The first quarter of the NFC Championship game couldn’t have gone much worse for the San Francisco 49ers. The Philadelphia Eagles scored a touchdown on their opening drive in part after Kyle Shanahan failed to challenge a DeVonta Smith catch that wasn’t. Then, on the 49ers’ opening drive with 7:03 left in that first quarter, the 49ers tried to block Eagles mega-pass-rusher Haason Reddick with a tight end, with predictable results.
Haason Reddick 2 sacks already
Wow he has 19.5 sacks this year including playoffs
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) January 29, 2023
The officiating crew, led by referee John Hussey, originally called this an incomplete pass, but after Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni challenged that, it was changed to a fumble call… which meant that defensive tackle Linval Joseph, who recovered the fumble, should have been given a touchdown.
Not that San Francisco was in any better shape after that play. Quarterback Brock Purdy went to the sideline and appeared to tell Shanahan that he couldn’t throw.
Brock Purdy appears to tell Kyle Shanahan that he can’t throw.
This would be a brutal loss for SF. pic.twitter.com/saROAkXm4n
— JPA (@jasrifootball) January 29, 2023
So, for their next drive, the 49ers put in backup Josh Johnson, the 13-year veteran who has played with multiple teams throughout his career.
Things weren’t any better for Johnson when he got in there. The 49ers kept blocking Reddick with non-offensive linemen (receiver Jauan Jennings in this case), and that continued to be a problem.
On 2nd & 6, Haason Reddick 9-yd sack of Josh Johnson#49ers 0 #Eagles 7 1sᴛ pic.twitter.com/bP0nCGG9pN
— Sᴘᴏʀᴛs 24/7 (@Sports_24x7_) January 29, 2023
The 49ers had better come up with a smarter plan for Reddick, or they could get blown right out of Lincoln Financial Field.