Eagles vs 49ers: Grading San Francisco’s position groups before title game

Brock Purdy #13, San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Brock Purdy #13, San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Philadelphia Eagles
Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers (Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports) /

42. . . . Special teams. . player

The Eagles can’t afford to let the Niners’ special teams beat them.

To their credit, all season long, we’ve seen the Eagles’ coaching staff adjust whenever we found something that was lacking with their football team. We complained about what we were seeing from the rushing defense. They adjusted. Prior to that, there were some questions about the special teams unit. They worked out the kinks. Here’s where we all can agree.

They can’t walk into a game versus the Niners and revert to some bad habits because a bonus score by San Fran on special teams or a colossal gaff by Philly’s unit could lead to some hurt feelings.

Special Teams: D

The Niners converted 84.4% of their field-goal attempts. That lands them at the 18th-highest percentage league-wide. 47 touchbacks and a touchback percentage of 47.5 ranks them near the bottom of the NFL in both categories, but an allowed return average of 21.5 yards places them among the league’s top 11 teams.

They average 43.9 yards per punt, but they’ve down 32 inside the 20-yard line while only tallying five touchbacks. There’s a chance big plays could come from the Eagles’ special teams unit.

Coaches: A+

The discussion about 49ers coaches begins and ends with Kyle Shanahan. While we believe Nick Sirianni has an argument for winning Coach of the Year, we wouldn’t argue if Kyle Shanahan was given the trophy, especially after seeing him win 13 games with three different starting quarterbacks.

He and the Niners have won 12 straight games, including a pair in the postseason with Mr. Irrelevant, Brock Purdy, at quarterback. DeMeco Ryans is exceptional. Special teams coordinator Brian Schneider may be the weak link, but with a team this good, his deficiencies, though minimal, can be covered. The Birds are in for a coaching duel on Sunday.

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