The 49ers' offense is fourth in points per game (28.2) and third in yards per game (386.1), meaning the Philadelphia Eagles' defense will be busy during Week 13’s 2023 NFC Championship rematch at Lincoln Financial Field.
Both Brock Purdy and Christian McCaffrey are key San Francisco players the Eagles will aim to limit, as the tandem has scored a combined 30 touchdowns for the 8-3 49ers this season.
Eagles defensive coordinator Sean Desai spoke with reporters on Monday, detailing Philadelphia’s approach to limiting the explosiveness of Purdy and McCaffrey.
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“Brock’s playing at a high level,” Desai told reporters. “Really efficient with the ball. Getting the ball out with rhythm and timing to his receivers. He’s slippery. He’s a little bit quick and can be evasive in the pocket. He keeps his eyes upfield and is able to target some explosives downfield that way too.
“We will have to have a good plan corralling him and getting tight to some of these routes so we can contest some of the throws.”
The Eagles are aware of Purdy’s comfortability in coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense, as the second-year quarterback has completed 70.2 percent of passes for 2,871 yards and 19 scores during the 2023 NFL season.
However, Philadelphia hasn’t faced Purdy for a full game yet since he missed much of last season’s 49ers-Eagles NFC title game with a UCL injury that required surgery this past offseason.
San Francisco 49ers
When asked about defending against McCaffrey, Desai acknowledged the Eagles' plan to slow down the NFL's leading rusher, who has gained 939 yards on the ground this season, is a work in progress.
“That’s a good question,” Desai explained to reporters. “You’ve got to put bodies around him. Have to get different looks, affect his route progression from different angles and put different matchups on him because they do a great job of creating matchups there. So, we’ve got to be able to have multiple different ways and different angles at which we want to cover him and leverage them.”
Across his decorated eight-year NFL career, McCaffrey has posted 26 carries, 121 yards and two touchdowns in three games against the Eagles.
In last season’s 31-7 playoff loss to Philadelphia, the All-Pro ran for 84 yards and the 49ers’ lone touchdown.
The last time San Francisco and Philadelphia met, the Eagles cruised to the Super Bowl after the banged-up 49ers lost two quarterbacks to injury.
Sunday’s 1:25 p.m. affair should be the 49ers' first time with the Purdy-McCaffrey pairing for a full four quarters against the Eagles in what potentially will be a preview for another NFC Championship Game.