The San Francisco 49ers made plenty of statements on Sunday afternoon during their demolition of the reigning NFC Champions on their home turf in Philadelphia. The most important one came from the defense, which had been carved up a couple of times already this season before limiting the Eagles to 19 points, one of just three times Philly has been held under 20 points in a game which Jalen Hurts played the last two seasons. Was it a fluke? Was it just an off game from one of the league's MVP favorites? Or are the San Francisco 49ers onto something?
“Jalen is looking at the rush every play. So you just have to be disciplined and not give him that quick escape route.” Nick Bosa said, per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. “Obviously, we put the blueprint out there. Hopefully, the Cowboys watch the tape.”
What the Cowboys will see on the tape is the same thing the 49ers saw when preparing to play the Eagles.
“The 49ers observed Hurts rarely works through his progression. If he does not get rid of the football quickly with a pass intended for his first option, his eyes adjust toward looking for a place to run,” Maiocco wrote in his story. Hurts had nowhere to run on Sunday against a hungry and disciplined 49ers defense. On just seven rush attempts Hurts accumulated only twenty yards, his second-lowest total in a game this season. Meanwhile, his 45 pass attempts matched his season high… a season high that came in the Eagles only other loss this year, one back in October against the New York Jets.
“When you play on a good team like this, a really good team, you have to sometimes give up some of the selfish-type statistics (such as) rushing out of your gap, stuff like that, for the bigger picture,” Bosa said. “And I think we did that great. We made Jalen stay in the pocket and escape outside instead of those B gaps, and it paid off.”
The blueprint is out there. Now it's up to the Dallas Cowboys and the rest of the NFL to attempt to implement it.