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Spadaro: 6 takeaways from Sunday's loss to 49ers

Fletcher Cox
Fletcher Cox

After a promising start, the Eagles were taken down by the San Francisco 49ers, 42-19, on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field as the 49ers scored touchdowns on six straight possessions to take control of the game.

The Eagles fell to 10-2 for the season with a Sunday night game at Dallas next in this tough stretch of the 2023 schedule. Here are the takeaways from Sunday's loss …

1. Need touchdowns in the red zone

Philadelphia started promisingly offensively – 12 plays and 67 yards the first time it had the ball and 12 plays and 53 yards on the second possession – but in neither instance did the Eagles put the ball in the end zone. Instead of having a double-digit lead in the first quarter, the Eagles led 6-0, very much keeping the 49ers in the game.

"We couldn't finish those drives and they came back to bite us in the butt," left tackle Jordan Mailata said. "That's not our goal. Our goal is to score touchdowns and we didn't finish the job."

The Eagles had scored touchdowns on 12 straight red zone possessions, dating back to the Washington game, before Sunday.

2. Minus a running game, every offense struggles

This is generally the case and it certainly was on Sunday. Quarterback Jalen Hurts ran 7 times and gained 20 yards to lead the running game, one that produced 46 yards. San Francisco did an excellent job filling the run lanes and tackling D'Andre Swift (6 carries, 13 yards) and forcing the offense into a one-dimensional approach.

3. This is a classic reason why teams defer on the coin toss

The 49ers led 7-6 when they took possession of the football with 4 minutes, 37 seconds remaining in the first half. They proceeded to drive 90 yards on 10 plays and scored on a Christian McCaffrey run and the extra point put them ahead 14-6 with 38 seconds left in the half. The Eagles didn't have time to get anything going offensively with zero timeouts remaining in the half.

Then, San Francisco moved 75 yards on 7 plays to open the second half and scored another touchdown on a Deebo Samuel 12-yard touchdown run and, after the PAT, the 49ers went ahead 21-6 and the entire complexion of the game tilted in the 49ers' favor.

4. The Eagles looked gassed on defense

Ninety-five snaps last week. A third game in 13 days. A 49ers team that had 10 days since its last game. All of that added up – no excuses, just facts – to an Eagles defense that just ran out of steam. Missing linebacker Zach Cunningham, out with a hamstring injury, the Eagles were short at linebacker and the defense collectively missed a lot of tackles and saw the 49ers take short Brock Purdy passes and turn them into long gains. He averaged nearly 11 yards per pass attempt and threw four touchdown passes. San Francisco scored touchdowns on 6 straight possessions after 2 opening three-and-out series.

It's a clash of two of the NFC's top teams as the 10-1 Philadelphia Eagles host the 8-3 San Francisco 49ers in a rematch of the 2022 NFC Championship Game. It appears that these squads are on another playoff collision course with the Eagles leading the charge in the NFC East and the 49ers comfortably ahead in the NFC West. The Eagles could clinch a playoff spot for a third straight season with a win and some help.

5. Dallas Goedert will be a welcomed addition when he returns

The hope is that tight end Dallas Goedert comes back soon from his forearm injury because the Eagles could use his big-play ability and versatility. Wide receivers A.J. Brown (13 targets, 8 catches, 114 yards) and DeVonta Smith (11 targets, 9 catches, 96 yards, and a score) did their part, but the Eagles need more in the offense. Goedert is a huge catch-and-run threat, a good blocker and someone for whom the defense must account. Whenever he returns, it will be a help to this offense.

On a sidenote, good to see Quez Watkins catch 3 passes for 28 yards. He did a nice job as a third wide receiver option.

6. Remember this, the Eagles are 10-2 with a lot of football remaining

It always hurts to lose, but we've seen this movie before, right? The Eagles are going to regroup and come back and play a great game in Dallas. They're 10-2 with a one-game lead in the NFC and they are seasoned and understanding of the big picture. They all spoke after the game of staying together and fighting through this, because they've all been at this moment before.

It isn't going to be easy, not with two road games at Dallas and Seattle ahead, followed by two games against the Giants and one against an improved Arizona team. But the Eagles have a lot at stake, still have their sights on the No. 1 seed in the conference playoffs, and a very talented team and great coaching staff.

Rest up, flush this game, and recover: The Dallas Cowboys are next in Arlington, Texas.

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