Defense Dominates First Half in South Philly

The Eagles had some big plays, including a 91-yard reception from Quez Watkins, but could not capitalize and had just 3 points in the first two quarters and trailed 7-3
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PHILADELPHIA – The first half of the Eagles’ home opener on Sunday was certainly without its share of fireworks, with defense ruling the first 30 minutes.

The 49ers were finally able to build some momentum after a goal-line stand from their defense, driving 97 yads in 12 plays in a span of 4:08 to take a 7-3 lead at the intermission. Jimmy Garoppolo’s 11-yard touchdown throw to Jauan Jennings came with 12 seconds left in the second quarter.

Injuries piled up for the Eagles.

They lost right guard Brandon Brooks early in the second quarter to a chest injury. Landon Dickerson entered, his first pro game since being drafted in the second round this past spring.

With 1:51 to go in the second quarter, defensive end Brandon Graham needed help from two trainers to get off the field, unable to put any weight on his left leg.

Here are some of the half’s fireworks:

  • Quez Watkins made a 91-yard reception, with Jalen Hurts delivering a strike from his own end zone down the right sideline. It was the fifth-longest reception in team history.

The Eagles could not turn the electric play into points despite eventually reaching a first-and-goal at the 1. They attempted a fourth-and-goal from the 3, but a bit of trickery, with former college quarterback Greg Ward, who took a flip from DeVonta Smith and tried to throw to Hurts, who was covered and the throw landed incomplete. The score remained 3-0 with 4:20 left in the half.

  • Jalen Reagor appeared to have a 36-yard touchdown catch down the right sideline that would have given the Eagles a 10-lead with four seconds left in the opening quarter. After a review, however, Reagor was ruled to have stepped out of bounds on the pattern.

As if that series wasn’t bad enough, Jake Elliott had his 47-yard field goal attempt blocked by Javon Kinlaw.

  • Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave had a tackle for loss on the 49ers’ first two possessions, putting the visitors in a second-and-14 situation on the first drive and a 2-and-11 on the second. San Francisco could not overcome either and went three-and-out each time.

The Eagles’ defense held the 49ers without a first down in the first quarter. The last time San Francisco was held without a first-quarter first down was Week 10 of 2016.

Hurts was 8-for-14 for 151 yards, but couldn’t lead the Eagles into the end zone.

Their only points came on a 45-yard field goal from Elliott with 4:45 to play in the opening quarter.

The Eagles had 16 rushes for 54 yards, with Miles Sanders getting nine runs for 29 yards.

The 49ers had just 24 yards on the ground, averaging just 2.0 yards per rush.

Watkins had two catches for 117 yards.

Eagles linebacker Eric Wilson had nine tackles.

Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.