A pair of rushing touchdowns from Miles Sanders helped the Philadelphia Eagles to soar past the 49ers 31-7 in the NFC Championship on Sunday, after injuries hit San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy and backup Josh Johnson.
The win at home sees the Eagles off to the Super Bowl for the second time in five years, where they will face either the Kansas City Chiefs or the Cincinnati Bengals, with the two AFC contenders playing later on Sunday.
“This is something you dream about as a kid,” Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said in televised remarks.
“Just to be able to do this together with a bunch of men that love each other, that have connected to each other, that would do anything for each other, it’s pretty sweet.”
The Eagles set the tone early, converting on fourth down on the opening drive with a sensational one-handed catch by receiver DeVonta Smith before the Pro Bowler Sanders scrambled six yards into the end zone.
The situation went from bad to worse for San Francisco as Purdy left the game with an elbow injury after a strip sack by Eagles’ linebacker Haason Reddick in the 49ers’ first possession.
Running back Christian McCaffrey broke through a swarm of defenders to put the Niners on the board in the second quarter but Sanders wrested back the lead immediately with a 13-yard touchdown.
Johnson, the Niners’ fourth-string quarterback after injuries previously sidelined starters Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance, fumbled the ball late in the second quarter and the Eagles recovered, sending a shiver of despair through the away team as Boston Scott ran it into the end zone.
Purdy was forced back into the contest after Johnson smacked his head on the turf but was ineffective against the razor-sharp Eagles, as quarterback Jalen Hurts leapt into the end zone for a touchdown in the third quarter and Jake Elliott made a 31-yard field goal in the fourth.
“This is a special city,” said Hurts, 24, before leading the euphoric crowd at Lincoln Financial Field in singing the Eagles’ fight song, “Fly, Eagles Fly”. “We’ve got one more.”