PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Eagles used a bruising ground game, a strong defensive effort and a gambling coach to punch a ticket to Super Bowl LVII, defeating the San Francisco 49ers 31-7 to win Sunday’s NFC Championship Game.
The victory, witnessed by first lady Jill Biden, Anaheim Angels star Mike Trout and a delirious crowd at Lincoln Financial Field, sends the Eagles to Super Bowl LVII, where they will meet the Kansas City Chiefs, who defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 in the AFC Championship Game.
The Eagles and Chiefs will meet on Feb. 12 in the Super Bowl at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
One more@UnibetUS | #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/G1hyUknFXJ— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) January 29, 2023
It will be the fourth time in franchise history that the Eagles (16-3) have reached the Super Bowl.
Philadelphia returns to the NFL’s championship game for the first time since Feb. 4, 2018, when the Eagles overcame Tom Brady and the New England Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII. That ended a three-game losing streak in the Super Bowl for Philadelphia, which fell in Super Bowls XV, XXXIX and LII.
The Eagles also won NFL titles in the pre-Super Bowl era, winning in 1948, 1949 and 1960.
The Eagles had four rushing touchdowns on Sunday, with Miles Sanders scoring twice in the first half on runs of 6 and 14 yards. Boston Scott scored on a 10-yard run 16 seconds before halftime, and quarterback Jalen Hurts hit paydirt on a 1-yard run in the third quarter.
Jake Elliott put the final touch on the Eagles’ victory with a 31-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
“I’m not going to make this about me, this is a special city,” Hurts said after the game. “They deserve everything that’s going on. We’ve got one more.”
Running back Christian McCaffrey had the only score for the 49ers, running for a 23-yard touchdown midway through the second quarter to tie the game at 7.
But after that it was all Eagles.
With the game tied 7-7 in the second quarter, Eagles coach Nick Sirianni gambled deep in Philadelphia territory and it paid off in a big way. Philadelphia was facing fourth-and-1 from their 34-yard-line but Hurts picked up the first down on a quarterback sneak.
That helped prolong a 14-play, 75-yard drive, with Sanders scoring to give the Eagles a 14-7 lead.
San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy, who was selected by the 49ers with the last pick of the 2022 NFL draft -- earning him the dubious title of Mr. Irrelevant -- had his storybook season hampered by an injured right elbow in the first quarter.
Purdy was hit by Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick on a play that was ruled a fumble.
He was replaced by Josh Johnson, who signed with the 49ers in December. Johnson was also injured, leaving the game in the third quarter after he was hit by Eagles defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Purdy completed all four of his pass attempts on Sunday but was held to 23 yards.
The 49ers’ quarterback situation was so desperate due to injuries that even McCaffrey stepped under center. His lone pass attempt was incomplete.
San Francisco was hampered by key penalties, being flagged 11 times for 81 yards, and lost three fumbles.
Hurts completed 15 of 25 passes for 121 yards and had 11 rushes for 39 yards.
The Eagles only rushed for 148 yards but made their gains count against the 49ers. They also dominated the time of possession, holding the football for 37 minutes, 26 seconds. San Francisco only held the ball for 22:34.
It was the second postseason meeting between the two teams and featured the top two seeds in the NFC. San Francisco won its only postseason meeting against the Eagles with a 10-7 victory in a 1996 wild-card game.
The 49ers, the winners of five Super Bowl titles, were bidding to reach the big game for the eighth time in franchise history.
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