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Niners' defense dominates Eagles' patchwork O-line

The San Francisco 49ers overcame three touchdowns by Philadelphia's defense and special teams to beat the Eagles, 26-21, in Week 4. Our takeaways:

  1. Minus three starters up front, the Eagles' patchwork offensive line was too much of a liability to overcome. The offense didn't pass midfield until the fourth quarter. They had just two more first downs (five) than turnovers (three) late in the third quarter, while the 49ers tripled their time of possession. Right tackle Lane Johnson is eligible to return from suspension next week, but center Jason Kelce and guard Evan Mathis won't be back in the lineup until the second half of the season.
  1. After bizarrely sticking to a stubborn pass-heavy game plan in the first half, the 49ers finally recommitted to their grind-it-out offense for a 218-22 advantage on the ground. Between a dominant showing from Vic Fangio's defense and a vintage Frank Gore performance, it appears that coach Jim Harbaugh is returning to his 2011-2013 philosophy.
  1. The Eagles can thank the Saints for two of the offseason's best pickups. Darren Sproles added a 82-yard punt return and safety Malcolm Jenkins' pick-six gave him a share of the NFL's interception lead.
  1. Over the last two games, LeSean McCoy has rushed for 39 yards on 29 carries (1.34 yards per carry). The offensive line simply isn't opening holes.
  1. Nick Foles had one of his best games as a pro last week, but he's played poorly in three out of four games thus far. His decision-making and ball placement have left a lot to be desired this season.
  1. The Eagles became the first team in NFL history with a touchdown via a blocked punt, punt return and interception return in the first half of a game, according to Director of NFC Football Communications Randall Liu.
  1. The 49ers lost tight end Vernon Davis (back) and right tackle Anthony Davis (knee) to injuries. Both were ruled out for the game by early in the third quarter. Davis had trouble walking off the field after taking a hard hit to his lower back.
  1. Riley Cooper's big plays have evaporated this season. He is averaging just 8.3 yards per reception through four games after finishing in the top five in the league at 17.9 yards per catch last year. His drop of a perfectly thrown pass by Foles in the end zone aborted the Eagles' comeback attempt late in the fourth quarter.

*The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps every game from Week 4 and picks the best player in the NFL. *

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