Week 2 Game Recap: San Francisco 49ers 3, Philadelphia Eagles 42
What you need to know
The 49ers’ opening day success was short-lived, as they were beaten soundly in all phases of this game by a superior Philadelphia Eagles team. Tim Rattay was blitzed from all angles by an aggressive pass defense, and was unable to mount any sort of significant scoring drive for his team. Rattay finished the afternoon with forgettable numbers, completing just 13 of his 26 attempts for 107 yards, no touchdowns, and three interceptions.
No 49ers’ receiver was able to distinguish himself against the Eagles stingy secondary. Arnaz Battle and Brandon Lloyd were each targeted seven times, but only managed a combined seven catches for 61 yards. Lloyd did make a highlight reel one-handed catch on a ball thrown behind him on a crossing route, but he failed to make a first down on the play.
In the running game, Kevan Barlow received the bulk of the touches, although he managed only 34 rushing yards with no touchdowns. Rookie running back Frank Gore had just four carries on the afternoon, despite Barlow’s struggles. Notably, the 49ers’ did not abandon the run despite playing from behind for the entire game. The 49ers’ low number of rushing attempts (17) was primarily a result of their inability to make first downs and sustain drives.
On the defensive side of the ball, the 49ers struggled to keep the Eagles’ many offensive weapons in check. In total, they gave up five touchdowns and 598 total yards of offense. On a positive note, they recovered a Donovan McNabb fumble and tallied two sacks on the day.
Eager to get back on track following last week’s Monday night loss against the Atlanta Falcons, the Philadelphia Eagles came out firing on all cylinders against the 49ers. Donovan McNabb quickly put to rest any concerns that his bruised sternum would limit his ability to throw when he connected with Terrell Owens for a 68 yard touchdown pass on the Eagles’ third play of the game. He threw for five total touchdowns in the game, with four of them coming in the first half.
Terrell Owens had a banner game against his former team, finishing the day with two touchdowns and 143 total yards on five catches. At the tight end position, L.J. Smith enjoyed his best day as a professional, pulling in a game-high nine catches for 119 yards and a touchdown. Greg Lewis also got in on the action when he pulled in a six yard pass from McNabb and dove over the goal line.
Brian Westbrook was effective in the game as both a rusher and a receiver. He rushed for 89 yards on the ground on 15 carries, gaining large chunks of yardage on several runs to the outside. Westbrook’s touchdown came on a two yard touchdown pass from McNabb on the first play following a Lito Sheppard interception return. Lamar Gordon saw his first significant action as an Eagle, much of it late in the game. He carried the ball 12 times for 40 yards and a touchdown.
With the game well in hand in the second half, many of the Eagles’ starters, including McNabb, Westbrook, and Owens, sat out the fourth quarter.
Eagles' reserve linebacker connected on his lone extra point attempt of the game when Akers left the game briefly with a hamstring injury.
What you ought to know
Rattay struggled mightily in this game. An aggressive Eagles’ pass rush left him scrambling, while downfield he was unable to find open receivers against the Eagles’ secondary. When he did have open receivers, Rattay seemed to be badly off the mark with his passes. He finished the day with just 107 passing yards and three interceptions. Overall, it is difficult to say anything positive about Rattay’s performance.
|QB Alex Smith, Pass: 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0|
Number one draft pick Alex Smith made his NFL regular season debut when he came into the game with four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and his team trailing 42-3. Smith threw just one pass, which went for an incompletion.
|RB Kevan Barlow, Rush: 10 - 34 - 0, Rec: 3 - 31 - 0 (5 targets)|
Barlow started the game at running back for the 49ers and put up pedestrian numbers. He struggled to find openings against the Eagles’ run defense, although he did break free for a 14 yard scamper up the middle on the 49ers’ second series. Barlow was also targeted 5 times out of the backfield, and managed 31 yards as a receiver. It’s worth noting that despite his struggles in the run game, 49ers’ coach Mike Nolan did not abandon the run. Rather, Barlow’s low number of carries are a result of his team’s inability to move the chains and maintain possession of the football.
Rookie running back Frank Gore carried the ball four times in relief of Kevan Barlow for a total of 15 yards. His lone target of the game was on a deep downfield pass that was badly under thrown by Rattay, and resulted in a Philadelphia interception.
|WR Arnaz Battle, Rush: 2 - 6 - 0, Rec: 4 - 44 - 0 (7 targets)|
Battle led all 49ers’ receivers with 44 yards on four catches. His long play of the game was a 17 yard pick-up on which he broke several tackles on the way to a nice gain. Battle also had two touches in the running game, but neither play amounted to much in the way of yardage.
Lloyd had a quiet afternoon, catching only three passes for 31 yards. Lloyd did make one of his trademark circus catches – a one-handed grab on a Rattay pass that was thrown behind him. Lloyd also was the intended target on Rattay’s third interception, a badly thrown pass that caused Lloyd to slip while trying to reach back for the ball.
Morton was a non-factor in the game, with just one catch for four yards,
Bajema got the start in place of the injured Eric Johnson, but failed to distinguish himself as a threat in the passing game.
Nedney converted his lone 32 yard field goal attempt.
The 49ers’ rush defense played reasonably well early in the contest, but allowed a number of long runs to Eagles’ rushers as the game wore on. In total, the 49ers yielded 140 yards to the Eagles’ rushing attack. The 49ers allowed one rushing touchdown.
The 49ers’ pass defense was horrific. Up front, the pass rush had difficulty mounting any sort of pressure against McNabb. Downfield, the Eagles’ receivers had a field day against the San Francisco secondary. The 49ers allowed 458 passing yards and five passing touchdowns in the air. On the bright side, they notched two sacks and forced a McNabb fumble.
McNabb took advantage of good protection afforded him by his offensive line, and sliced up the 49ers’ secondary for 342 passing yards and five touchdowns. His completion percentage was a gaudy 79 percent. McNabb answered any questions about his ability to throw effectively with a bruised sternum early in the game, when he connected with Owens for a 68 yard touchdown on the Eagles’ third offensive play of the game. His third touchdown pass of the day, also to Owens, was perhaps his prettiest throw of the afternoon. Despite double coverage by the 49ers, McNabb dropped a perfect pass over Owens’ shoulder, hitting him in stride. McNabb’s fumble occurred in the red zone when he was running to his left and trying to switch the ball to his outside hand. McNabb was pulled early in the fourth quarter with the game well in hand.
Detmer came into the game in relief of Donovan McNabb in the fourth quarter. To add insult to the 49ers, he played flawlessly. Detmer led the team on a 90 yard drive, taking more than ten minutes off the game clock. He was nine for nine passing for 94 yards. The drive was capped off by a Lamar Gordon touchdown run.
|QB Mike McMahon, Pass: 1 - 1 - 22 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0|
McMahon came into the game for the Eagles’ final offensive series late in the fourth quarter. The former Detroit Lion connected for 22 yards on his lone pass attempt.
Westbrook was used more as a running back than a receiving back in this game. Early on, he found little running room against the 49ers’ run defense, but Eagles’ coach Andy Reid seemed committed to establishing the run game. Westbrook eventually was able to break free for several big runs, including a long run of 31 yards on a stretch play to the right. Westbrook made the most of his three targets in the passing game, catching all three balls for 31 total yards. His touchdown came on a two yard pass from Donovan McNabb.
|RB Lamar Gordon, Rush: 12 - 40 - 1, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (1 targets)|
Gordon saw his fist significant action as an Eagle, as he carried the ball 12 times for 40 yards. Although the bulk of Gordon’s carries came late in the game with Westbrook on the sideline, Gordon was used as a change of pace back occasionally throughout the game. His first carry came with 4 minutes remaining in the first quarter, a play on which he picked up 11 yards. His first touchdown as an Eagle came on a six yard run between the tackles.
Parry was the only fullback active for the Eagles. Two of his three catches came late in the game with the outcome decided.
|RB Reno Mahe, Rush: 2 - 12 - 0, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (1 targets)|
Mahe saw limited action late in the game.
Terrell Owens had a great game. Owens had 143 total yards on the day with two touchdowns. His first touchdown came on the third play of the game, when Owens caught the ball on a crossing pattern and turned up field. His second touchdown came on a deep sideline route on a pass that was thrown perfectly over his shoulder. One play of interest occurred on Owens’ second catch of the game, a 20 yard completion on which Owens was absolutely drilled coming across the middle by Mike Rumph. Owens’ head snapped back on the play, but he held onto the ball and popped right up. A flag was thrown, but ultimately was picked up after the officials decided that Owens had established himself as a runner and was not “defenseless.” On a side note, Owens did little in the way of choreographed celebration after his two touchdowns and instead just set the ball down at the goal line.
Lewis is emerging as one of McNabb’s favorite deep targets. Lewis caught four of the seven balls thrown his way for 39 yards and a touchdown. The three passes that Lewis did not catch were all deep throws over the top. One was overthrown badly, and two were knocked away by defensive backs. Lewis’s touchdown catch came on a six yard pass from McNabb on which he made a nice leaping grab before diving across the goal line.
Rookie receiver Brown is continuing to find his way into the Eagles’ offense. He pulled in a big 27 yard reception over the middle of the field to sustain an Eagles’ drive early in the third quarter.
McMullen’s lone catch of the day was thrown by Koy Detmer late in the game.
Smith had perhaps his finest game as a pro against the 49ers. Targeted a game-high nine times, McNabb looked toward Smith early and often. He made an athletic play on a 22 yard pass in the first quarter, when he was just able to drag his feet before falling out of bounds. Smith scored a touchdown on the next play, when he found himself wide open for a six yard pass from McNabb in the front of the end zone. He finished with 119 receiving yards.
Akers continued to struggle, missing his only field goal attempt of the afternoon – a 43 yard try that hit the left upright. Of greater concern was an apparent hamstring injury, which forced Akers to leave the game during the second quarter. Akers grabbed the back of his leg after a kick-off in the second quarter. After staying on the sidelines for one Eagles’ extra point attempt and one kick-off, Akers returned to the game to resume his kicking duties. However, he was not called upon to attempt any additional field goals.
The Eagles’ rush defense held the 49ers’ rushing attack in check. Anchored by Jeremiah Trotter, who returned to the MLB position after his ejection before last week’s Monday night game, Philadelphia allowed just 58 total yards on the ground.
The Eagles’ pass defense had a strong performance. Eagles’ pass rushers were able to get good pressure on Rattay, forcing him to scramble frequently and affecting the accuracy on a number of his throws. Downfield, it appeared as if the 49ers’ receivers were well covered by the Philadelphia secondary. The Eagles intercepted Rattay three times, and also sacked him three times. Eagles’ cornerback Lito Sheppard just missed scoring a touchdown on an interception return when he was pushed out at the 49ers’ two yard line.