Eagles’ Darius Slay responds to Brandon Aiyuk after jab about NFC championship

Darius Slay didn’t seem too worried about what could have happened — or should have happened — during the NFC Championship Game.

The Philadelphia Eagles beat the San Francisco 49ers, of course. But 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk didn’t think the better team would win. Aiyuk was critical of the Eagles and felt they were “lucky”. To Aiyuk’s credit, it’s easy to imagine the game going differently, if San Francisco hadn’t lost so many quarterbacks to injury, both in the game and the regular season.

When informed of Aiyuk’s comments, Slay backtracked.

“We’ve had the No. 1 defense in the passing game for, I think, almost the whole year. I don’t know. That was weird. Yeah, bad sportsmanship. Bad,” Slay told reporters last night opening of the Super Bowl. on Monday at the Footprint Center.

Aiyuk seemed to be playing a game of what if. Slay seemed much more interested in what actually happened.

“What chance are they going to have? The first time they dropped, we’re going to bust their quarterback, both of them,” Slay said. “So I don’t know what chance they would have. But call him.”

The 49ers were briefly without their fourth-string quarterback Josh Johnson after their third-stringer, Brock Purdy, suffered an injury in the NFC Championship. Hurdy returned to the game, but clearly had trouble throwing the ball. San Francisco turned to starter Purdy after injuries to Week 1 starter Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo.

So what did Aiyuk say, exactly?

During a Twitter Live, Aiyuk told The SFNiners that his 49ers “have their hands down, the best football team in the league.”

He also targeted the Eagles secondary.

“They talk about being a good defense, I’m not sure. I think that Kansas City passing game will expose what we thought we could expose before some unfortunate circumstances happened,” Aiyuk said. “They were very lucky.”

Aiyuk finished the game with a reception for 10 yards. Meanwhile, Slay allowed just one catch on one target for 11 yards — a short pass to wide receiver Deebo Samuel.

Slay allowed 44 catches on 80 targets (55%) for 536 yards with four touchdowns allowed on the season with three interceptions and nine PBUs, per Pro Football Focus. Slay was the CB1 in a secondary that allowed the fewest passing yards in the NFL (3,057) and the fourth fewest points allowed per game (18.8).

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Prior to joining FOX Sports as an AFC East reporter, Henry McKenna spent seven years covering the Patriots for USA TODAY Sports Media Group and Boston Globe Media. Follow him on Twitter at @McKennAnalysis.

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