On one side, the Philadelphia Eagles following a perfect start so far despite having to come back from behind in each win. On the other? A close to desperate San Francisco 49ers, who are reaching the point of no return if they drop another game as the NFC West runs away from them.
Right now, it’s still not time to panic. Yes, they’ve lost two games in a row and their offense is struggling in the second half of games, scoring just 3 points in those six quarters so far this season. Jim Harbaugh is yelling his lungs out, players can’t learn the new penalty rules and Colin Kaepernick still hasn’t made up his mind whether or not he’s a good quarterback. But this season is far from, and it’s still not time to spread the doom and gloom.
The Eagles’ 3-0 record might be a bit deceiving. They’ve had to comeback from 10 points or more in each of their three wins, and are giving up 26 points per game. They’ve won two of their games by three points, are allowing 280 passing yards per game (30th in the NFL) and Nick Foles hasn’t been accurate or mistake-free like during his impressive run in the second half of last season. So far he’s completing 61% of his passes, throwing six touchdown passes and two interceptions.
But what is working for the Eagles? Their offense can put up a lot of points and quickly. Foles is leading the NFL in yards per game, Jeremy Maclin is doing a great job after missing the entire 2013 season and the addition of Darren Sporles has added another scary dimension to the Chip Kelly offense, averaging 6.9 yards per carry and 14 per receptions, ranked second in total yards on the team in both categories, averaging 105.3 yards from scrimmage per game so far.
There are a lot of things wrong with the 49ers, but a 1-2 record is exactly where they were last season before going on an 11-of-13 run to end the season and reach the NFC Championship game for a third consecutive year. While Colin Kaepernick seems improved and making less mistakes (lets ignore the Bears debacle), Frank Gore is frustrated because he isn’t touching the ball and the defense is missing key players, and will be for a few more weeks.
The Niners aren’t built to be a passing team, even without the lead. They’ve given up a 20-7 lead in the fourth quarter to the Bears and a 14-6 halftime lead against the Cardinals. They haven’t lost home games in a row since 2010, but with Foles being the best quarterback on the road over the last seven games (127.8 passer rating, 21 touchdown passes, two interceptions, Philly going 6-1) the threat of falling to 1-3 is more than just real.
There’s plenty of talent on this 49ers team, and it seems that more than execution, it’s going to be the coaching staff’s job to figure it out in this one against a very scary and quick offense. Not spreading the ball and touches around will just lead to the same result in the second half, and put them in a situation it’ll be very difficult to bounce back from.