Game rewind: Eagles 42, 49ers 3
THE HERO Donovan McNabb was supposed to be questionable for Sunday's game with a bruised sternum, but there was nothing questionable about his performance as he answered the opening bell and then knocked out the 49ers with one of the finest games of his career. Wearing protective padding over his sternum, the Pro Bowl quarterback shredded the San Francisco defense with a masterful performance that included a career-high five touchdown passes. In just three quarters of action, McNabb completed 23 of 29 passes for 342 yards, throwing scoring passes to four different receivers. He also took some hits in the pocket – McNabb was sacked twice – but he got right back up each time to keep swinging away at a punch-drunk 49ers defense while finishing with a near-perfect passer rating of 155.4. THE GOAT After a fine, efficient performance in San Francisco's season-opening upset of St. Louis last week, 49ers quarterback Tim Rattay simply stunk against the Eagles. Rattay had a career-high 141.9 passer rating in last week's game, but his effort Sunday was the complete antithesis of that as he finished with a horrible 21.3 rating this time. Rattay sailed and floated passes while throwing interceptions to end three of San Francisco's first six offensive drives, which allowed Philadelphia an opportunity to pour it on early. All three were poor throws, and Philly cornerback Lito Sheppard returned the second one 34 yards to the San Francisco 2-yard line to set up a touchdown on the next play that gave the Eagles a 28-0 lead just 19 minutes into the game. And, on San Francisco's best opportunity of the day to score a touchdown, Rattay overthrew Brandon Lloyd in the end zone midway through the third quarter after the cornerback covering Lloyd in single coverage slipped on the play. KEY STAT The Eagles piled up a franchise record 583 total yards of offense. It was the second-most yards allowed in a game by the 49ers in the 60-year history of the San Francisco franchise – by one yard. The 49ers allowed a team-record 584 yards during a 61-20 loss to the Chicago Bears in 1965. THE TURNING POINT The team captains went to the middle of the field for the opening coin toss. Niners linebacker Julian Peterson called tails. The coin came down heads. That allowed Philadelphia's offense to get the football first and immediately set the tone for the rest of the afternoon. THE BIG PLAY The 49ers came out charged up on defense, holding the Eagles to a short completion on first down and then forcing McNabb into an incompletion on second down. San Francisco then came after McNabb in a third-and-6 situation. But Philly's Pro Bowl quarterback was able to evade Andre Carter coming from the left end, then stepped away from Bryant Young coming up the middle as the pocket began to collapse. McNabb slipped away from the pressure to his left, buying time to loft a pass on the run to Terrell Owens downfield. Owens, given time to work his way free in the San Francisco secondary, slipped behind 49ers' nickel back Mike Adams and caught the ball on the run. Owens was gone. He dashed untouched the rest of the way into the end zone to complete a stunning 68-yard touchdown play that gave the Eagles a 7-0 lead just 57 seconds in the game. The Eagles – particularly their offense – never looked back and the rout was on. STANDOUT PERFORMER That distinction goes to McNabb, but he got of lot of help from top receiver Owens and tight end L.J. Smith, who both deserve at least a share of the spotlight. Owens caught five passes for 143 yards in the game's first 19 minutes – scoring on passes of 68 and 42 yards – and Smith finished with a game-high nine receptions for 119 yards, including a six-yard touchdown catch. QUOTE TO NOTE "He's a premier player and he came out and had a great game. Did anything I say really get him going? Maybe. Maybe not. But I still say what I said. I wouldn't take anything back. I stand on what I said. He's a great player, but I wouldn't take him on our team, even after his performance today." --- 49ers linebacker Derek Smith talking about Philadelphia receiver Terrell Owens, whom Smith ripped with pointed comments earlier in the week BY THE NUMBERS 0: Yardage on punt returns by 49ers' rookie Fred Amey, who had a 75-yard return for a touchdown in last week's opener. 1: Total rushing first downs by the 49ers 2: Total first downs by 49ers in first half 3.0 Average gain by the 49ers on their 47 offensive plays 6: Offensive drives by the 49ers that gained nine yards or fewer 8: Road losses by the 49ers in their last nine games away from home 8.2: Average gain for the Eagles on their 71 offensive plays 10: Consecutive games by the 49ers in which they've produced at least one turnover 11: Number of different Philadelphia receivers to catch at least one pass 21.3: Passer rating in game for 49ers' starting quarterback Tim Rattay 24: Consecutive games with a turnover by the 49ers, the longest current streak in the NFL 30: Total first downs by the Eagles 34: Total rushing yards by Niners tailback Kevan Barlow, on 10 carries 37:57: Total time of possession for Philadelphia offense 39.6: Passer rating in game for 49ers rookie quarterback Alex Smith, who was 0 of 1 passing in his first NFL appearance. 58: Total rushing yards by the 49ers, on 17 carries 80: Philadelphia's efficiency percentage in the red zone, where the Eagles scored touchdowns on four of five trips 84: Net yards passing by the 49ers 155.2: The combined passer rating for Philadelphia's three quarterbacks, who combined to complete 33 of 39 passes for 458 yards and five touchdowns. 355: Total yards of offense by Philadelphia in first two quarters 359: Total yards of offense by 49ers in the season's first two games 441: Total yards by which the 49ers were out-gained Sunday 458: Total yards allowed passing by the 49ers, the second-highest total in team history 988: Yards allowed by San Francisco defense in the season's first two games FAST FACTS --- The 49ers now hold a 17-8-1 advantage in the all-time series between the two teams. The Eagles won for just the second time in six meetings against the 49ers and beat them at home for the first time since 1975. --- The 49ers lost their road opener for the third consecutive season. --- Philadelphia receiver Terrell Owens went over the 10,000-yard mark in career receiving yards, becoming the 22nd player in NFL history to do so. --- The 49ers (1-1) return home next Sunday for a 1:05 p.m. game against the Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco's Monster Park.
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