49ers Film Review: How Philadelphia knocked out San Francisco

Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.

Unfortunately for the San Francisco 49ers, the quote of former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson was proven true during their 31-7 blowout NFC championship game loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

Philadelphia’s prowess at getting after opposing quarterbacks was a point of discussion throughout the week leading up to the game. On one end of the Eagles defense is Hasson Reddick who entered the game with 17.5 sacks and five forced fumbles including the postseason. Over on the other side you find Josh Sweat with 12.5.

In Philadelphia’s base five man front the end men on the line of scrimmage, Reddick and Sweat, have one job, attack the deepest man in the backfield. San Francisco thought they had a plan to keep them at bay. The following four plays show how wrong they were, and why Philadelphia is the team heading to Super Bowl LVII.

First quarter: First and ten, 49ers 36.

Kyle Shanahan aligns two tight ends outside of right tackle Mike McGlinchey. Doing this forces Hasson Reddick to widen his alignment. McGlinchey does a good job of getting depth in his pass drop and protecting Brock Purdy’s front side.

Purdy takes the snap and fires a quick out to Brandon Aiyuk on the left side. Aiyuk makes the catch for a 49ers first down.

This was second of two quick throws the 49ers used to open the game. Purdy hit both and the protection up front was good. Philadelphia knew they were vulnerable to the quick passing game but bet the 49ers would slip up.

First quarter: First and ten, 49ers 46.

On the next play we see San Francisco aligned once again with two tight ends outside of right tackle Mike McGlinchey.

San Francisco runs counter to the right side, both tight ends block down with the backside guard and tackle pulling to lead Deebo Samuel.

This play is a terrific example of the speed Philadelphia possesses on defense and the aggressiveness with which Philadelphia’s edge players are attacking. Reddick quickly gets into the back field, nearly making the tackle on Samuel who gets by and picks up four yards.

First quarter: Second and six, 50.

San Francisco uses the same two tight end alignment for the third play in a row, and the Eagles bet is about to pay off. 

Kyle Shanahan dials up play action with Christian McCaffrey going into the left flat and Brandon Aiyuk running a rail route on the left side as well.

In an effort to match play action with the run game Shanahan tasks Tyler Kroft with blocking Reddick one-one-one. That’s a massive mismatch. Reddick gets to Purdy, hitting the quarterbacks throwing arm leading to a fumble.

Shanahan tried to give Kroft help by sending Deebo Samuel on orbit motion behind the quarterback towards Reddick. The motion doesn’t slow Reddick down because that’s not his responsibility. Eagles linebacker Kyzir White (#43) is responsible for Samuel here and is in good position.

During his postgame press conference Kyle Shanahan noted having the quarterback step up on this play would be helpful but he was unsure of what the pocket looked like.

The protection on this play puts Purdy in a meat grinder either way. If Purdy steps up it puts him right into the path of Javon Hargrave (#97) who is looping around from his inside position.

Another piece of this play is the timing of the throw. As Purdy hits the top of his drop Aiyuk is still in the vertical stage of his route. Purdy starts his throwing motion just after Aiyuk gets to the outside shoulder of the defensive back.

Using slow developing play action passes against an attacking front like Philadelphia while also asking a backup tight end to block one of the most dangerous pass rushers in the NFL was a poor plan.

It gets worse.

First quarter: Second and six, 49ers 24.

On the 49ers next possession, they again find themselves facing second and six.

Once again Kyle Shanahan goes to a play action. This time he tasks wide receiver Jauan Jennings and tight end George Kittle to keep Reddick off the quarterback. Neither get a hand on Reddick, giving him a free run at Josh Johnson.

San Francisco showed complete lack of respect for their opponent. They went into Sunday thinking they could just go out and run what they have all season and Philadelphia knocked them out in the first round.

This article has 71 Comments

    1. Yep, as Lowell Cohn observed today, the Niners have a Mark Jackson as coach. They need, but will not get under the Yorks, a Steve Kerr.

      1. I hear what you’re saying, Gary. But think about the construction of the team now. It’s been put together like a Swiss watch. Meticulous. Who’s responsible for that? We have to give Kyle a lot of the credit, no? Lynch and Peters too, but Kyle’s the head of the triumvirate, if I can call it that.

        This has become a great team, the catalyst being The Kid of all people. May sound silly because we lost, but that was a fluke imo. We were controlling Philly’s offense and showing we could move the ball on their vaunted front. It seemed to me just a matter of time before we pulled ahead and stayed there.

        1. George, no doubt Vikings fans for years said the same of Bud Grant and Bills followers of Marv Levy. “Just a matter of time.” But sadly their time came and went. They were good coaches who could never bring their teams, great as they were, to the promised land. I do fear this too is what we have in Shanahan.

        1. If you read your insults they sound a lot like the Cohns. I miss the old Felix. You brought some good stuff to the table. And your differing opinions were always welcome. Bring that version back, bud! 🤗

          1. That press conf was wild. Kudos to Ward for saying exactly what he thinks instead of the usual player-speak. Also found his comments about being moved to nickel CB amusing.

  1. Jack,
    when Purdy hits the top of his drop, he has time to step-up and throw before Hargrave is a threat. You
    seem to be saying that he had to wait while Aiyuk was in the vertical stem of his route. Why? Purdy has an idea where he’s Aiyuk’s going, and since his arm is not strong, he should be throwing with maximum anticipation anyway on downfield throws or else don’t call them at all. What do you think Shanahan tells him? Hit the top of your drop; step up, and throw the ball.
    Mike Martz: 49ers Brock Purdy responsible for injury on sack from Eagles Haason Reddick

  2. Hey, Niner Faithful!! Imagine if you will the addition of Tom Brady or Aaron Rogers with all of our skills players and the brilliant offensive mind of Kyle Shanahan. Now think Brock Purdy and Trey Lance learning under one of them. Now tweak the O-line for some improvements like upgrading over Mike McGlinchy. Now I know there’s no guarantees even with those QB’s, but we would still go deep into the playoffs next season where we would do much better against Philly and Dallas ( who we barely beat ) and/or who ever we meet. Of course this is barring that lousy, darn injury bug, of course.

    1. Capt. K,
      There are no upgrades if they sign either Brady or Rodgers there are only down grades. After paying them top 5 QB money the 9ers would likely have to let go multiple starters and replace them with late round draft picks and UDFAs.

      1. Brady would need to come in on a bargain basement contract. What that entails, I don’t know. But I can’t think of a better team to help Brady to go out on top than the 49ers.

        If Brady really wants to come home (especially given this past season on and off the field) I’m sure that something can be worked out.

        Stranger things have happened. All I know is that having Tom Brady could make for another magical season. And I’ll let the FO bang out the numbers.

  3. Sounds like the 49ers next DC will either be Steve Wilks or Vic Fangio. They are both A+ candidates but I am hoping for Fangio. He could be our DC for the foreseeable future up to 15 years.

    1. “Steve Wilks is a terrible coach and an even worse person. That will not end well for the 49ers.”

      Inside Source

      Hope Fangio is hired.

      1. Pat,
        Every source I have read and listened to says he is a great coach especially defense. I haven’t read or heard anything about the kind of person he is. Where can I read more on him? I trust KS when it comes to hiring. I hear the catch on Fangio is he wants to be the highest paid Asst. in the NFL.

        1. That quote is from a family member of mine in Charlotte who is connected to that organization. You won’t read that anywhere online. Apparently, there are plenty of players who feel that way but would never speak up. There’s a reason he didn’t get that job even though they played better after firing Ruhle. Wilks is not well liked by anyone in the organization.

        2. The 49ers are also the quickest way Fangio gets back to head coaching, should he want that again down the line.

          With Wilks they get a nice 3rd round draft pick when he leaves, and the organization has seemingly done a great job at securing compensatory draft capital.

          1. I have a feeling Fangio might be done as a HC. That is part of the reason I want the 9ers to hire Fangio, consistency of staff is a big advantage in the NFL. Constant movement will eventually catch up with a team. Thats what did G. Seifert in with the 9ers.

  4. I don’t see any sense in going after Brady or Rogers and I doubt very much it’ll happen. Kyle had a chance to get Brady before and didn’t do it so it makes no sense he would do it now. I think we are in good shape with Lance and Purdy. We are yet to find out how long Purdy will be out but it sure looks like he could be ready by training camp.
    Next on the horizon is who will be the DC and who all will be resigned among the many Niners who’s contracts are expiring.

  5. In the long run Purdy’s injury may be a great thing for the 9ers. If Lance can come in next year and prove that he is a franchise QB, the 9ers will have 2 franchise QBs and some great trade capital. They might get 2 firsts (with the first of those a picks being in the first 1 to 5 picks) and 2 2nds. If Purdy wasn’t injured he may never have had the opportunity to prove himself

  6. Purdy stepping up on that play? He was watching Aiyuk, he isn’t even looking to his right. I don’t think he had a thought at all for the right side rush. Pretty much a blind rush at him. You could say I suppose he needed better pocket awareness? But I am not sure there was anything he could do after his pass blocking had failed him.

    1. He could have taken the sack. I figure he thought the play would result in 7 and was willing to get hit. He pressed his luck, is all. I admire him for hanging tough, though. He shows signs of greatness.

      1. Guys, guys you are not paying attention to what Jack said: “San Francisco showed complete lack of respect for their opponent. ”
        Watching the film again and seeing Reddick coming at Purdy like a bat out of hell was worse than I remembered.
        This game was over even before Purdy got hurt.
        KS is never going to make it, even with an elite corps we had this year.

  7. OTs and DEs predicted to go in the late 3rd in this weeks Senior Bowl look for these guys as future 49ers.
    Byron Young Tenn
    Yaya Diaby Louisville
    Nick Hampton App. St.
    Rueben Hayes Mich
    Jaylen Ducan Maryland

  8. The more I see the Brock injury play, the more glaring the strategic error becomes. The Bet the Board podcast guys had a stat showing the Eagles defense was the best defense in the NFL defending against the play action pass. Watch the play action part of that play, the Eagles LBers don’t even take 1 step up. The play action has zero impact on the defense. Surely, Kyle knew that stat. So on the very first 7 step drop in the game, Kyle goes play action pass instead of using CMC to help Kroft with a chip on Reddick. Or even using Deebo to step up on his reverse motion to help against Reddick. The 49ers had 4 guys to block 3 Eagles defenders on the right side of the line. Instead of doubling the guy with 16 sacks on the year, the 49ers double teamed Linval Joseph who has 0.5 Sacks on the year. And you double Joseph with 2 starters and leave Reddick 1v1 against a backup who has been a healthy inactive multiple times on the year. It just doesn’t make sense but it surely explains why the 49ers went through 4 QBs on the year. Bill Walsh developed the West Coast Offense. Kyle Shanahan has developed the Disposable QB Offense.

    1. You make my point exactly. It would be nice for Shanahan to admit such a terrible call but that will not happen. Full denial by both Kyle and John. Does that mean that this will not happen again? Doubt it. Your disposable QB notion is harsh but in essence I agree

  9. Fire Shanahan, trade Lance for a #1 pick, sign Colin Kaepernick. Anything less this offseason is a complete failure. Wake up niner fans, this franchise is a joke with the Yorks calling the shots!

    1. Well, seems pretty obvious you shouldn’t get behind the wheel today. Uber or Lyft is your friend, my man.

        1. Jimmy G is a really good QB, especially if you compare him to Colin Kaepernick. 2k more career passing yards. 69.7% completion rate compared to 59.8% for CK, 10 more TDs, QBR thats 10 points higher. Kaepernick is absolute trash compared to Jimmy G. I’m beginning to think you post parody comments just for a reaction.

          1. What a bunch of BS. Anyone with eyes could see Colin is the best QB we have had since the 90’s.

            JG10 is a loser just like AS11 was a loser. And anyone who thinks Shanahan is as good as Harbaugh needs there head examined.

            1. Here’s the reality:
              Kyle Shanahan > Jim Harbaugh

              49er QBs weighted rank in terms of talent & production over the past 25 years:

              1. Jimmy Garoppolo
              2. Jeff Garcia
              3. Alex Smith
              4A. Brock Purdy
              4B. Trey Lance
              5. Colin Kaepernick
              6. Everyone else

              1. lol what a joke. Colin is a toss up with Garcia for #1. I give Colin the edge because he had the potential to be the greatest we have ever seen. Irregardless they are both leaps and bounds better than Jimmy G on his best day. Jimmy G and A Smith are by far the two worst starting QB’ s to play for the 49ers this century.

              2. Well BA, lets agree to disagree. CK couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat. 59% career completion percentage is terrible.

                And “Irregardless” is not a word.

              3. Jimmy G and A Smith were pretty boys posing as QB ‘s. They got an opportunity because of there looks and nothing else. We wasted many years with loser AS11 and wasted many more with loser JG10.

              4. Ok, BA. You right. 49ers have “Good Looks” way too high in their talent evaluation criteria. They should put “Nice Hair”, and “Snappy Dresser” higher in their evaluation process and move “Good Looks” just under arm strength and football IQ. You are so right. I didn’t think of it that way. Thank you for opening my eyes to appropriate NFL QB evaluation techniques. preciate you.

              5. If it was looks alone I should have been the 9ers starting QB for the last 45 years or so. imho

    2. Bay, imo firing Shanahan would be like firing Harbaugh.
      But I’m willing to listen to suggestions about whom to replace him with.
      It has to be someone who is available. Pro or college. And it can’t be God .

      1. Everyone knows Harbaugh wants to come back to the NFL. He is definitely available. The Yorks chose to keep Baalke instead. If the Yorks had any sense they would reverse two huge mistakes and bring back not only Harbaugh but Colin too. Lance can’t stay healthy and Shanahan chokes or quits in big games. And that’s a fact.

        1. Bay,
          Nice to see you back. You and I go back to the days of Maiocco.

          When it comes to Harbaugh, I do recall his great seasons, but I also remember his downward trejectory before being let go. Harbaugh often bumped heads with the FO, and even wasn’t willing to change his khaki pants when he appeared with the 49ers brass at the opening of Levi’s Stadium. Big deal? Maybe not to us, but I’m pretty sure that the FO wasn’t to happy about that.

          But here’s the biggest reason why I doubt we ever see Harbaugh back is this. He still can’t win the BIG game. His winning the “big game” futility has been his Albatross as a head coach.
          The main objective for a head coach is winning a SB or a National Championship. He has done neither.

      2. Harbaugh, Flores, Bienemy, Quinn, Callahan, Martindale, Leftwich, Bisaccia, Frazier, Caldwell, Monken, the list goes on and on. Is that enough for you? Shanahan is a quitter and a choker and we have plenty of evidence to back that up.

        1. Well, you’ve given me quite a few names, which I appreciate, and to be frank, I don’t know these people well enough to visualize them as quality head coaches, although I know that a few of them were head coaches and aren’t any more.

          This would be the subject of a good discussion on this blog, though, and I hope one or more people will comment so we can get something going.

          Btw, I don’t think Shanahan is a quitter, as you call him. I think he’s made of stern stuff. As for choking, if you mean he sometimes makes unusual decisions while under pressure, I would agree with that. I would throw in that he got Lance injured twice on foolish runs.

      1. I quit being a niners fan when the Yorks released Colin and I quit again when Shanahan quit in the championship game. If they bring back another year of Jimmy G then the Yorks can keep there season tickets, I will be done with this loser franchise forever.

        You are the joke Felix. Another Smither I am sure.

        1. I woke up this morning and some how was transported back to 2013. I thought I retired in 2021 but I guess I better get ready for work. We should be hearing from Sebnynah next.

  10. To call the 49er franchise a joke is absurd. Reaching the NFC title game in three of four years is something about 30 other teams would be delighted with. If Kaepernick was the answer he wouldn’t be unemployed. GMs in the league will not introduce a cancer agent into an otherwise healthy organism. Pretty simple and telling. With the poaching of 49er coaches every year it is pretty compelling evidence that Lynch and Shannahan have the ability to hire good people. Having held season tickets for 50 years I remember the Joe Thomas and Les Steckle years too well. The current 49 franchise is generally fairly highly regarded.

  11. If Anthony Lynn gets hired as the Commanders OC, do the 49ers receive comp picks for the development of minority coaches? I think Lynn is technically an assistant head coach with the 49ers so I’m not sure an OC job is a promotion or not.

    1. 1.9,
      It could become an opportunity for Lynn to become the head coach if Ron Rivera gets fired during next season. I don’t see that possibility happening here with Shanahan.
      I view Rivera as an “on the fence” coach.

      1. AES, I think that entirely misses the point and doesn’t at all address the question. 49ers will receive compensatory picks because DeMeco Ryans earned a promotion from defensive coordinator to head coach. The 49ers receive compensation because they developed a minority coach who earned a promotion. If Anthony Lynn is hired by the Commanders as their Offensive Coordinator this offseason, do the 49ers receive a compensatory pick in this April’s draft for developing a minority coach? Has nothing to do with Ron Rivera or Kyle Shanahan.

      2. “I think Lynn is technically an assistant head coach with the 49ers so I’m not sure an OC job is a promotion or not.”

        You didn’t specify a main point in your comment.
        I’m not sure about the compensatory picks, but I was adressing the 2nd part of your above comment.

          1. I noted that I didn’t know the answer to the first part of your comment.

            If the second part of your post was insignificant, perhaps you shouldn’t have posted it. And while we’re here. Irregardless is a word, 😉

    2. Pat,
      I may be wrong but I seem to remember something about the coach having to be with the team a minimum of 2 years.

      1. That would make sense. Would be hard to claim you were developing coaches if the coach was only with you for 1 year.

  12. K.S. in his presser today pretty much said there is absolutely no way Jimmy G will be back. So goodbye to a great guy and a good football player.

  13. No list of dreadful Niner coaches is complete without the mention of one Fred O’Connor, set a very low bar.

      1. Agree, Coach.
        We are far removed from the dark ages which introduced us to the “dumpster fire” term.

        We have a great team at the moment that might have been only two healthy QBs away from another SB appearance.
        I’m extremely happy that the 49ers aren’t a bottom-feeder organization.

Comments are closed.