made two turnover-worthy plays that the Eagles didn’t take advantage of.
Elijah Mitchell, JaMycal Hasty and Trey Sermon all suffered some type of injury — some less serious than others — and underwhelmed when on the field. The group led San Francisco to a 20% successful run rate on running back carries, the second-worst mark of Kyle Shanahan’s head coaching tenure.
Lowest successful run rate by a Shanahan 49ers offense (RB carries only)
|Game||Successful run rate|
|2019 W11 vs ARI||11.1%|
|2021 W2 at PHI||20.0%|
|2018 W15 vs SEA||20.8%|
|2017 W14 at HOU||23.3%|
Sermon’s first career carry could not have gone any worse. The rookie suffered a major hit to the head and fumbled the ball, knocking him out of the game.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Wide receiver Deebo Samuel’s after-the-catch prowess shined. He averaged 8.0 yards after the catch and broke three tackles on his six catches. He produced three receptions of 15-plus yards, which were the 49ers lone explosive pass plays on the day.
Tight end George Kittle’s four receptions all came behind the line of scrimmage. His longest play went for eight yards, while one ended in a fumble. Kittle was targeted on only 13.3% of his routes, his lowest target rate in a game since 2018.
George Kittle’s lowest target rate in a single game since 2018
|2021 W2 at PHI||13.3%|
|2018 W5 vs ARI||15.7%|
|2019 W2 at CIN||15.8%|
|Average since 2018||28.4%|
The 49ers’ offensive line was aided by the offensive scheme in pass protection — a common theme in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. In run blocking, the unit’s grade is on track to finish more than 13 grading points worse than its Week 1 mark.
Interior defensive lineman Arik Armstead and star edge defender Nick Bosa combined for 10 total pressures and posted 27.3% and 19.2% win rates, respectively. Bosa was the only pass-rusher to notch a sack in this game, and he did so twice — including a strip-sack fumble.
D.J. Jones was a force against the run. He earned a positive grade in that facet on nearly one-third of his reps while posting three run stops on first review of the film.
Fred Warner made three run stops and allowed zero yards in coverage in the first half. In the second half, he recorded just one stop and gave up a first down in coverage, but there are few bones to pick with the way Warner performed.
Cornerback Josh Norman’s return to the field left a lot to be desired. He was flagged two times for defensive pass interference, one coming on a third down and the other being in the red zone.
Rookie corner Deommodore Lenoir started opposite the veteran, and he saw 10 targets on 30 coverage snaps. One of those targets ended up being a 91-yard reception to Quez Watkins, but that was the lone first down the rookie allowed on the day. Lenoir finished with two forced incompletions.
This week’s version of Jalen Hurts was more like his 2020 rookie self as opposed to the player who lit up Week 1. He was taking risks, holding onto the ball, willing to break the structure of the offense and making plays on scrambles.
Jalen Hurts in 2021
|Week 1 at ATL||Week 2 vs PHI|
|3.6||Average Depth of Target||15.8|
|0.33||EPA/pass removing scrambles||0.07|
Hurts looked good when operating from a clean pocket, but he was far more rattled under pressure this week compared to Week 1. Fourteen of his 30 dropbacks were under pressure, and he completed only two passes. Hurts did produce a couple of explosive scrambles on such plays, but the Eagles’ were still overwhelmingly inefficient in that facet.
Miles Sanders picked up only one run of 10-plus yards on his 13 carries.
Rookie Kenneth Gainwell endured some lackluster run blocking, getting contacted behind the line of scrimmage on three of his six carries. He finished with no missed tackles forced, and his longest carry went for six yards
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Philadelphia’s offense notched only two explosive pass plays, and both went to speedster Quez Watkins. His 4.3-second 40-yard speed was on full display on his 91-yard go route, and he reeled in a nice deep out, too. Watkins generated 7.31 yards per route run. The next best pass-catcher — tight end Dallas Goedert — was all the way down at 1.60.
Hurts’ willingness to hold onto the ball puts stress on the Eagles’ offensive line, but the quarterback’s high pressure rate wasn’t solely his fault. Philly gave up plenty of quick pressure. Ten of the team’s 13 pressures allowed were within 2.5 seconds of the snap.
Rookie Landon Dickerson filled in for veteran right guard Brandon Brooks, who exited with an injury, and the 2021 second-rounder had some “welcome to the NFL” moments. Dickerson finished with a poor pass-blocking grade and four pressures allowed on 20 such snaps.
The Eagles’ defensive front struggled to record any notable pass-rush numbers since the 49ers were scheming quick, short throws, but the unit did make an impact against the run. Interior defensive linemen Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox recorded three and two run stops, respectively.
Edge defender Brandon Graham reportedly ruptured his Achilles tendon and is done for the 2021 season. When healthy, Graham has been one of the best edge defenders in the league. He was on an eight-year run of earning a single-season PFF grade above 80.0 and racking up at least 50 pressures.
Six different Eagles off-ball linebackers saw reps, and only one notably struggled. Alex Singleton, who played more than anyone (57 snaps), earned a sub-50.0 PFF grade upon first review and missed four tackles. The other five — Eric Wilson, Genard Avery, T.J. Edwards, Patrick Johnson and Davion Taylor — combined for zero missed tackles and 10 defensive stops.
Philadelphia’s coverage unit let up numerous chunk plays to San Francisco and was called for an impactful defensive pass interference penalty inside the five-yard line down in the fourth quarter. The Eagles’ unit allowed 0.56 expected points added per pass and a 70% successful pass play rate through the final three quarters. K’Von Wallace and Avonte Maddox were the only two defensive backs who didn’t allow a first down in this outing.