49ers vs Eagles: San Francisco win 17-11 in gruelling game
Jimmy Garoppolo praised a resilient effort after the San Francisco 49ers overcame some early struggles to beat the Philadelphia Eagles and move to 2-0.
The San Francisco 49ers held out for a win over the Philadelphia Eagles in a match defined by resilience and a desire not to fold with their backs against the wall. That win gives the 49ers two wins from two.
San Francisco's defense found itself very much under the hammer with just under six minutes remaining in the second quarter after Jalen Hurts' 91-yard completion to Quez Watkins put the Eagles inside the red zone with a chance to extend their lead to 10-0.
However, the Niners stopped the Eagles four times from inside the five-yard line to force a turnover on downs, with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo subsequently leading a 12-play, 97-yard drive that finished with a touchdown to Jauan Jennings to give San Francisco the half-time advantage.
That proved the turning point in a hard-fought 17-11 win for the Niners, who controlled the game thereafter and held the Eagles out of the endzone until a late Hurts touchdown and a successful two-point conversion gave Philadelphia a glimmer of hope.
Defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw, who blocked a field goal on his return from a knee injury, said afterwards: "I think they folded before we did. And I didn't think we were going to fold at all."
Garoppolo and the offense finally got things going after three successive three-and-outs to start the game, the first time that has happened with Kyle Shanahan as head coach.
Despite their early struggles, there was never any panic on the San Francisco sideline, the 49ers rewarded for their composure as they won back-to-back games on the east coast for the second successive year having again stayed at The Greenbrier in West Virginia to adapt to the change in time zone.
"Honestly, it was calmer than I expected," said Garoppolo. "Guys weren't freaking out, it was a tough defense, we knew that going into the game it was going to be a grinder type of game, away game coming off the week in West Virginia, there was a lot of things going against us but guys stayed the course and that's what you want to see with guys.
"We're a resilient group and when we play together like that's when we're playing good.
"When you can win different ways like that it makes for a good team. I've been around this league for a while now, teams that can win in different ways whether it's offense, defense, special teams stepping up that makes for a good team."
Green Bay Packers up next for the Niners
Reinforcements may be needed on offense at the running back spot, with three players at that position suffering injuries. Elijah Mitchell was able to return from a shoulder injury that the Niners hope is just a stinger, but the severity of JaMycal Hasty's ankle problem is not yet known while Trey Sermon suffered a head injury on debut.
"He said he was good enough to come back in, so that's when you think it's a stinger, but until you have time to go and get an MRI and stuff like that, you never know," Shanahan said of Mitchell.
"But we're hoping it was just a stinger. You usually feel good about it the way he was talking and the way he was able to come back in the game."
Having already lost Raheem Mostert for the season, the Niners will hope to have at least one of their top three backs ready when they host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday and attempt to move to 3-0.