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The Philadelphia Eagles beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-7 in the NFC Championship Game after the 2022 season.

The crowd at Lincoln Financial Field didn’t have too much stress to handle during the second half.

A ferocious attack by the Philadelphia defensive line led to injuries for quarterbacks Brock Purdy and Josh Johnson.

The Eagles led by two touchdowns when an injured Purdy replaced Johnson in the third quarter. The 49ers didn’t have a quarterback healthy enough to pose a legitimate threat in the passing game.

49ers Fail To Move On

It’s common for NFL fan bases to harp on losses with disappointment and desperation to find a reason (or an excuse) for failure.

It’s not common for prominent NFL players to complain as much as the 49ers did after losing the NFC Championship Game.

Brandon Aiyuk, Jimmie Ward, and Robbie Gould all showed bad sportsmanship by speaking publicly with a tone that attempted to cheapen the accomplishments of the Eagles.

Deebo Samuel perpetuated the sour grapes attitude on May 5 during an interview with Complex Sports.

“We lost because we played with 10 people,” Samuel said. “ I ain’t going to keep going on about what could’ve happened and what would’ve happened but yeah, it would’ve definitely been a different outcome (if healthy).”

New NFL Rules

The NFL thankfully decided not to outlaw the “tush push” that helped the Eagles convert 36 of 39 sneaks for first downs during the 2022 season, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia.

However, the league has decided to grant a rule change largely as a reactionary move after the situation that occurred during the NFC Championship Game.

The rule doesn’t help or hurt any NFL team more than another. However, the rule perpetuates five examples of flawed logic suggesting that the 49ers were somehow cheated in an illegitimate NFC Championship Game loss.

  • An NFL Team Has No Control Over Quarterback Injuries

    When the 49ers prepared for the NFC Championship Game, they were fully aware of the strength of the Philadelphia defensive line.

    The Eagles led the NFL with 70 sacks. The second-place Kansas City Chiefs finished with 55 sacks, and the difference of 15 was the same gap between the Chiefs and the four teams tied for 14th place with 40 sacks.

    Kyle Shanahan’s game plan should’ve included a priority to block Haason Reddick, the top pass rusher on the Eagles.

    Instead, the 49ers lined up backup tight end Tyler Kroft to block a freakishly athletic edge rusher having a career season for one snap during the second quarter.

    They shouldn’t have been surprised that Reddick was licking his chops with an opportunity to lay a clean hit on the opposing quarterback.

  • NFL Teams Couldn't Dress Three Quarterbacks

    The NFL allowed teams to dress an emergency quarterback in addition to the 45 players active on gamedays starting in 1991.

    In 2011, they simply changed the limit to 46 players.

    No part of the previous rule change ever prohibited dressing a third quarterback. Both the 49ers and the Eagles were fully aware of the reality that two quarterback injuries would ruin their offensive attack.

    Both teams deliberately chose not to dress two quarterbacks and 44 other players, just like plenty of NFL teams do on a weekly basis.

  • The 49ers Would've Won With an Emergency Quarterback

    When Josh Johnson left the game early in the third quarter, the top-seeded Eagles led 21-7 at home.

    Johnson has admirably hung around the NFL longer than most people would’ve expected. Not even his biggest supporters can make the case that he posed a legitimate threat against the Eagles.

    The thought that an emergency quarterback could’ve made the difference in the NFC Championship Game suggests that a quarterback behind Josh Johnson on the San Francisco depth chart had a realistic chance to rally and beat a team that finished 14-3 during the regular season.

    It’s hard enough to find starting quarterbacks in the NFL. The emergency quarterbacks that teams use in 2023 will be able to pass more capably than Purdy was when he reentered the game with the UCL injury.

    However, they won’t be starting-caliber NFL passers.

  • The Rest of the 49ers Were Helpless

    Quarterback play was never the strength of the 49ers. They had dangerous offensive weapons like Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel and a respected defense ranked first in the NFL in defensive DVOA, according to Football Outsiders.

    The San Francisco offense put up only seven points in the first half with healthy quarterbacks. The defense failed to make plays against a Philadelphia offense that was among the top units in the NFL.

    The 49ers didn’t exactly handle themselves with unwavering class and sportsmanship either.

  • The Eagles' Success Is Somehow Cheapened

    The John Kincade Show discussed the notion that Eagles have become the “heels” of the NFL and an annoyance to other fan bases.

    Opposing fan bases will get annoyed with successful teams. Philadelphia fans certainly aren’t above it.

    However, injuries are part of football. Brock Purdy’s UCL doesn’t cheapen the success of six conference championship appearances in the new millennium and two Super Bowl appearances in six years.

    Hopefully, with this new emergency quarterback rule, Deebo Samuel and the rest of the 49ers might actually stop talking about “what could’ve happened and what would’ve happened” in the NFC Championship Game.

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