Chip Kelly and his lean green machine come a’calling to the friendly confines of the Great America parking lot this weekend to try and run roughshod over our leaky and suddenly ineffective defense. A defense that is a solid 6th in yards given up per game, but 17th in scoring allowed. Not good when facing a team that is pretty much pedal-to-the-metal when it comes to how the play. Foles and Co. do a very good job of no-huddle and quick-attack plays, much like Kelly did on Oregon. They run out of multi-WR formations, but it’s mainly pass pass pass. Short quick routes that are hard to defend and hard to get pressure on. Foles himself. Weirdly though the Jacksonville Jags, of all teams, sacked Foles 5 times in their first game of the year. However, Foles hasn’t been sacked since. He is, however, questionable for Sunday’s game after getting blindsided by Washington’s Chris Baker in the 4th quarter last weekend, which led to a brawl and some ejections. That being said, Foles played after the hit, and I fully expect Foles to play. For all their success passing, LeSean McCoy, last year’s rushing leader, is off to a slow start, averaging less that 60 yards per game so far. Seeing as the Niners have struggled with the run, I’m a little worried about this. Then again, their passing game worries me as well.
So, how do the Niners stop the attack? Well, by getting back to what they used to do. I’m still not entirely clear as to why the braintrust seems to have gone from Ground Chuck to Air Coryell in a single offseason, but the 49ers are throwing a lot more than usual. It has worked at times, and failed miserably at times (see 3 picks vs Chicago). But I would hope that some of the offense is dedicated to keeping the Philly offense on the sidelines. The 49ers have had some long impressive drives, including the 2 in the 1st half of the AZ game, and they need to keep that up for 4 quarters to pull out a win. Philly’s defense is 26th in yards given up (30th in passing yards), and 20th in points, so one would think that we could get some traction there. They also are struggling to get pressure on opposing QBs as they only have 3 sacks. Certainly something the Niners should be able to exploit. But I would not like to see this turn into a shoot-out.
Beyond that, the run game should be bolstered by the return of the Davises, Anthony and Vernon. Defensively, I just don’t know. The Niner defense is struggling wildly to get pressure, even with blitzes last week, and blitzing the Eagles is not a good idea seeing how fast they get the ball out. Not sure who they will stop the Eagles, but this is a very important early game. Lose this, and they suddenly have a lot of teams to climb over just to reach a wildcard spot.