49ers Week 8 recap: Eagles easily beat San Francisco, 33-10

QB C.J. Beathard and the 49ers had a long day in Philadelphia, losing to the Eagles 33-10.

Post-game review
The 49ers offense failed the defense this weekend. After a dismal outing against Dallas, the defense rebounded by allowing only 304 yards and 25 points to the NFL’s 3rd best offense (averaging about 381 YPG and 28 PPG). However, the offense continued to sputter, scoring 10 points on only 238 (!) yards.

Already down starting right tackle, Trent Brown, the 49ers also lost backup Garry Gilliam and starting left tackle Joe Staley. This new makeshift offensive line (Beadles-Tomlinson-Kilgore-Fusco-Magnuson) played horribly against Philly’s strong defensive front. C.J. Beathard was under constant duress, being sacked 4 times and hit 12 more times. His play today was sporadic and inconsistent. He often missed his receivers and had issues throwing the ball down the field. Beathard also threw two interceptions, one of which went the other way for a pick-6. Carlos Hyde also suffered today, rushing 12 times for 25 yards, gaining 12 on one play. Even with some favorable starting field position, the offense failed to move the ball with any authority, moving into the red zone once and going 3-15 on 3rd down.

The defense played very well considering the circumstances of Sunday’s game. Holding the Eagles to only 119 yards and 10 points at half (not counting the pick-6). This strong defensive showing did continue into the 3rd, only allowing a field goal on a short field drive, until Carson Wentz connected with Alshon Jeffrey for a 53-yard TD pass near the end of the quarter, after 4 straight offensive drives of 3 plays or less. In the fourth quarter, all the good done by the defense unraveled thanks to a blocked field goal leading to a 62-yard Eagles TD drive. The Eagles couldn’t be stopped on that drive, and the defense’s frustration manifested in a 15-yard penalty on Eli Harold when he shoulder-checked Lane Johnson (who didn’t let go of him well after the play was over). The defense may have allowed 25 points, but in a game where they were forced to slow down an offensive juggernaut, often with a short field, they were fairly successful.

The play that defined today was C.J. Beathard’s pick-6 to Jalen Mills in the 2nd quarter. It highlighted the offensive woes that plagued the 49ers all game, an anemic offense led by an inaccurate QB. It was also the play that knocked Staley out of the game and led to the usage of the mismatched offensive line that completely stifled any chance of sustained offensive success.

Leger Douzable was an animal today. He was a frequent presence in the Eagle’s backfield today, accumulating two sacks, two QB hits, and two tackles for loss. Douzable has only been on the team for 12 days and had one tackle last week, but he took advantage of second start against the Eagles. If he can continue to play like this, the 31-year-old can make San Francisco his permanent home and make a great addition to a young, upstart DL group.

C.J. Beathard was terrible. Yes, he was sacked 4 times and hit 12 more, but he does not inspire any feeling that he is the future of the 49ers. Granted, he was never really expected to be the future, but he struggled today just doing the basics. His passes were inaccurate, no matter the pressure, and he had problems pushing the ball down the field. His limitations as a passer were exploited today by a tough, experienced defense that forced him to make plays with his arm, which he couldn’t. Chalk it up to nervousness (it was his first road start) or happy feet due to pressure, but Beathard looked completely overmatched against the Eagles.

Play of the game
Ahkello Witherspoon picked Carson Wentz off in the 3rd quarter for his first career interception. There was clear miscommunication between Wentz and his intended receiver, Mack Hollins, and Witherspoon was in good position to make a play on the ball. The rookie from Colorado is going to be leaned on more as the season wears on and the 49ers expect him to develop into a major contributor in the secondary for Robert Saleh’s defense.

Next up
The 49ers get to head back to Santa Clara and start a three game homestand (with a bye week stuffed in between) against the Arizona Cardinals. The 49ers played the Cardinals tough in Phoenix on October 1st, taking them deep into overtime before losing on a Fitzgerald touchdown. This time, the Cardinals will be starting their backup QB, Drew Stanton, after Carson Palmer broke him arm against the Los Angeles Rams in London two weeks ago. However, the 49ers will be without a few starters as well. The 49ers will be without defenders Jimmie Ward, Solomon Thomas, and Arik Armstead (who played week 4). The 49ers could also be without Reuben Foster, K’Waun Williams, Aaron Lynch, and DJ Jones along with offensive linemen Joe Staley, Trent Brown, and Garry Gilliam all depending on prognosis and how they practice this week. That is a lot of contributors who could out for next week’s game, but if these guys can play, this game seems the most likely candidate for their first win of the season.

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