The Philadelphia Eagles beat the 49ers by staying true to themselves

Late in the fourth quarter in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game, the Jumbotron at Lincoln Financial Field ran down the Eagles’ Galen Hurts. At first, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback had a giant grin on his face. Then he caught himself. “One more time,” Hertz said to the camera, returning to his usual serious expression. The crowd erupted.

The Eagles beat the Sunday 49ers 31-7 and head to the Super Bowl to take on the Chiefs. The actual game itself was pointless, with the 49ers down due to quarterback injuries. Brock Purdy suffered an elbow injury on San Francisco’s first possession, and Josh Johnson suffered a concussion in the third quarter. For a brief period in the first half, it looked like the 49ers could still put up a fight, thanks to their solid defense and Christian McCaffrey’s rowdy performance in the second quarter. But takeaways on a defense beleaguered by a couple of Eagles hits gave the Eagles a 21-7 halftime lead, and they never looked back.

The ingredients that have contributed to the Eagles’ success all season were on display again: Hurts showed an understanding of exactly what the moment called for, Nick Siriani ran the game solidly and gave the Eagles the in-game decision-making advantage. The offense fizzled out and eventually found answers, and the defense took advantage of an inferior opponent.

It wasn’t the cleanest game for the Eagles, nor should it be. The Hurts threw for fewer than 121 yards for the season, but didn’t turn the ball over and had to be counted in the running game, especially in the second half, and the Eagles improved to 16-1 this season with him. Start.

After the match, Hurts joined his teammates to get a victory cigar in his locker. Smoke filled the room, and the players’ sentences were interrupted by coughing as they spoke to reporters. As Hurtz told the audience at Link in the fourth quarter, it wasn’t the last step, but it’s definitely worth celebrating.

Siriani walked to the defensive back, found cornerback Avonte Maddox and safety Marcus Epps, and gave them a hug. Sirianni has coached this game like he has coached every other game this season: without fear. On the Eagles’ first drive of the game, with the offense facing fourth and 3, Siriani went for it. The offense converted (thanks in part to the 49ers not challenging DeVonta Smith’s catch) and continued to score touchdowns. Later, with six minutes and 39 seconds left in the second quarter, the Eagles faced a fourth-and-one from their own 34. Siriani became aggressive again, keeping the offense on the field. Hurts converted on a QB sneak, and the Eagles ultimately ended that drive with a touchdown to take a 14-7 lead.

“I don’t know how Sirianni gets around with the collection of cojones he has, bro,” left winger Jordan Melata said after the game. “This is crazy. How’s a guy hanging around like that? Fourth place in a big playoff? Dude, kudos to him. But big people, that guy.”

Across the locker room from Melata stood Eagles owner Jeffrey Lowry, who has long been an advocate for incorporating analytics into in-game decision-making. He believes data can give vultures an edge. In Sirianni, he has found a trainer who is willing to be aggressive, even when the stakes are high.

“He’s awesome,” Lowry said of Siriani. “A lot of offseason is spent on all those situations, and he’s not surprised at what he needs to do. He knows exactly what he’s going to do, and he knows it before third so he can plan in third. It’s a huge advantage. But again, that’s not the type The thing you want to talk about the most.It’s the same with Doug [Pederson]. There are certain things that are built into our culture, and Nick is very bright. He’s comfortable being aggressive, and I think that’s the way it should be in the NFL today.”

When Laurie hired Siriani two years ago, he told him he was excited about the coach he could become. The message was clear: The Eagles weren’t expecting Sirianni to be a finished product. They were ready to ride with a trainer who could develop into the job. But now, in his second season, Ciriani has the Eagles in the Super Bowl, earlier than anyone would have expected.

The truth is, NFL organizations don’t always know when their league windows open and close, and understandably so. There is a lot of randomness. You make decisions that give your team a chance and hope you get lucky. This happened to the Eagles this season. They had all 22 of their regular starting players healthy and available on Sunday against a Niners team whose quarterback depth was severely tested.

Outside of Hurts, there was probably no more important eagle on Sunday than Haason Reddick. General Manager Howie Roseman, architect of one of the NFL’s most talented rosters of prospects, signed Reddick to free agency in the most recent offseason, following the organizational philosophy of investing in the offensive and defensive lines. Against the 49ers, Reddick forced a sack on the 49ers’ first offense, bringing his season total to 19.5 sacks in 19 games. Reddick did not make the playoffs during his first five years with Arizona and Carolina and is on his third different team in six NFL seasons. He is now one win away from a Super Bowl ring.

“I would say the most important thing I’ve been preaching is just, ‘Enjoy this opportunity.'” “Enjoy the moment,” Riddick said of his conversations with fellow youths. “Because it’s so rare. You don’t get these very often.”

Offensively, this game was a grind for the Eagles. They opened the game with a downward drive and then a cold spell hit them. But as they have all season, they finally find answers. The Eagles finished with 25 first downs—the second-most by offense against a 49ers in a game this season.

Taking on the top-rated DeMeco Ryans defense proved to be a chess match, according to Mailata. The Eagles would return to the sidelines after each of their drives, communicate about what the 49ers were doing, and try to come up with solutions. The key, Mailata said, is to build on the message that offensive line coach and running game coordinator Jeff Stotland has been constantly preaching.

“How many plays can we have as we want?” Mailata asked. “Never make a play look bad.”

The Eagles used running options to achieve that goal, putting decision-making in the Hurts’ hands. Mailata described Stoutland as a “total mess” during the week. Stoutland was more strident than usual, yelling at players and calling them out in meetings. The Eagles knew they were up against a tough defense, and Stotland wanted to make sure the players were ready. But on the sidelines during Sunday’s game, Mailata saw a different man. Stoutland was calm and collected, focused on finding ways to help his players solve problems quickly.

“He comes in, he takes all the information, we change the script, we try to change the style we’re doing, we change the calls, man,” Melata said. “We have a hell of a coach, man. I don’t know what to say.”

The Eagles ended up running on all four of their touchdowns. Miles Sanders scored from 6 yards and 13 yards. Boston Scott added a 10-yard touchdown run. The Eagles could not count on explosive plays against the 49ers. Instead, they put together three drives of over 10 plays.

Early in the fourth quarter, the large screen in the stadium screened the crowd and showed a fan holding a homemade “We Talk” cactus sign, referring to the team’s next destination, Glendale, Arizona. Eagles fans were extraordinarily confident going into this match. They feel they know this team well, and the coach and quarterback have earned their trust. The supporting cast always seems to give them a chance.

Next is a trip to the desert to face the bosses. The challenge on defense will be different with Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes on the other side – not a combination of Josh Johnson and a significantly limited Brock Purdy. But the Eagles will go into that match with the same recipe they have used all season. They will rely on their line of attack to control the front of chiefs. They will rely on their rushing passes to get to Mahomes. They’ll go knowing the moment won’t be too big for Hurts. Siriani will call the game with a brave mentality.

If they check the same boxes they’ve checked 16 times in 19 matches, they stand a good chance of lifting Lombardi for the second time in five years.

“I know we’re not done yet, and the boys are still hungry,” said defensive end Brandon Graham. “As Galen said, we are starving. We are starving for it.”

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