Ten takeaways from 49ers’ 31-7 loss to Philadelphia

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) holds the ball as Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox (29) and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (91) try to bring him down during the second half of the NFC Championship NFL football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The San Francisco 49ers season came to an end on Sunday with a 31-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

Here are my ten takeaways from the loss:

1.) Throw the challenge flag! Kyle Shanahan said postgame that he was going to challenge the 29-yard catch by DeVonta Smith, which allowed Philadelphia to convert on fourth and three, but he didn’t see an angle to overturn the play.

If in doubt, throw the flag and live with the loss of a timeout.

2.) Who thought it would be a good idea to use Tyler Kroft to block Hassan Reddick?

The backup tight end was beat twice for sacks in the first eight plays of the game. The first sack basically ended any chance the 49ers had at winning.

3.) Brock Purdy hit his first two passes. On the third he was hit by Reddick while throwing, injuring his elbow. He returned to the game in the third quarter, but it was clear he could not throw the ball.

4.) Christian McCaffrey is amazing. He ran over and through the Eagles’ defense for the only 49ers’ score of the game.

5.) San Francisco couldn’t get away from beating themselves. After tying the game at seven, the 49ers’ defense gave Philadelphia three first downs by penalty leading to an Eagles touchdown.

6.) Instead of sitting on the ball and going into the half down by seven, Kyle Shanahan decided to go for it. On the second play Josh Johnson dropped the snap. Philadelphia recovered the fumble and quickly scored to take a 14 point lead into halftime.

Conservative Kyle would have been the better choice there, considering they were down to a quarterback who joined the team midway through the season.

7.) The 49ers were undisciplined today, especially on defense, where they gave the Eagles six free first downs on penalties. Jordan Mason added another when he ran into the punter in the third quarter.

8.) Philadelphia’s pass rush was as dominant as expected. They hit Purdy and Johnson seven times on just 18 49ers pass attempts.

9.) If the 49ers had a quarterback, this game would have been much closer. There’s no way of telling how it would have played out, but it was clear the 49ers weren’t 24 points worse than the Eagles.

San Francisco played the final 26:49 without a quarterback who could throw the ball. They had no chance once Josh Johnson was lost due to a concussion.

10.) Philadelphia is a fantastic place to watch a football game. Their fans are loud and passionate, but based on my experience, they are not the hooligans they are portrayed as.

This article has 47 Comments

  1. Jack, It’s hard to win a game of chess when your Queen is taken away from you 10 minutes into the game. If Purdy had not got hurt, I can’t say they would have won, but I’ll take my chances. Mark the 5th game of next year’s season on the calendar. If Purdy recovers fully, that will tell us who the better team is. Jalen Hurts didn’t look all that, given the pressure he was under. Should be an interesting game next year.

    1. Yesterday was a total nightmare. Everything went wrong and Kyle look flummoxed. All we can do now is wait to hear how badly Brock was hurt. Johnson is a practice squad drifter through 13 teams. 36 years old and done even as a practice guy. Need to improve this team greatly in the off-season. And we gave p way too much for an untested QB playing in a weak division of football. Terrible decision by Management and we will continue to be hurt by it this year.

  2. (1) Couldn’t agree more
    (10) Couldn’t disagree more
    The 49ers are a team who has a HC who is an “offensive genius” but has to rely on a defensive genius (and GM) to win.
    Kyle will never be an effective HC until he learns to teach and delegate the offense to a subordinate. His personal handling of the offense detracts from his overall duties as HC. Only an OC who over estimates his abilities could possibly think that Josh Johnson could be a viable backup QB. Norv Turner v2. Brock Purdy succeeded by accident because he was the first QB that Kyle accidentally found who could buy time for the deficient pass protection that his players and schemes produce (See Takeaway (2) and review Atlanta’s loss to the Pats…. I could go on.) My $.02 FWIW

  3. I have to say on that pass to Smith in the first QB that even on the broadcast they took awhile to find the right replay. Not sure what people at the stadium saw, but Philly was smart to get up to the line and snap the ball so fast to not allow a challenge. Was Shanahan supposed to just challenge the play based on a feeling because they ran up fast like that? I will continue to criticize Shanahan when I feel like it, but not sure this one was on him.

    In fact, I will never believe in Kyle’s ability to win the big one until (if) he ever actually does it. The previous times in last year and 2019 it was a late choke job. Today it was a game plan that went right into the teeth of the Philly defense. Tyler Croft on Reddick?!!? Just reckless. Even when Johnson came in it was still kind of pass happy. We should have been pounding Philly with the one-two punch of CMC and Mason, but Shanahan somehow thought aggressively attacking the #1 pass defense was the way to go instead of softening it up first with some power running.

    Onto the draft and free agency now. Just please escort Kyle out of the draft room during the 3rd round. The man has just been embarrassing with this picks the last couple of years.

    1. I think the right call there is to just blow your timeout and take a look at it. In fact he went into halftime pocketing all three time outs. What was he saving them for if not a challenge?

      Then right before the half instead of attempting to run out the clock he decides to instill all his confidence in a quarterback that looked like a deer in the headlights. You can still go into halftime down just one score, but no he wants to all of a sudden let it rip with Josh Johnson. Keep in mind this is the same coach who never had confidence in Jimmy or Trey. But sure, Josh Johnson will protect the ball?

      He probably should’ve played this game like he did against Green Bay last year. Play it close and hope for a big play from special teams or defense. Certainly seems like it would make more sense than having Josh pretend to play quarterback out there.

  4. Kyle Shanahan is the Dusty Baker of football.

    He’ll eventually get his, but not before a long string of unfortunate events and equally bad decisions along the way.

  5. To the haters, detractors, and naysayers who ridiculed and reviled me and my prescient views, I say but one thing, I told you so.

    1. Not throwing the flag there when clearly the Eagles where trying to hurry up and snap the ball should have been enough reason to challenge the damn play!
      Changed the whole game!

      1. Game lost when Shanahan and Lynch let the accused abuser get on the plane. Why bring bad luck with you. Doesn’t Shanahan have people in the booth to tell him pass was incomplete? Game plan puts Tyler Croft blocking Reddick? Bad plan. Why wasn’t Jimmy G activated? Ask Kyle.

  6. 4th down “apparent” completion on the opponents 1st drive and you see the opposing offense rushing to snap the next play and you did not throw the callenge flag? It was 4th down and not 2nd or 3rd down! That was a huge play to start the game to save 1 timeout! Imagine the trajectory of the entire game had he challenged that?!

    1. But if he did that he wouldn’t be able to keep all three time outs in his pocket heading into the locker room at the half!

      Did you think about that?

      🤔 🤦🏻‍♂️ 😝


  7. WOW,
    The negativity is drowning the blog. #1 If Brock doesn’t go down maybe we win the game. The game was over when Brock went down.
    #2 I know he is a favorite of most of us but I think Kittle was supposed to get over and help on Reddick on the play Purdy went down,
    #3 I don’t know who thinks the 49ers could have come up with a better 4th string QB after the 8th game of the season.
    #4 If the official had made the correct call on Smith’s catch in the first place maybe it changes the game.
    #5 If our 4th string QB doesn’t fumble a good snap with 1:29 left in the half maybe its a closer game.
    Back to #1 once Purdy got injured the game was over. Everything that happened after that was just filling time until the inevitable. It was one hell of a season. All I ask is keep me entertained into the playoffs. GO NINERS

    1. OC, Josh should have NEVER been the backup QB for a SB team!
      I knew he wasn’t good, didn’t know he was that bad.

        1. Besides Cam Newton there were plenty of QBs availble that would do better than JJ.
          No quality team makes their QB the weakest link.
          Josh used 10 years to prove that he doesn’t belong in the NFL. I think he was cheap and we got what we paid for!

    2. OC, it was one of the more exciting seasons but with a huge letdown.
      If we got beat by a better team, I’d feel OK about the game.
      We beat ourselves and if it wasn’t for Purdy going down we would have won this game!

      1. Purdy never ready for prime time. Little pressure and he panics, Hope the 49er keep him! haha. Lot’s of wining but 49 O and D soundly beat.

        1. They need to take a look at restricting how much a defender can touch the arm of a quarterback because it seems their throwing arm was targeted on both QBs

      2. Dee,
        I would have disagreed with you before the game but after watching Phil today I have to agree.

    3. “I don’t know who thinks the 49ers could have come up with a better 4th string QB after the 8th game of the season.”

      OC – I don’t know how the 49ers could have up with a worse 4th string QB at that time. Bruce Arians brought in a guy for a Cardinals playoff game who was working as a stock broker (or something like that) and he did better. Come on man. Johnson couldn’t get out of his own way!

      1. Whine,
        I agree Johnson was bad but has there ever been a team that won their conference championship with their #4 QB. As I said earlier the game was over when Purdy got hurt everything after that was just time filler

        1. OC,
          That is exactly the problem, they looked at JJ as their 4th QB!
          They should have looked for a #2 guy!

  8. The loss is clearly on KS shoulders. After losing his starting QB twice, he had very good replacements. For him to settle on Josh J is preposterous after seeing how easyly a QB is hurt. Josh is a miserable QB who doesn’t belong in the NFL. KS had 6 weeks to find another QB.
    We’ll never know but if KS had had balls he would have called on CK7 to be a backup. I’m sure we would have a better result.
    I was not impressed with Philly!

    1. Really?!?! Kaep has been out of the game for over half a decade. There is no way he is still a football player. Stop with that fantasy. That crap is just as bad as the “Jimmy is the reason this team wins” fantasy. I do however agree that Johnson needs to be done and Kyle should have done better in finding a backup.

  9. 1. It had to be obvious to anyone who’s watched a football game that the Eagle receiver was frantically telling his team to hurry up because he DIDN’T catch the ball!!! Shanahan HAD to call a timeout there!! Come on. That missed opportunity was a game changer. Sorry. Niners take over the ball. Purdy doesn’t get hurt, at least on the play he did. I blame the upstairs crew also. Terrible missed call.
    2. Once Johnson was in the game, it was over. He hasn’t played in any game of significance since, well, ever? The only thing he should ever have in his hand during a game is a clipboard, certainly not a football.
    3. Am I crazy or did our player get pushed into the punter by an Eagles player? That’s what I saw. The penalty on Ward was ticky tack. How do you go an entire game without a holding call on Bosa? Pretty hard to believe.
    4. Agree, once Brock went down, the game was over and whatever transpired after he left is talk show fodder.
    5. Interesting thought. How many Championship Games have the Niners lost with a chance to go to the Super Bowl? It’s amazing really. 1970, 1971, 1983, 1990, 1997, 2011, 2013, 2021, 2022. I think I got them all. 9 times. Staggering. We could have played in 16 Super Bowls! I’ve lived thru them all, including being at a few. (Season tix holder 1972-2013). Personally been to 6 Bowls. 5-1 record. Oh what could have been.
    6. That’s the bad news. The good news is we could be Detroit or Cleveland, or one of those other lousy organizations. We’ve won 5, played in 7, and it looks like we’ll be in the mix again next year. We should all be happy and proud, and of course sad for today’s performance.
    4. Jack, stay home next time, would ya?

      1. You sound reasonable but moaning over could of;would ofs is an exercise in futillity. You hang on to losses for years apparently.
        It wasn’t their day..plain and simple.
        Bad Karma; the Gods favored Philly;bad juju ??? all the same.
        Just look how many things were out of whack in the game…punt hitting tv wire;no normal instant replay on when they gave Phiily reciver a first down on opening drive;’ ,ten yd markers needing to be replaced; refs lost sight of what down it was; blown call hitting punter 2 Qbs getting knocked out of the game; Bosa being submarined by a teammte on a return
        Great season overall considering the drama around the team.

    1. Niners are now 7-10 in the championship games. They are #1 in losses.

      0-6 in trying to win a championship in the last 12 years alone. This is why so many of us just have no tolerance for the excuses anymore.

        1. Yep, your right! I had to look it up! I missed ’92 and ’93 against Dallas. Those were extra ugly loses. No surprise I put those out of my mind, The “How ’bout them Cowboys” loses. Ugh! 7-11 is correct. Double ugh! :-(

      1. Gojira, I figured I missed at least one off the top of my head. What year did I miss? Yea, they’ve had some bad luck in some of those games (The Craig fumble in ’90, the punt that hit the leg in ’11, getting hosed by the refs in’83 just to name a few). It is frustrating, but can you imagine being a Lions fan? They haven’t been in a Championship Game since the Truman administration! lol
        That’s the way I look at it anyway, but I certainly get it.

  10. Kittle should have been over there to chip the guy and then go downfield, but Shanahan put Tyler Kroft over there…not smart. That’s McGlinchey’s side who is useless against speed rushers. He’s good in the run game but tooled all the time in passing situations. Shanahan should know that. They need a right tackle next year, so they can man up against speed rushers. And for all the talk out there about bringing in another QB next year that is crap unless Purdy has some career ending injury. My guess is no but he may need surgery. I remember Montana having elbow issues and came back and won 2 more SBs. Purdy is the first QB they’ve had since Garcia who has: Field vision, pocket presence, can move his feet, throws with great accuracy, touch on the ball, clock management etc. Jimmy G, Kap, even good guy Alex Smith did not have all those intangible qualities. Some but not the whole package. His weakness is he can only get a ball downfield 45 yards. But that’s good enough if you are accurate. Montana didn’t have a strong arm and we know how that worked out. Stay tuned for next year’s Philadelphia rematch, game 5 regular season.

    1. I have said all year that the OL would be the downfall. Niners need a RT and RG too plus a LT in training as Trent Williams is not getting any younger. Patch those 2 holes and the team will be just fine,

  11. Apparently, the NFL uses Hawk-eye now too (Like Tennis) that the refs can use to review questionable calls immediately. I heard this on the 49’ers postgame show. Why that didn’t catch the dropped ball who knows.

  12. The right side of the offensive line stinks. McGlinchey was flagged for holding and/or a false start almost every game. When your O lone can’t protect the quarterback your QB gets knocked out of the game. Maybe Sf can draft a replacement for McGlinchey in the first round next year, oh yeah we don’t have a first rounder because we traded it away to get Trey Lance. 3 first round picks on a kid that played 1 year of college football at that juggernaut North Dakota state. Pathetic.

  13. You don’t need a first rounder to draft a good tackle. Their scouting group that is responsible for rounds 4-7 have done pretty well. Shanahan and Lynch are responsible for 1-3 and you can go thru the roster and previous drafts and see who knows what they’re doing. Trey Lance ….3 first rounders? Really. I laughed when that happened. Or maybe you spend some money and try and get a younger established tackle that doesn’t bent over backwards like McGlinchey. Last week he got thrown to the ground by a 240lb linebacker.

  14. Hammer..you write like someone under the influence. Complimenting Philly fans was the obvious marker as to your state of mind. I guess you forgot they were up from the opening bell and never looked back. Check back with them someday in mid December when they are getting pummeled by the Cowgirls and it 10 degrees out.
    Second guessing is always the cornerstone of writers (hacks) who have never played sports and have been taking their vitriol out on real pros since . The thought of having to interview a 22 yr old multi millionaire in a smelly lockerroom after the game galls them . Is that you perchance?
    Next time you have insights (sic) keep them for your true calling (bathroom stalls graffiti.)
    Have a nice day

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