It was a win that almost wasn't…again. In an eerily similar game to the Week 2 win in Detroit, the Eagles are thankful to leave San Francisco with a win after a late and ferocious 49ers rally. But at the end of the day, the Eagles are 3-2 and keep pace with Giants and Redskins in a tight NFC East.
Amid a game full of storylines, Kevin Kolb's first NFL road start and the gutsy performance by running back LeSean McCoy headline a thrilling Eagles victory. Kolb completed his first nine passes and finished 21 of 31 for 253 yards and a touchdown, compiling a quarterback rating of 103.3. Head coach Andy Reid praised Kolb after the game, telling reporters his quarterback looked poised in the pocket and ran the offense successfully.
"I think he did a pretty good job," Reid said. "We'll look at the tape and see. There are some things I think he could have done better, he'll tell you that. There are a couple of throws that he'd like to have back, but I thought all in all he managed the game well.
"He was accurate, there was no hesitation putting the ball in tight holes, and he did it with conviction. I thought he just stepped up and played like we know Kevin can play."
After starting the season opening game against Green Bay, and two early season games last year – all in Philadelphia – tonight was Kolb's first opportunity to start a game on the road. It was also Kolb's first primetime start since December of 2006, when he faced Southern Miss as the starting quarterback of the Houston Cougars. Kolb said after the game that while this was a new experience for him, all he was focused on was flying back East with a win.
"It was a lot different," Kolb said Sunday night. "It felt different all the way throughout the week. Especially coming over here (to San Francisco) two days early, we felt like we've been here for a week already. There were a lot of changes, but you have to get used to them. You have to get used to them in a hurry. But we were so focused on winning this football game, nothing else mattered."
Exhibiting that 'win at all cost' attitude was running back LeSean McCoy. After cracking a rib against Washington just last week, McCoy was back on the field and playing with a vengeance tonight in San Francisco. He carried the football 18 times for 92 yards and a touchdown, and had 138 yards from scrimmage in a gutsy performance by the second-year running back.
When all was said and done, McCoy left quite an impression on his head coach.
"McCoy, you have to give him credit man," Reid said postgame. "He's a tough kid. There was no doubt he was going to play. He practiced, and he went places that a lot of people won't go with a broken rib."
Despite one mental mistake late in the fourth quarter, McCoy continued his consistent and productive play on Sunday. It was the fifth time he surpassed 100 total yards from scrimmage in his career, and the first time he did so in consecutive weeks. In four of five games this season, McCoy has averaged more than 4.9 yards per carry. But after the game, McCoy said he was just happy to be on the field.
"This is a broken rib, it is what it is," McCoy said. "But at the same token you have to give a lot of credit to the training staff for getting me prepared, and also to the (offensive) linemen. I didn't take too many shots, and they did an excellent job opening up holes."
But this night wasn't all about the offense.
Sean McDermott's defense came up with five takeaways, and safety Quintin Mikell scored the first touchdown of his eight year career. They held All-Pro running back Frank Gore to 52 yards on 18 carries, or 2.9 yards per carry. And while they did give up some points late to a desperate 49ers offense, Reid said postgame that his defense played with the type of physicality that's required against a tough team on the road.
"The guys were relentless I thought," Reid said. "Not that they haven't been, I just think they were coming off the football and played relentless football. You're talking about one of the best runners in the National Football League, and they were able to do a pretty good job against him."
On the injury front, offensive tackle Jason Peters suffered a knee sprain and will have an MRI Monday morning. Defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley hyper-extended his elbow in the first quarter and did not return. Cornerback Dimitri Patterson suffered a low back strain (and notched an interception), and receiver DeSean Jackson had a knee strain but was able to get back in the game. As always, Andy Reid will update the injuries during Monday's press conference.
-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 1:43 a.m., October 11