Week 4 Matchup: Eagles vs. 49ers
Punting instead of going for that game-winning field goal is still haunting Eagles fan's dreams. The Eagles are now 0-2-1 coming off of a tie against the Bengals. The last time the Eagles ended a game in a tie was also against the Bengals back in 2008. Another week has come and gone and they still do not have a win. On paper, the Eagles should have had two easy wins, but that’s not the case and now they are about to face a dominant (but injured) San Francisco 49ers squad heading into Week 4.
The last time these teams met, the Eagles defeated the 49ers 33-10 at Lincoln Financial Field back in 2017. The Eagles, of course, went on to win the Super Bowl that year, but the fates of both teams have drastically changed. The Eagles are climbing an uphill battle from the NFC cellar, while the 49ers are coming off a loss in the Super Bowl and have a chip on their shoulder. Just like the Eagles, the 49ers are dealing with a plethora of injuries and are without many of their starters. Even with the injuries, they managed to come up with a one-sided victory last week as they defeated the New York Giants 36-9. I looked at that score while painfully watching the Eagles game and laughed at the Giant's sad defeat and then realized... the Eagles are right next to them in the standings.
The 49ers have won two straight manhandling the Jets and Giants in a total score of 67-22. They are hoping to get healthy quickly because the NFC West is a tough division to be in. They are down their starting quarterback, running back, and a couple of receivers and cornerbacks. With Jimmy Garoppolo out with an ankle injury, backup Nick Mullens has to take his place until he returns. Mullens had finished the game last week 25 of 36 for 343 yards with a touchdown and a passer rating of 108.9. He'll get the start once again for the Niners as Garoppolo will be out at least one more week.
The 49ers picked up 29 first downs while allowing just 13 last Sunday, and controlled the clock by a 39:44 to 20:16 margin. Their defense forced a total of three turnovers while playing a turnover-free game on offense in the contest. The Niners have a couple of very good offensive tackles in Trent Williams and Mike McGlinchey, and have been putting pressure on the interior so far this season. However, their guards, Daniel Brunskill and Laken Tomlinson have made the Jets and Giants' lines look greater than they are despite the lopsided scores in those games.
For the first time this season, the Eagles are the underdogs. They have embraced that role in the past three seasons, so maybe that will be a motivator for the team. It’s also getting harder and harder to defend Carson Wentz each week. He’s just not performing at the moment, and it could be for a variety of things. Maybe he's used to throwing to certain players and they’re not there due to injury? Who knows, but I’m still on board the Wentz train and I hope he gives us an outstanding performance against the 49ers. So far this year, Carson Wentz has completed 59.8 percent of his passes for 737 yards with three touchdowns, six interceptions, and a passer rating of 63.9 percent. He made an effort to lead his team to victory in the final moments of the game against the Bengals, but they came up short with some questionable calls towards the end of overtime.
The team is still dealing with injuries, and now the injuries are hurting the already poor passing game. DeSean Jackson suffered a hamstring injury and Dallas Goedert suffered an ankle injury in last week's game, so both offensive threats will be out for SNF.
The Eagles picked up 27 first downs, but allowed 24 and controlled the time of possession by a 37:44 to 32:16 margin. They turned over the ball twice while failing to generate a single takeaway during the game (and all season). In my opinion, the only way the team has a shot at defeating the Niners would be to put continuous pressure on Nick Mullens. The Eagles were dominant in that category against the Bengals -- they ended up sacking Joe Burrow eight times and hit him 18 times. They'll also need to stop the 49ers run game, as the Niners were the second-most run-heavy team in the NFL last year and have been trying to use it often so far in 2020.
Will the Birds finally come out on top? Will they punt the ball instead of going for a potentially game-winning field goal? Find out Sunday Night as the Eagles try to not embarrass themselves any further while on national television.