- San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles: NFC’s fierce new rivalry fueled by trash talk
The 8-3 San Francisco 49ers travel to the 10-1 Philadelphia Eagles in a repeat of last year’s NFC Championship game when Philadelphia won 31-7 after 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy suffered an elbow injury; watch live on Sunday at 9.25pm on Sky Sports NFL
It was a lot of boo hoos last year, a lot of crying, a lot of what if, a lot of this, a lot of that. They get a chance to come back in here, line that s*** up and prove it again.”
Those were the words of Philadelphia Eagles pass rusher Haason Reddick this week as he looked ahead to the visit of the San Francisco 49ers to Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday – the next chapter in a fierce new NFC rivalry.
It made sense that the Niners were upset after departing last year’s playoffs at the hands of the Eagles, considering the manner in which it happened.
After just four passing attempts (and four completions), San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy was sacked by Reddick, who forced a fumble and in the process injured Purdy’s elbow to the point he was unable to throw the ball.
Later, backup QB Josh Johnson also exited with a concussion, and a traditionally exhilarating 49ers attack became completely inept.
Wide receiver Deebo Samuel said: “We lost because we played with 10 people” after the defeat that ended the Niners’ Super Bowl hopes, before publicly calling Eagles cornerback James Bradberry “trash” over the summer.
At the same time, fellow wideout Brandon Aiyuk argued: “We have, hands down, the best football team in the league… hands down.”
Those comments have stayed in the minds of players, coaches and fans ahead of one of the most exciting matchups of the year.
Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick forced a fumble on San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy early in last year’s matchup – and hurt the QB in the process
In the above quote, Aiyuk was referring to the way the 49ers reached that championship game. They were on a 12-game winning streak. They were fifth in offensive yardage and points scored, as well as first in both categories on defense.
Then the season fizzled out without a fight – or at least, an opportunity for one.
As we approach the ‘business end’ of this regular season, does it feel like San Francisco’s time again?
Based solely on the statistics, this year’s iteration of the Niners might be even better. Third in yards and fourth in points per game on offense. Fifth in yards and first in points on defense, allowing just 15.5 points per game (16.3 last season).
Christian McCaffrey is still the star of the show, and the league’s runaway rushing leader with 939 yards – over 150 more than second-placed Raheem Mostert. McCaffrey’s 1,328 yards from scrimmage are second only to Tyreek Hill, and his 16 total touchdowns are more than anyone.