NFL Game Summary - San Francisco at Philadelphia
(Sunday, December 20th)
Final Score: Philadelphia 27, San Francisco 13
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Donovan McNabb threw for 306 yards and a score, and Philadelphia forced four first-half turnovers to beat the 49ers, 27-13, and clinch a playoff berth -- the Eagles' eighth in the last 10 years.
McNabb completed 21-of-36 passes and was also picked off twice for the Eagles (10-4), who have won five straight games and have posted double-digit wins in seven contests this season. McNabb also had a rushing touchdown.
DeSean Jackson was again an offensive catalyst, catching six passes for 140 yards and a score. Jackson now has 1,087 yards on the season to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his brief two-year career. LeSean McCoy added 48 yards and a score on the ground, while Brent Celek had four catches for 73 yards in the victory.
"It's always good to clinch a spot early, but we're still going to keep our foot on the pedal," McNabb said. "I think rightfully so, because our first goal was obviously to put ourselves in position to get a bye and to win the NFC East, and we have a chance of doing that."
Frank Gore became the first running back to run for over 100 yards against the Eagles in 24 games, gaining 101 yards on 15 carries for the 49ers (6-8), who were officially eliminated from playoff contention with the loss.
Alex Smith threw for 177 yards and a touchdown on 20-of-37 throws but was intercepted three times -- all in the first half. Josh Morgan caught seven passes for 61 yards and a score in defeat.
"He played poorly," 49ers coach Mike Singletary said of Smith. "I think he knows that. He's capable of playing better than that. I don't have any questions about him going forward. Sometimes you try to make things happen when they're not happening and you force it."
This game was originally scheduled for a 1 p.m. (et) start, but a snowstorm that brought nearly two feet of snow pushed it back to 4:15 p.m. The Ravens- Bears game also underwent the same time change after Baltimore received a substantial amount of snow over the weekend.
Down 17 at halftime, the 49ers made a third quarter push.
On the opening drive of the second half, San Francisco used a good kick return to start at the Eagles' 43. On 4th-and-3 from the 36, Smith completed a 22- yard pass to Morgan, leading to a Joe Nedney 25-yard field goal and a 20-6 game five minutes into the quarter.
On Philadelphia's next play from scrimmage, McNabb floated a pass over the middle that was picked off by Dre' Bly, who raced back to the Eagles' 35. The 49ers faced another fourth down -- 4th-and-5 from the 30 -- but once again Smith converted, hitting Vernon Davis for a 15-yard completion up the middle. Two plays later, Smith hit Morgan for a 12-yard touchdown and a seven-point game.
San Francisco got into Philadelphia territory again on its next series but was forced to punt from the 41. The Eagles responded with an eight-play, 89-yard drive to go back in front by 14, 27-13, with 11:32 left.
On 3rd-and-2 from the Eagles' 19, McNabb hit a streaking Jackson down the right sideline, and he raced 59 yards to the 22. The team ran on four of the next five plays, and McCoy was able to get into the end zone from two yards away to finish the drive.
The 49ers got the ball back on their own 13 with 7:35 to play and drove all the way down to the Eagles' 22 with a chance to cut their deficit in half. However, on 4th-and-7, Philadelphia's Trent Cole sacked Smith to end the series and San Francisco's hopes of a comeback.
Quintin Demps returned the opening kickoff to midfield for Philadelphia, which drove the rest of the way in five plays. Jackson capped off the march with a 19-yard touchdown reception for an early 7-0 lead.
San Francisco also had some success on its opening series but settled for a 51-yard field goal from Nedney to cut the deficit to four.
Late in the first quarter, the Eagles inexplicably elected to go for it on 4th-and-1 from their own 29-yard line. Leonard Weaver was stuffed on the rush attempt, handing the ball to the 49ers in prime field position.
San Francisco, though, squandered the opportunity, as Delanie Walker caught a short pass and fumbled the ball away on the first play of the second quarter. Sheldon Brown recovered for the Eagles, who proceeded to drive 94 yards in nine plays for a 14-3 lead.
The big play of the drive was a 43-yard catch-and-run by Celek to the 49ers' 33, and McNabb scrambled for an eight-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-7 just past the five-minute mark of the quarter.
On the next SF possession, Smith threw one of his three first-half interceptions, leading to a 22-yard field goal by David Akers for a 17-3 lead with 4 1/2 minutes until halftime.
McNabb threw a pick in the end zone on Philadelphia's next offensive series, but Smith returned the favor, as Tracy White's interception led to another Akers field goal -- from 26 yards away -- for a 17-point halftime margin.
The 49ers have lost six straight road games since a season-opening win over Arizona...Davis now has 858 receiving yards for the 49ers this season, setting a new franchise mark for tight ends...The Eagles have won 14 of their last 17 games in December...Philadelphia has scored a touchdown on nine game-opening drives this season and has 51 opening drive points, the most in the NFL...McCoy set an Eagles rookie record with 606 rushing yards...Philadelphia's Michael Vick left the game in the first quarter with a thigh bruise and did not return...San Francisco RB Glen Coffee left the game with a left hamstring strain...The Eagles clinched a playoff spot by virtue of the Cowboys' win over New Orleans last night, while San Francisco was eliminated due to Arizona's win over Detroit.
12/20 21:33:55 ET