PHILADELPHIA — Rematch, anyone?
It doesn't seem as if the 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles have been rivals for very long, but the bad blood is real.
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After a slow start Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field, the 49ers simply overpowered the Eagles for a 42-19 victory that pulled San Francisco within one game of Philadelphia for the NFC's No. 1 playoff seed.
These teams could be heading for a late January game with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line — just like a year ago.
The Eagles, playing their third game in 13 days, fell to 10-2 on the season, while the 49ers won their fourth in a row to improve to 9-3. Now, the 49ers own the tiebreaker edge on the Eagles — if it should come to that.
49ers quarterback Brock Purdy strengthened his NFL MVP candidacy, as he outplayed his Eagles counterpart, Jalen Hurts, who entered the week as the award front-runner.
San Francisco 49ers
Purdy, who tore the UCL in his throwing elbow on this field last season, completed 19 of 27 passes for 314 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Hurts, who exited the game near the end of the third quarter to be evaluated for a concussion but later returned, was 26-of-45 passing for 298 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions.
As expected, the game was a little chippy. And things escalated to a whole new level with a wild sequence of events in the third quarter.
49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw had Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith wrapped up at the sideline after he caught a 13-yard pass. Greenlaw then performed a suplex on Smith — in front of Eagles chief security officer Dom DiSandro — to draw a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness.
DiSandro moved closer to Greenlaw and had some choice words for him, and Greenlaw responded with what appeared to be a jab to DiSandro’s face.
Greenlaw was ejected from the game, and officials enforced DiSandro's removal from the Eagles’ sideline.
Here are the top takeaways from the Week 13 game, in which the 49ers exacted their revenge for last season's NFC Championship Game loss:
Samuel backs up his words
With Ray-Ray McCloud inactive because of rib injury, wide receiver Deebo Samuel replaced him on kickoff returns.
That’s how important this game was for Samuel and the 49ers.
Samuel spoke out after the 49ers' loss in last season's NFC Championship Game, referring to Eagles cornerback James Bradberry as “trash.” He and fellow receiver Brandon Aiyuk didn't give the Eagles any credit for their head-to-head victory last January because of Purdy’s elbow injury.
Samuel and Aiyuk's actions spoke loudly in the rematch.
Samuel gave the 49ers some breathing room on the first drive of the third quarter when he took a pitch from Purdy and sprinted around the right end for a 12-yard touchdown.
After the Eagles pulled within 21-13 later in the quarter, Aiyuk caught a 10-yard pass from Purdy on third-and-7. Two plays later, Purdy hit Samuel in stride on a crossing route. Samuel broke Eagles linebacker Nicholas Morrow's tackle attempt, turned up field and carried cornerback Darius Slay into the end zone to complete a 48-yard scoring play for a 28-13 lead.
Red-zone defense steps up when needed
Through the first two possessions of the game, the Eagles dominated the 49ers everywhere except the scoreboard.
The Eagles rolled up 120 yards and seven first downs, but the 49ers came up with some big defensive stops to keep the damage to a minimum. Philadelphia kicker Jake Elliott made field goals of 26 and 39 yards for a 6-0 lead.
San Francisco got a big play from cornerback Charvarius Ward to break up a Hurts pass intended for A.J. Brown in the end zone to end their Eagles’ game-opening drive.
On the Eagles’ second possession, the 49ers’ coverage bought enough time for Javon Kinlaw to register a 15-yard sack after Hurts slipped.
The 49ers put together a strong defensive effort against one of the league’s most high-powered offenses.
One of the keys to the 49ers’ defense was their ability to put the clamps on Eagles running back D’Andre Swift, who managed just 13 yards on six carries.
McCaffrey joins rare company
Christian McCaffrey didn't touch the ball on the 49ers’ first two possessions of the game. He made up for it as the game went on, and the 49ers piled up the first downs.
The running back ended up with 93 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries, and he also caught three passes for 40 yards.
McCaffrey’s second-quarter touchdown was the 12th rushing score of the season and his 50th career TD on the ground.
McCaffrey joined Hall of Famers Lenny Moore and Marshall Faulk as the only players in NFL history with at least 50 rushing touchdowns and 25 receiving. Faulk had 100 TDs rushing and 36 receiving, and Moore had 63 on the ground and 48 in the air.
McCaffrey has 27 receiving touchdowns in his seven-year NFL career. He has five TD catches this season, and the All-Pro's receiving skills showed up at an opportune time for the 49ers in the third quarter.
On third-and-3, Purdy found McCaffrey singled up against Morrow's coverage. McCaffrey had several steps on Morrow and made an over-the-shoulder catch for a 33-yard gain that set up Samuel’s first touchdown of the third quarter.