The Jim Harbaugh era got a huge confidence boost and redemption for recent losses to the Eagles when the 49ers caught up to, and passed the Eagles in the 4th quarter of a hard-fought game. Down 23-2 early in the 3rd quarter, the 49ers scored 21 unanswered points for the win. The Niners, even more impressively, were able to run the ball down Philly’s throat with 2:06 left in the 4th quarter by getting 2 rushing first downs to keep the ball out of Vick’s hands. Frank Gore shook off the ankle sprain and rushed for 127 yards, and Alex Smith passed for a season-high 291 yards (and 2 TDs) by connecting 21 times to 8 different receivers after shaking off a pretty flat first half. Kendall Hunter added 38 yards on the ground as well.
The defense, which gave up 513 yards, actually played well. They constantly dogged Vick, and kept the pressure on him, even though he ran for 70, and threw for 405. The Niners should have had 3 more sacks on him, but Vick got loose for some big scrambles and dodged Brooks AND McDonald for their first TD. Rogers had a nice pick on an early drive, and the DBs made a lot of defensive plays, even though Philly connected on a lot of big passes. Vick threw 46 passes, but the Niners were able to break up 7 of his passes plus the pick. The rush defense, minus Vick’s scrambles, was fine. Justin Smith, with his strip of Maclin, iced the game for the Niners. Bowman had a huge game as well, stopping Vick on a would be scramble for a 1st down, breaking up a pass, and generally playing all over the place.
Special teams were a mess. 1 miss and 1 blocked FG for Akers (with some obvious Philly jitters), Ginn had -6 yards in punt returns, and the obligatory holding call on a kickoff return.
All in all, a big victory for this Niner team that is trying to find its identity. Alex Smith had one of, if not the best, game of his career. The much maligned offensive line did well for the most part. Anthony Davis’ huge struggles with Jason Babit (and a false start) notwithstanding. 164 on the ground was very solid. Smith’s second half won the game for the Niners. Philly wore down in the end, and the run game sealed the deal.