It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for: One of the NFL’s most anticipated postseason games is in full swing as Jalen Hurts and the mighty Philadelphia Eagles are fighting the fire. San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game on FOX.
Niners rookie quarterback Brock Purdy (elbow) is currently out and questionable to return.
Sunday’s tilt pits the top two seeds in the NFC, the top two defenses in the NFL, two top five offenses and two top ten rushing attacks. San Francisco running back Elijah Mitchell (groin) is inactive, the team announced before the start.
The Niners punched their ticket to the NFC title after narrowly edging the Dallas Cowboys in the divisional round, good for their 12th straight win this season, while the Eagles advanced after defeating the New York Giants last week.
Sunday’s winner will go to Arizona to play there Super Bowl LVII (Feb. 12, 6:30 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app).
Here are the highlights!
San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles
Instead of going for a field goal in their first game, the Eagles made a statement by keeping the offense down the field.
On a crucial fourth down, Hurts went deep for DeVonta Smith, who made a monster 29-yard catch to put the Eagles in the red zone. After looking more closely at the work, it seemed that Smith may not have caught the ball after all …
The home team takes the lead
… but it was too little, too late. Two plays later, Miles Sanders went right through the Niners defense and got a short score to put Philly up 7-0. It was Sanders’ 12th touchdown of the season.
Heading into Sunday’s game, the Eagles are 8-0 this season in games in which Sanders posts a rushing score. He is now one of five players in Eagles history to rush for 12 touchdowns in a single season (including the playoffs) and only one of four players to do so in the Super Bowl era, joining Hurts, FOX’s LeSean McCoy and five times. Professional player Ricky Watters.
On the Niners’ first possession, Purdy tried to connect with George Kittle, but the ball came loose. The Eagles challenged the incomplete pass ruling and the play was reversed, resulting in a Purdy fumble near midfield.
San Francisco’s defense showed up when it mattered most, forcing Philly to go three-and-out after the turnover.
Montage of injuries for the 49ers
Purdy did not return for the Niners’ next series. Substitute Josh Johnson took the field for San Francisco, that went from three and out in the unit Purdy briefly exited the locker room before returning to the Niners sideline, where his pitching elbow was wrapped and iced.
Johnson, a fifth-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, has a 1-8 record as a starter and a career completion percentage of 58 percent heading into Sunday’s game. The 36-year-old teammate has been part of 14 different teams, an NFL record.
On the other hand, Nick Bosa, who was not on the field at the time, fell to the sideline after being hit and was treated by the 49ers’ training staff. He took the field on San Francisco’s ensuing possession, but left before the game was over.
This comes after Niners star linebacker Fred Warner was hurt momentarily only in the second play of the match.
What could have been
The Eagles narrowly avoided a safety on his first drive of the second quarter and ended up going three-and-out.
The Niners tied things up midway through the second quarter, thanks to that furious run by Christian McCaffreywho has missed two straight practices this week with a calf injury.
With this touchdown, McCaffrey has scored in nine straight games, matching the longest streak of 49ers since Terrell Owens (1998). McCaffrey’s nine-game hitting streak is the third-longest in Niners history (including the playoffs).
The Eagles had a 14-7 late in the second quarter, courtesy of a 17-yard pick by Kenneth Gainwell that set up a soft 13-yard touchdown run by Sanders, his second score of the game.
Johnson fumbled on the 49ers’ next drive, coughing up the ball at the San Francisco 36-yard line. The Eagles took advantage of the new possession as Boston Scott found the end zone with ease a few plays later.
So Philly took a 21-7 halftime lead.
Stay tuned for updates!
Setting the scene
Celebrities and athletes came out in full force Sunday to support their team at Lincoln Financial Field.
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