NFL Playoffs: Philadelphia Eagles heading to Super Bowl with dominant victory over San Francisco 49ers
By Homero De La Furente and Hannah Brewitt, CNN
The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the San Francisco 49ers, 31-7, on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, to advance to Super Bowl LVII.
The Eagles scored on their first possession and didn’t look back in the rout of the 49ers.
The 49ers were momentarily left without rookie starting quarterback Brock Purdy after he suffered a right elbow injury in the first quarter, on a hit by Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick that forced a fumble. Josh Johnson, who is the fourth string quarterback for San Francisco, filled in for Purdy until the third quarter before being ruled out of the game with a concussion.
Playing on the injured elbow, Purdy re-entered the game but the 49ers offense struggled to tally any points.
Meanwhile, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia run-game, ran all over the 49ers defense, notching 148 rushing yards and scoring all four touchdowns on the ground. With his rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter, Hurts (15) passed Cameron Newton (14) for most rushing touchdown’s in a single season by a QB in NFL history, including playoffs, according to NFL Research.
The Eagles, who advance to the Super Bowl for the first time since winning it in the 2017-18 season, will face the winner of the AFC Championship between the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs later Sunday.
Super Bowl LVII will take place at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on February 12.
Cincinnati Bengals vs Kansas City Chiefs
In the AFC, it’s the Bengals and Chiefs for the second straight season. Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes will look for revenge after last year’s crushing defeat at Arrowhead Stadium. Bengals’ quarterback Joe Burrow will look to replicate last year’s end result for his fourth straight win over Kansas City.
The Chiefs ended the regular season as the AFC’s No. 1 seed. They earned a week of rest in the Wild Card stage, took care of the Jaguars in the Divisional round, and are now exactly where they want to be.
The only problem is that their star quarterback isn’t 100% healthy.
Mahomes suffered a high ankle sprain in the Divisional round. There’s no doubt that he will persevere through the pain, but any issues with his mobility will impact his playmaking abilities.
Mahomes will have to get creative with how he moves the ball up the field. The pressure is also on the offensive linemen to keep Mahomes protected. If he’s left exposed, there’s increased risk of further injury.
While the Bengals are the away team and the lower seed, it would be incorrect to consider them the underdogs.
In the Divisional round, they upset the Bills and made it look easy. If that game is any indicator of how things will go this weekend, the Chiefs should be ready for a battle.
It’s also worth noting that history favors the Bengals. Burrow is 3-0 against Mahomes. And in all three games, Cincinnati was either tied or behind to start the fourth quarter.
Even if the Chiefs get ahead early, the Bengals have proven that they are not to be counted out until the final whistle. To top it all off, Burrow is an even better quarterback than the last time these two met in an AFC title game. His numbers have improved across the board, and he’s gained more experience playing at a high-level.
Ultimately, the Chiefs are an elite team with an MVP-caliber quarterback, injured or not. The Bengals are a young, talented team with history on their side. Only time will tell which team has what it takes to get to the next stage.
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