It was a brutal day for the San Francisco 49ers, as they saw their dreams of going to the Super Bowl disappear in a 31-7 defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC title game. Key injuries to quarterback Brock Purdy and backup Josh Johnson obviously played a key role, but the Niners regularly hurt their own chances with penalties.
49ers had 11 accepted penalties, more than referee John Hussey's regular-season crew had per game (for both teams) in 2002.
Eagles got 7 first downs via penalty. Per @ESPNStatsInfo, that's the most in a playoff game since 2002. (Titans, also 7.)
— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) January 29, 2023
The Niners had 11 accepted penalties, and 7 of them resulted in first downs for the Eagles. Several of the penalties came shortly after the Niners had tied the score a 7-7 on a 23-yard touchdown run by Christian McCaffrey midway through the second quarter.
On the ensuing possession, the Niners were flagged for three penalties that resulted in Eagles first downs, and Philadelphia was able to capitalize on a 14-play, 75-yard drive that culminated with a 13-yard Miles Sanders touchdown run.
San Francisco’s Josh Johnson fumbled a shotgun snap on the next possession and the Eagles added another touchdown on a Boston Scott 10-yard scoring run with 16 seconds left in the half.
The two late first-half touchdowns put the short-handed 49ers in a deep hole, and they did not have the weaponry to mount a viable comeback in the second half.
The Niners came into the NFC Championship Game having won 12 in a row, and they were depending on rookie Brock Purdy to lead the offense. He injured an elbow in the first quarter after taking a hit from Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick, and he spent the rest of the first half on the sidelines.
He returned to the game in the second half after Johnson suffered a concussion, but he was unable to throw the ball with authority because of the elbow injury.