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Haason Reddick, Eagles bowl over 49ers on way to Super Bowl

PHILADELPHIA — Unlike the close game predicted by outsiders, the Eagles pushed the San Francisco 49ers up and down the field Sunday en route to a  31-7 victory, sending them to Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Ariz.

It was all but officially over late in the third quarter when the Eagles, ahead 21-7, capitalized on a controversial roughing the kicker penalty to complete a 15-play, 91-yard march, consuming 7-minutes, 50-seconds.

After the penalty, one in which Jack Stoll blocked San Francisco’s Jordan Mason into punter Brett Kern, the Eagles ran the ball six straight plays, five of the carries by Jalen Hurts. Symbolic of the Eagles’ dominance, the final two lugs were in the double-push short-yardage formation, Hurts basically shoved into the end zone through the heart of the 49er defense.

One quarter later, Hurts was on his way to embracing the George Halas Trophy, emblematic of the NFC champion. Hurts threw for 121 yards and rushed for 39 yards for the Eagles.

““My first year here people probably didn’t even want here,” said Hurts, a 2020 second-round draft pick out of Oklahoima. “It was probably one of those things. But it always handles itself.”

A brawl marred the fourth quarter. In the middle of it, Trent Williams of the Niners slammed safety K’von Wallace to the ground. Wallace got back up and responded, thus both were ejected with 4:19 remaining. Hurts had a lot of help in punching the Eagles’ ticket to Phoenix. Both of them likely will be fined.

Edge rusher Haason Reddick put on a show (two sacks), and put Niners starting quarterback Brock Purdy out of commission on the first series with a strip sack that injured the rookie’s throwing elbow. In came Josh Johnson, the 36-year-old journeyman who hadn’t made big plays since the Alliance of American Football League was a hot take. He lasted a quarter and a half, Ndamukong Suh sending him to the sidelines with a concussion.

Purdy returned to action and completed just two short passes (only only two attempts) as time wound down on the Niners.

Reddick deserved the game ball. With 1:11 left in the half, he recovered a dropped snap by Johnson at the 30-yard line of the 49ers. One penalty later Boston Scott cruised in from the 10-yard line for a 21-7 lead. At that point it was academic except for the math.

“That’s what’s expected,” Reddick said of a big day that included three tackles. “I’m just glad at the end of the day that I was able to be any type of help, any type of asset.”

Added Hurts, “Haason Reddick has been a bad dude all year long and that’s what we need going forward.

The Eagles got off to a solid start, marching 66 yards in 11 plays on the first possession. Sanders capped the march with a six-yard scoring run.

On fourth-and-three at the 35 of the Niners, Hurts looped a 35-yard pass to a leaping Smith, who stretched out to gather the ball in with his left hand, then pulled the ball into has body. Moments later, Miles Sanders scored standing up from six yards out.

With the exception of Reddick, the Eagles’ defense struggled through much of the first half. But Reddick sent Purdy to the sidelines, and in came Johnson, who was promptly sacked by Javon Hargrave. Johnson hung in there and with a few mistakes by the Eagles handed the ball off to Christian McCaffrey for a 23-yard scoring run with 8:37 left in the first half. McCaffrey jumped over Marcus Epps, ran through Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and beat Avonte Maddox to the end zone.

Special teams penalties on Eagles Josh Jobe (roughness) and Zech McPhearson (illegal use of hands) backed the Eagles’ offense up to the 15 and 10-yard lines in the first half.

Hurts nearly was dropped for a safety by Nick Bosa on the latter possession, the Eagles ultimately punting from the 2-yard line. Bosa, who likely will win defensive player of the year over Reddick, was a nonfactor. But the Eagles capitalized on critical penalties by Jimmie Ward, T.Y. McGill and Charvarius Ward to go ahead, 14-7, on Sanders’ 13-yard run with 1:36 left in the first half.

The Eagles return to the Super Bowl for the first time since Doug Pederson, a second-year head coach like Nick Sirianni, won it all with the team in the 2017-18 season.

“This is something you dream about your whole life,” Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said of the Super Bowl. “Like I said to the guys, we’ve all been dreaming about it, whether you were dreaming about it when you were 2, 10, 14, 18 or when you got in the NFL, this is something we all dream about, and we get to do it because we did it better than anybody else in the NFC this year. It’s pretty special. Fans were awesome.”

It was another disappointing finish for Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan, who was beaten in the NFC title game last year by the Los Angeles Rams. Six years ago, when he was the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator, he was a Super Bowl loser when the Falcons gave up a big lead to the New England Patriots. And three years ago, Shanahan was the 49ers head coach in losing to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Source: Berkshire mont

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