Sunday, December 20, 2009
Rapid Reaction: Eagles 27, 49ers 13
By Matt Mosley
When you have one of the most explosive offensive players in the league in your lineup, it covers up a lot of mistakes. And the Philadelphia Eagles (10-4) once again leaned on second-year wide receiver DeSean Jackson in a sloppy win over the Niners to clinch at least a wild-card playoff spot.
The Eagles had a 20-3 lead at the half but they let the Niners back in the game by sleep-walking through the third quarter. San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith made some baffling decisions in the first half while throwing three interceptions. The Eagles used a fierce pass-rush led by Trent Cole and Juqua Parker to keep Smith off-balance. And when the 49ers had one last chance to get back in the game in the fourth quarter, it was Cole who beat left tackle Joe Staley to sack Smith on fourth-and-7.
Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb finished with 306 passing yards but he threw a couple of costly interceptions that allowed the Niners to hang around. He was shaky from the start in throwing balls at his receivers' legs but he connected with Jackson on a 19-yard touchdown in the first quarter and then for a 59-yard play in the fourth quarter.
From the start, the 49ers didn't appear to be familiar with Jackson's history of big plays. They left him one-on-one with poor Takeo Spikes early in the game and then safety Michael Lewis allowed Jackson to run right past him on the 59-yard play that put the Eagles in position to finish off the Niners.
Jackson finished with six catches for 140 yards and a touchdown Sunday. He's the one player for the Eagles no one can cover and his presence on the field allowed the Eagles to cover up some shoddy work from McNabb. It was also a nice day for Leonard Weaver and LeSean McCoy, who combined for 100 rushing yards. Weaver set the tone early with a couple catches and then he busted through the Niners' defensive line to set up the Eagles' final touchdown.
The Eagles should've never let the 49ers back in this game, but it's still a win. They remain a game ahead of the Cowboys in the race for the NFC East crown. Back in a bit with more playoff scenario talk.