For the first time in four weeks, the Eagles were unable to complete a comeback Sunday, falling short on a fourth-quarter surge after an afternoon of offensive struggles in a 26-21 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
Here are 10 one-liners that sum up Philadelphia’s first loss of the season:
In a game that saw the Eagles score three return touchdowns on a punt, interception and fumble, the team couldn’t muster any points on the offensive side of the ball, finishing the day with just 11 first downs, six of which came on the second-to-last drive.
At the core of the Eagles’ offensive struggles was the team’s failure to move the ball on the ground for the second consecutive week.
LeSean McCoy’s trademark explosion was nowhere to be found against a Niners defense that limited him to 17 yards on 10 carries, but the inconsistencies of the Eagles’ ailing O-line, which was without three regular starters, may have been the biggest reason for that.
Quarterback Nick Foles was erratic for much of the game, throwing two interceptions and missing the mark on several deep throws, but he did help drive the Eagles into scoring range in the waning minutes of the contest.
Trailing by five points on their longest drive of the game in the fourth quarter, the Eagles moved the chains thanks to a diving sideline catch by wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, but two straight incompletions by Foles from the Niners’ one-yard line all but sealed the defeat.
Fumbles by receiver Riley Cooper and tight end Zach Ertz, the latter of which set up a 49ers touchdown that brought San Francisco within one point, didn’t exactly help the Eagles’ offensive drought nor put the team’s defense in a good position.
The Eagles surrendered 177 rushing yards between Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick and running back Frank Gore, but the Philadelphia defense also scored on a Malcolm Jenkins interception return, made 11 out of 19 possible third-down stops and held San Francisco to field goals on four separate drives.
Perhaps just as notable as the Eagles’ offensive woes was head coach Chip Kelly’s play-calling, which garnered some criticism after he called two straight passes from San Francisco’s one-yard line and earlier declined a penalty that would have led to a 49ers fourth down.
Reserve wide receiver Brad Smith and backup running back Darren Sproles, one of the team’s consistent play-makers this season, were responsible for the Eagles’ special teams touchdowns, with Sproles returning a punt 82 yards for a score and Smith recovering a blocked Andy Lee punt in the endzone early in the first quarter.
Now 3-1 on the season, the Eagles will return home for another showdown with an NFC West opponent in their next game on Oct. 5, a 1 p.m. battle with the St. Louis Rams (1-2).