Shanahan Runs Out of Answers, Eagles Heading to the Super Bowl

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Eagles 31, 49ers 7: Shanahan Runs Out of Answers, Eagles Heading to the Super Bowl


I wrote this week about Kyle Shanahan’s wizardry as a play-caller. Having Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk on that 49ers offense helps a ton. It’s one of the most dynamic stable of playmakers in football.

Still, Shanahan’s magic on the whiteboard has created a 49ers team that has thrived with three different starting quarterbacks under center this season. But the question this week was whether or not he could come up with an answer for Philadelphia’s prolific pass rush.

The answer was no.

After Haason Reddick knocked Brock Purdy out of the game in the first quarter, the 49ers’ Super Bowl hopes dissipated. After San Francisco’s defense began to self-destruct with penalties, the Eagles scored two touchdowns in the final minutes of the opening half. Then, it was all but over.

On the second half’s opening drive, fourth-string quarterback Josh Johnson was knocked out of the game with a concussion.

With the injured Purdy forced back into action, the 49ers’ offense was ineffective. Philadelphia’s offense pounded the ball on the ground, with Miles Sanders (two), Boston Scott, and Jalen Hurts all scoring rushing touchdowns.

Philadelphia’s defense feasted on a wounded San Francisco offense. I guess it’s time to grease up the light poles in Philadelphia because the Eagles are heading to the Super Bowl.

Key Moments

Purdy Goes Down

In an early hole after a touchdown drive by the Eagles, disaster struck for the 49ers in the first quarter.

49ers’ Quarterback Brock Purdy was hit on the right arm by Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick midway through the first quarter in Philadelphia.

Purdy was seen on the San Francisco sideline working with the trainers focused on his right elbow. Purdy told 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan that he couldn’t go back in, prompting Shanahan to insert backup Josh Johnson.

That brought in Josh Johnson and, ultimately, ended the 49ers’ season. Three starting quarterbacks going down to injury was where the Shanahan magic ran out. They say that lightning never strikes the same place twice, but the 49ers have been hit in the same place a handful of times this season.

Back-to-Back Touchdowns by Miles Sanders and Boston Scott

For a second, I thought that we might be watching “The Christian McCaffrey” game. After Purdy went down, McCaffrey put the 49ers on his back for a game-tying drive.

McCaffrey rumbled in for a 23-yard touchdown midway through the second quarter that evened the score at seven:

Unfortunately for the 49ers, the CMC game was short-lived. After a series of drives in which the defense held the Eagles at bay, they bent.

Defensive penalties helped prolong a long drive for Philadelphia. Miles Sanders finished the job with his second touchdown of the game.

After a fumble recovery by the Eagles on the ensuing San Francisco drive, Boston Scott punched one in. Scott’s touchdown gave the Eagles a 21-7 lead with 16 seconds to play in the first half.

Josh Johnson Goes Down

The 49ers didn’t have much chance coming out of the half. However, any chance they had left disintegrated when Josh Johnson went down.

Josh Johnson took a big hit on the 49ers’ opening drive of the second half, and he left the game to be evaluated for a concussion. Johnson’s injury forced the injured Brock Purdy back into the game. It was all but over with Purdy dealing with an injured elbow and struggling to grip the ball.

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.