Brock Purdy threw four touchdown passes and Deebo Samuel accounted for three TDs as the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 42-19 in a chippy contest Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
Purdy threw touchdown passes to Brandon Aiyuk, Jauan Jennings and two to Samuel, who also rushed for a touchdown.
Niners (9-3) running back Christian McCaffrey also rushed for a touchdown to go along with his 133 yards from scrimmage.
For the Eagles (10-2), quarterback Jalen Hurts, who briefly left the game while he was being evaluated for a concussion, accounted for two touchdowns and passed for 298 yards. He threw a touchdown pass to receiver DeVonta Smith.
Smith in the third quarter drew a flag after being slammed to the turf out of bounds by 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw. Greenlaw was ejected shortly after the play along with Eagles head of security Dom DiSandro after making contact with DiSandro’s face after the two exchanged words.
Greenlaw, Big Dom ejected
The 49ers played the last quarter and a half without Greenlaw after the linebacker took a swipe at an Eagles security official on the sideline and was ejected. The play occurred at 9:27 in the third quarter after Hurts completed a pass to Smith and Greenlaw suplexed the receiver out of bounds, drawing a personal foul penalty in the process.
That led to the sideline scrap involving DiSandro, whose title is Eagles’ senior adviser to the GM/chief security officer. DiSandro also had to leave the field. Oren Burks replaced Greenlaw for the rest of the game at weakside linebacker and it was Burks who delivered the blow to Hurts that briefly knocked the Eagles out of the game so he could be checked for a concussion.
The penalty was Greenlaw’s third unnecessary roughness call of the season and the second time in two seasons he’s been ejected from a game. He was removed from a Week 10 game against the Chargers last year after a hit on quarterback Justin Herbert. — Matt Barrows, 49ers senior writer
49ers safety depth tested
The 49ers’ depth at safety was tested early on when Tashaun Gipson Sr. had to come off the field for several snaps on the Eagles’ opening drive. That sent Isaiah Oliver, who to this point has been a nickel cornerback for the 49ers, into the game at free safety. Oliver has played a handful of snaps at safety over his career, though he’s mainly been an outside cornerback and nickel cornerback.
Gipson re-entered the game after just a few snaps, but his brief absence underscores just how thin the team is at safety after serious injuries to Talanoa Hufanga (knee) and George Odum (biceps) last month. — Barrows
Evaluating Brock Purdy’s performance
Purdy had already amassed a strong resume for the NFL’s MVP award before this win, given the fact that he led all quarterbacks by a wide margin in efficiency statistics and QBR. Purdy’s case is even stronger now since he was at the helm of this commanding 49ers’ victory on the road in Philadelphia.
It’s easy to see why the 49ers thought that they could’ve owned the day in last season’s NFC Championship Game had Purdy stayed healthy. The problem back in January: He wasn’t reacting quite quickly enough to beat the Eagles’ ultra-aggressiveness pass rush, at least on the play that saw his injury. That’s changed in a big way. Even when the 49ers were struggling early, Purdy twice stepped up in the pocket to evade Haason Reddick — whose sack had injured the QB’s elbow. Those were clear signs of the progress that Purdy has made over the past year. Then, once the 49ers settled down offensively, he directed six straight touchdown drives, all highlighted by excellent composure in the pocket.
Purdy’s best throw of the day came on a wheel route to McCaffrey, but his favorite weapon was Samuel. Samuel had talked the most of any 49er ever since the NFC title game loss, and he delivered with four catches, 116 yards and two touchdowns that eviscerated the Eagles’ defense — which had ranked No. 3 in defending yards after the catch entering the game.
That was the most resounding statement the 49ers could’ve made in Philadelphia. — David Lombardi, 49ers beat writer
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Why the Eagles lost
The Eagles ran out of comeback magic in their loss to the 49ers, a beatdown at home that highlighted flaws that could eventually doom them in an eventual playoff berth that they must now clinch at a later date.
A new problem flared. The Eagles entered the weekend with the NFL’s fifth-highest touchdown conversion rate upon reaching the red zone (62.8 percent). But they failed to score touchdowns on two promising drives to start the game in which they averaged 5.5 yards per play. Offensive coordinator Brian Johnson and quarterback Hurts were subsequently bottled by an NFL-leading 49ers defense that held the Eagles to 11 plays and 20 yards on their final three drives of the first half.
Meanwhile, an Eagles defense that forced two three-and-outs to begin the game behind a relentless rush began to unravel. Purdy began to exploit the mismatches at linebacker and nickel safety that Eagles defensive coordinator Sean Desai has been attempting to mask for most of the 2023 season. The 49ers scored six straight touchdowns while averaging 9.6 yards per play to secure a 42-19 lead with 5:19 left in the fourth quarter.
Eagles cornerback Darius Slay was flexible in his defensive positioning for the fourth straight game, this time mostly shadowing 49ers wide receiver Aiyuk, then switching to Samuel in the red zone. But Purdy still completed 19-of-27 passes for 314 yards and four touchdowns while targeting both Slay and the rest of the Eagles’ defense. Purdy completed three passes to Aiyuk for 32 yards against Slay, including a critical third-and-7 in the third quarter that eventually led to a touchdown. Samuel recorded four catches for 116 yards while scoring two touchdowns on receptions of 48 and 46 yards.
Hurts briefly exited the game during the second half and was evaluated with a concussion before returning to the game. Despite leading the Eagles on two second-half touchdown drives, the unraveling of the team’s defense proved insurmountable.
The 49ers revealed themselves to be a potential foil to the team that beat them in the 2022 NFC championship game. When facing a formidable defense and an offense that can exploit their lack at linebacker and nickel safety, the Eagles will need more answers than they wielded on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. — Brooks Kubena, Eagles staff writer