The Eagles needed 79 yards in just over 75 seconds Sunday afternoon to complete their fourth consecutive comeback.
But instead of leading his team down the field again, like he had repeatedly in the first three games of the year, Nick Foles’ final pass found the hands of 49ers defensive back Perrish Cox, setting the Birds back to 3-1 after their worst offensive performance in more than a year.
Philadelphia was outplayed on offense, and despite spectacular special teams and defense early, there is only so much magic to be found in Chip Kelly’s playbook.
“I thought offensively we didn’t do anything,” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said, “but our special teams and defense did really well. To get four sacks on [Colin] Kaepernick, it just seemed like it was one of those days where our defense really did its job but they were on the field way too much.”
In the loss the Eagles failed to score an offensive touchdown, and were out gained 407-213. They also only possessed the ball for 17:43.
The Birds’ special teams struck first with Brad Smith returning a blocked kick for a score early in the first quarter, and then in the red zone, holding Kaepernick and the 49ers to a chip shot field goal.
When the second quarter began, Kaepernick showed his elusiveness on a 55-yard touchdown pass to Frank Gore than came on the heels of a scramble all over the backfield.
Than Malcom Jenkins was unleashed. The safety caught an easy interception from Kaepernick and returned the ball 53 yards for a touchdown, escaping several potential tacklers and getting several key blocks from offensive lineman en route to the end zone, giving the Eagles their second lead.
With the offense still yet to contribute points, Darren Sproles brought a big play of his own, taking a punt 82-yards to the house to give the Eagles an 11-point lead before the Niners responded with a field goal before halftime.
“When you score twice on special teams, statistically, usually you come out on top,” Kelly said.
Through three quarters, the Eagles offense had yet to run a play inside the 49ers 50 yard line and only possessed the ball for just over 11 minutes.
“There’s going to be days when one of the phases isn’t going well,” Kelly said, “and the other two can bail it out. We came close.”
After their best drive of the entire game, the Eagles faced a fourth and goal from the two yard line. Foles threw it away in the back of the end zone, causing a turnover on downs. An Eagles 3-and-out on defense set up the final drive.