One of LeSean McCoy's better runs of the day, a five-yard dart off tackle, brought the Eagles to San Francisco's one-yard line, as the clock ticked down to the two minute warning. Third and goal, two chances to punch the ball in.
Nick Foles would ultimately chuck two incompletions, all but ending the comeback bid.
The unusual game against the San Francisco 49ers began with plenty of unlikely rewards for the Eagles. As the game wore on, sudden slow-finishers San Francisco were able to chew into an Eagle lead, take control, and never trail again, winning 26-21.
The Eagles fall to 3-1, still with control of the NFC East, barring the outcome of the Cowboys-Saints Sunday night game.
One positive for the Eagles: the pass rush finally awakened. After going without a quarterback sack since Week 1, Bill Davis' group rallied with four in the first half. Colin Kaepernick found himself under siege, and was dropped four times.
Brandon Graham was credited with a solo sack, while Trent Cole, Casey Matthews, and Connor Barwin combined for two sacks split amongst them. Vinny Curry was credited with his first sack of the year after running Kaepernick out of bounds behind the line of scrimmage.
The four sacks are more than Philadelphia had in their previous three games. Combined with an interception, the Eagles created a sack or a pick on five of Kaepernick's 35 dropbacks.
The Eagles managed to surge ahead early with three touchdowns, all non-offensive.
After sacking Kaepernick on San Francisco's opening drive, the 49ers were pinned back on the goal line in punting formation. Andy Lee could not get the ball away, as Trey Burton got an arm in, deflecting the ball. Brad Smith dove onto it to give the Eagles their first points of the afternoon.
San Francisco managed to go up 10-7 following an irregular throw to Frank Gore that was run in 55 yards for a touchdown, leaving Earl Wolff dusted in his wake. The 49ers had a chance to build on the lead, but Kaepernick was picked by Malcolm Jenkins, his third of the year. Jenkins slalomed his way 53 yards for the go-ahead score.
San Francisco punted on their ensuing possession, and ran into another problem: Darren Sproles. Sproles fielded the punt, shook off a face-mask from Kassim Osgood, and ran 82 yards for the touchdown, putting the Eagles up 21-10. The 49ers managed a field goal before the half, and Philly had their largest halftime lead of the season.
MISTAKES AND MALFUNCTION
The second half would end up the Eagles' undoing. It began with a Zach Ertz fumble, recovered by Perrish Cox, that led to a Steve Johnson touchdown in the corner of the end zone. The 49ers took the lead following an Eagles three-and-out, after a Frank Gore 28-yard run led to a Phil Dawson 46-yard field goal. One possession later, on second and two, Nick Foles threw a deep interception on a woefully underthrown ball to Antoine Bethea.
For the Eagles part, they simply could not get the run going. LeSean McCoy again had a poor outing, running for 17 yards on ten carries. Once more, Sproles curiously had himself just three touches, including a lone run.
San Francisco was able to run at will, gaining 218 yards on 5.19 yards a carry. Gore became the first 100-yard rusher against the Eagles since Rashad Jennings on November 3 of last season.
After a Dawson field goal put San Francisco up 26-21, the Eagles had to begin their last gasp from their own nine-yard line following a penalty. Seemed impossible, but the fourth-quarter heroics of Jeremy Maclin came to pass once more.
On the drive, Maclin caught four passes for 59 yards, including a breath-taking one-handed snag for 22 yards that converted a third down.
After a McCoy run brought the Eagles down to the one with two minutes left, a pair of Foles incompletions turned the ball over. San Francisco burnt all three Eagles timeouts with runs, and Philadelphia had one last shot with about a minute and a half to go.
The punt return by Sproles was nullified by a needless block in the back from Bradley Fletcher, and Philadelphia was backed up to their own 31. Four miserable plays ended the game, punctuated by a Cox interception.
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