By DJ Harding
After a long season for 2 teams full of injuries and wins and losses. This game would determine who will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. For the Philadelphia Eagles they were coming off a win versus the New York Giants and are the team with home field advantage with a Conference best 14-3 record. The San Francisco 49ers are coming in with 12 straight wins including the regular season which can be attributed to 2 players being Christian McCaffery and Brock Purdy. McCaffery came to the 49ers and played his first game on a short week which was a loss to the Chiefs but since then he hasn’t lost a game with the 49ers. Purdy, the rookie quarterback and current Cinderella story, has gone undefeated since jumping into the starting job after injuries to Trey Lance and Jimmy Garrapolo.
The Eagles got the ball first to open up the game with 2 big passes that led to a Miles Sanders rushing touchdown. Philadelphia would rely heavily on the ground game with more rushing yards than passing yards in the game. As they went on to have the most rushing touchdowns as a team all-time, passing the Frankford Yellow Jackets who had 38 rushing touchdowns in 1924.
The 49ers would have their first drive which would end in absolute horror as a Hassan Reddick fumble would end their drive early and also result in Brock Purdy being injured. Purdy became the 5th rookie quarterback to ever start a conference championship game. Had the potential to make some history by being the first rookie quarterback , the first 7th round pick quarterback, and the first 3rd string quarterback to start the Super Bowl. Unfortunately Purdy would be out for the rest of the first half which would kill all the momentum for the 49ers. Demeco Ryans would give the 49ers a chance as the Defensive Coordinator would hold the Eagles at 7 points through the entire 1st quarter. 4th String Quarterback Josh Johnson would replace Purdy and halfway through the second quarter use Christian McCaffery to tie the game up. McCaffery would have 2 catches along with a 23 yard rushing touchdown which would even the score. The Eagles would calculate a 14 play 75 yard drive that resulted in a touchdown.
The Eagles quick answer was another Miles Sanders rushing touchdown, his second of the game. The 49ers would receive the ball with 1 minute and 36 seconds left on the clock and the chance to get some points on the board to end the half. This drive would end in the Eagles getting another chance to score as Josh Johnson would fumble the ball on the Eagles 30 yard line. The Fumble was recovered by Hassan Reddick which gave him 1 fumble and 1 fumble recovery on the day. The Eagles would go back to their great ground game as Boston Scott would score the Eagles 3rd rushing touchdown of the game.
With a score of 21-7 at the half Josh Johnson would suffer an injury on that fumble in the final 2 minutes which would cause Brock Purdy to return. But it was too little too late as Jalen Hurts would add another rushing touchdown to the Eagles total and a Jake Elliott field goal would give the Eagles 31 when the game was over. The 49ers would unfortunately never score the rest of the game.
Putting an unfortunate end to the Cinderella story of Brock Purdy’s rookie season. Rookie Quarterbacks are now 0-5 in Conference Championship games. Jalen Hurts when asked how he feels post game said “We are going to the Super Bowl” then added “we put a lot of work into this opportunity and be here. This is a moment we want to enjoy as a team”. Enjoy it the Eagles should. But 2 weeks from now they will have the chance to etch their names in history as they will face the AFC Championship winner Kansas City Chiefs on February 12th in Super Bowl LVII (57).