The Philadelphia Eagles blew out the San Francisco 49ers 31-7 in the 2023 NFC Championship Game. The Eagles were able to take full advantage of injuries to 49ers quarterbacks Brock Purdy and Josh Johnson as they clinched their trip to Super Bowl 57.
The 49ers will be wondering all offseason how this game might’ve gone if Purdy hadn’t suffered a significant elbow injury. But it’s a moot point now after the disappointing result. Even in a game that turned out far different than what we expected and wasn’t competitive, there are major takeaways on each side. Let’s dive into our top four takeaways from the Eagles’ win.
4 Takeaways From 49ers vs. Eagles
Eagles Boast Rare Offensive Flexibility
The Eagles didn’t have to do a whole lot to win, thanks to the early injury to Purdy, as they quickly went up 21-7 after his departure. Everything that happened after that was inconsequential. For as talented as the 49ers’ defense is, they simply couldn’t overcome their rudderless offense.
However, if the Eagles had to continue scoring and this game became an offensive battle, they could’ve continued to grind out drives or find explosive plays. Philadelphia’s ability to pick apart zone coverage continued to be dominant as DeVonta Smith led an incredibly balanced unit.
No one contributor stood out in the stat sheet, but that’s the beauty of this Eagles offense. They’ll enter the Super Bowl with an attack that keeps defenses guessing.
Christian McCaffrey Should Be First-Team All-Pro
It’s unfortunate Christian McCaffrey’s gem of a performance will be lost in the wake of a blowout loss. He quickly ran for 55 yards and a touchdown before the offense was stunted by injuries. But totaling 106 yards on 19 touches against the Eagles’ set of fast and dominant trench defenders is as impressive as it gets.
McCaffrey was brilliant since being acquired by the 49ers, rejuvenating a career that seemed to be disappearing before him. Instead, he’ll enter the 2023 season as one of the top three backs in the NFL, if not the clear No. 1.
McCaffrey may not be named to the AP first-team All-Pro list, but he left little doubt he’s still that kind of talent.
Losing Brock Purdy Was Impossible To Overcome
Well, it’s not a hot take to point out that losing your overachieving third-string quarterback is hard to overcome. San Francisco may have had a chance to win this game with Purdy if everything had gone their way and they had continued to force timely turnovers. Losing Purdy and having to play Johnson was the end of the game.
The final score certainly showed a blowout, but it was competitive until Johnson entered the game and promptly fumbled on his own 25-yard line. Purdy may have made that same mistake, but Johnson’s inability to sustain Kyle Shanahan’s offensive standard of execution was as damaging as his turnover.
Shanahan was put in a worse position when Johnson suffered a concussion and was left with reinserting Purdy or moving McCaffrey to quarterback. Purdy, who could barely grip the ball, unsurprisingly failed. It added insult to injury on a long, unfortunate day for the 49ers.
The Eagles Have Been Lucky
I love the Eagles’ roster and ability to pressure their opponents from every angle on both sides of the ball. However, it’s fair to point out their 21st-ranked strength of schedule and essentially having three bye weeks before reaching the Super Bowl. Neither the Giants nor the Purdy-less 49ers stood any chance.
Things could be a lot different when faced with an AFC champion. Both the Chiefs and Bengals have elite QBs, great coaching staffs, and formidable defenses. They’re capable of pushing the Eagles in ways neither the Giants nor the 49ers could due to their personnel.
We’ll have a battle of heavyweights in the Super Bowl, but we’ll find out more about Philadelphia than either of their possible opponents.