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What we learned as Jimmy G, 49ers outlast Eagles in Week 2

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Jimmy Garoppolo

PHILADELPHIA -- Jimmy Garoppolo, as it turns out, is the 49ers’ running quarterback.

Garoppolo struggled with his accuracy early Sunday in the 49ers’ Week 2 game against the Philadelphia Eagles. But he got things going and even made some plays with his legs en route to a 17-11 victory at Lincoln Financial Field.

Garoppolo completed 22 of 30 pass attempts for 189 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. He also picked up some key yards on the ground, and gave the 49ers a 14-3 lead in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard sneak.

The game concludes a long road trip that saw the 49ers open with a 41-33 victory over the Detroit Lions. The 49ers spent last week practicing in West Virginia before traveling on to Philadelphia.

The 49ers return to the Bay Area for their home opener next Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium.

Here are three takeaways from the 49ers’ Week 2 game against the Philadelphia Eagles:

Slow start for Garoppolo and offense

The 49ers’ offense looked atrocious early in the game, failing to pick up a first down on their first three possessions. That was the longest streak of futility to open a game in Kyle Shanahan’s time as head coach.

They finally got things going late in the first half.

The 49ers took over with 4:12 remaining at their own 3-yard line after an impressive goal-line stand by the defense.

They worked the clock. Jimmy Garoppolo completed a 5-yard pass to Deebo Samuel on third-and-3. On the next set of downs, Garoppolo gained 4 yards on a quarterback sneak on a third-and-1.


He hit Samuel on a 40-yard pass to get the 49ers in position to take the lead. On the next play, Garoppolo found Jauan Jennings for an 11-yard touchdown pass.

After the offense stumbled and staggered through most of the first half, they still managed to head into the second half with a 7-3 lead.

Questions with the defensive backfield

Neither of the players the 49ers expected to be their starting cornerbacks was in uniform on Sunday. And it showed.

Jason Verrett is out for the season with a torn ACL. He sustained the injury in the fourth quarter of the 49ers’ opener last week against the Detroit Lions. And Emmanuel Moseley sat out his second straight game to open the season with a knee injury.

Veteran cornerback Josh Norman got his first start with the 49ers less than two weeks after he signed with San Francisco. On his first snap in pass coverage, Norman was called for pass interference. He was called again for PI in the end zone later in the first half.

Lenoir, a fifth-round draft pick from Oregon, had an impressive opening week. He had an up-and-down day against the Eagles. He got off balance while covering Eagles speedy receiver Quez Watkins down the right sideline and gave up a big play.

Watkins beat Lenoir deep, and Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts hit him in stride. Safety Jaquiski Tartt saved the touchdown on a play that went for 91 yards.

It ended up being the longest play that did not result in a touchdown since the 2012 season, according to The Associated Press. And it did not result in any points, either. Lenoir came back and had good coverage on several deep pass attempts later in the game.

Wishnowsky, defense win field position

Somehow, the 49ers remained in the game when their offense was non-existent and their defense played the bend-but-don’t-break game.

Punter Mitch Wishnowsky helped the 49ers play the game of field position with a strong net punting average, including two punts inside the Philadelphia 10-yard line.

The 49ers’ defense had a difficult time getting off the field in the first half of the game, but it accomplished its main objective in keeping Philadelphia out of the end zone.

Defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw, who returned to action, came up with a big play when he blocked a field-goal attempt that could have given the Eagles a 6-0 lead in the second quarter.

The 49ers’ defense stiffened after Watkins’ 91-yard pass reception and Norman’s pass-interference penalty in the end zone. The Eagles failed to score after having a first-and-goal at the 1-yard line.

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First-year Philadelphia coach Nick Sirianni in his home debut, apparently, tried to get a little too cute with a version of “Philly Special,” the play call that won the Eagles their only Super Bowl three seasons ago against the New England Patriots.


Receiver Greg Ward’s pass on a gadget play intended for Hurts fell incomplete under pressure. The 49ers’ defense was not at all fooled.