C.J. Beathard

Eagles' defensive line bullies rookie QB Beathard in blowout win

Eagles' defensive line bullies rookie QB Beathard in blowout win

C.J. Beathard should probably put a bottle of ibuprofen on his bedside table Sunday night. 

He's gonna need it in the morning. 

The 49ers' rookie quarterback was pushed, thrown and slammed to the ground for most of Sunday afternoon as the Eagles' defensive line helped the Birds bully their way to a 33-10 win at the Linc (see breakdown)

The Eagles finished with four sacks and 12 quarterback hits. They even had more shots on Beathard that didn't end up in the scoresheet. 

"Oh man, that was nice," defensive end Brandon Graham said. "We were getting after it today. It was fun. It felt like we were kids out there playing in the rain."

Linebacker Mychal Kendricks had a sack and two quarterback hits, but the defensive line had the other three sacks and 10 quarterback hits. 

Three different linemen had a sack. Six different linemen had a QB hit (see Roob's observations).

"One thing about our D-line, it's like Golden State," Vinny Curry said. "You know what I'm saying? Anybody can get hot at any given time. We just keep chugging no matter who it is. We just play our game." 

Beathard did finish the game with six rushing attempts for 40 yards. Although, it might be more accurate to say he ran for his life six times and avoided a game-ending blow for 40 yards. 

Give the rookie QB credit, though, he kept bouncing back up. 

"Yeah, I mean, I feel all right," Beathard said. "I'm sure tomorrow I'll be sore." 

The Eagles' defensive line is supposed to be the strength of the defense and it certainly looked like it Sunday in the rain. Even without middle linebacker Jordan Hicks, the Eagles didn't seem to miss a beat. 

They can thank the guys up front for that. 

"That makes my job a lot easier," said Joe Walker, who started in place of Hicks. "This defensive line is special." 

What makes the D-line more impressive is that it's coming from everywhere. On the season, Graham leads the unit with 4 sacks, Fletcher Cox is second with 3.5, Derek Barnett has 2.5, Chris Long has 2, Vinny Curry has 2, Tim Jernigan has 1.5 and Beau Allen has 1. 

Barnett said it's been fun during practice because of how competitive the D-line group is. Every player is trying to outdo the others and the second unit wants to prove there's not a drop-off when they're in the game. 

"When everybody is getting sacks, everybody is happy," Cox said. "We always talk about your moment. When your moment comes, you have to capitalize on it and get the guy on the ground. I think as a group today, we did a really good job." 

Sure, the 49ers were dealing with a banged up offensive line, down to their third option at right tackle, and then they lost veteran left tackle Joe Staley during the afternoon. But it was still up to the Eagles to beat their backups, and they absolutely did. 

The Eagles were close to having two more sacks. Graham lost one because of a questionable roughing the passer call; he just hopes he doesn't get fined. And Long lost one because before he threw Beathard to the ground, the 49ers apparently called a timeout before the play. 

Long said he never lost a sack to a timeout before. 

"But it's all good," he said. "Listen, at the end of the day sacks are just a stat. I'd love to have it but it's not the end of the world. We just won [33-10], so it's a lot of fun for me."

Aside from just hitting the quarterback, the Eagles also stuffed the run. They gave up just 94 rushing yards and 40 of them came from the QB. Carlos Hyde had just 25 yards on 12 carries. 

The Eagles' offense wasn't great Sunday and Carson Wentz didn't have his best performance, but the Eagles' front four was able to bail them out as they continuously dropped Beathard to the ground (see story)

"We're doing something special," Curry said. "We just have to keep building."

Eagles-49ers thoughts: A loss to winless Niners would be crushing

Eagles-49ers thoughts: A loss to winless Niners would be crushing

Eagles-49ers
1 p.m. on FOX
Eagles favored by 13.5

The Eagles look to increase their NFL-best winning streak to six games against a winless 49ers squad at Lincoln Financial Field in Week 8.

Even when the schedule came out in April, before anybody realized how good the Eagles are, this looked like a lopsided matchup. Not only are the 49ers 0-7 in 2017, but they’re 2-21 dating back to last season. This is a franchise that’s still very much in the early stages of a full-on rebuild.

Don’t expect the Eagles to show any sympathy Sunday, either. At 6-1, this team isn’t just trying to win the division or sneak into the playoffs. They’re gunning for a bye and home-field advantage in the playoffs. The 49ers are just the latest opponent standing in the way.

Which team shows up?
For a while there, the 49ers looked like one of the tougher winless teams in recent memory. They had become the first team in NFL history to lose five consecutive games by three points or less, two of those going to overtime.

Then the Cowboys came to town. Dallas smoked the 49ers last week by a final score of 40-10 in an outcome that never appeared to be in much doubt from the opening snap.

The 49ers absolutely have more talent than their record would indicate. They’ve given the likes of the Seahawks and the Rams problems this season and could be motivated to play the role of spoiler at the Linc.

Or the 49ers could get blown out, as has happened on two occasions this season as well. It’s hard to say which version will show up.

Man on Fire
It doesn’t help the 49ers any that they are running into one of the hottest players in the NFL Sunday. Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has been spectacular all season long, but over the course of the last three weeks, the 24-year-old has been playing the best football of his brief pro career.

In the Eagles’ last three games, Wentz is completing 54 of 85 pass attempts (63.5 percent) for 794 yards (9.3 average) with 11 touchdowns to only one interception. That’s good for a 128.6 passer rating, and he has an additional 99 yards rushing, too.

Wentz is playing like one of the top five or certainly top 10 quarterbacks in the entire league right now. He’s connecting with his receivers down the field, converting in the red zone and on third and fourth downs, using his legs when necessary and keeping turnovers to a minimum.

It’s difficult to imagine the 49ers’ 28th-ranked defense slowing Wentz down right now.

Ball control is key
What’s making the Eagles so difficult to beat this season? Well, a lot of things, actually. But right at the top of the list is a masterful ability to move the sticks and possess the football.

The Eagles’ offense ranks among the top five in the NFL in both rushing and passing, though by now everybody knows pure yardage totals can be deceiving. However, numbers can also measure this team’s expertise in ball control.

Second in average time of possession at 33 minutes and 43 seconds. First in third-down conversions at 50.5 percent, and tied for second on fourth downs at 80.0 percent. Third in the red zone, crossing the goal line for a touchdown 65.2 percent of the time. And tied for sixth with a plus-four turnover differential, showing not only the offense’s ability to take care of the football but the defense’s ability to take it away.

Not surprisingly, with 53 net points for the seasons, the Eagles are second in that category as well. They’re not just winning — they’re winning in convincing fashion.

As long as the Eagles continue to take care of the football Sunday, the 49ers shouldn’t stand a chance.

Key matchup: Eagles D-line vs. 49ers O-line
49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard is making the second start of his NFL career. A third-round draft pick out of Iowa, Beathard is showing a propensity for holding on to the football too long in limited action. And if he does the same against the Eagles, he should be in for a long day.

Aside from Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley, the 49ers’ offensive line is a bit of a mess. Right tackle Trent Brown is likely out with a concussion, while right guard is questionable as well with a biceps injury. Left guard Laken Tomlinson and center Daniel Kilgore simply aren’t very good.

The Cowboys were able to sack Beathard five times last week, forcing two fumbles. The opportunities will be there for an Eagles front against a patchwork O-line, and a young quarterback who will be hesitant to pull the trigger. Dominate the 49ers up front, and everything will go according to plan.

They can’t lose
This is definitely a game where an Eagles loss would be far more significant than an Eagles win.

An Eagles win is expected, and would almost be taken for granted. The 49ers are a vastly inferior team, and nothing more than a speedbump on the path to the playoffs.

An Eagles loss, on the other hand, would feel devastating. It would raise nothing but questions. Is this squad as good as we thought? Are injuries beginning to take their toll? Are they still shoe-ins to win the NFC East and reach the postseason? The narrative will be complete panic.

So you see, the Eagles have to win. Not just because of how it will impact them in the standings. They need to win for the public safety of the fans, who are going to lose their minds otherwise.