It took the Philadelphia Eagles 52 years to win a Super Bowl. Now, the Birds from the City of Brotherly Love have an opportunity to do it for the second time in five seasons.
The Eagles used opportunistic defense and a strong ground game to pull away from the San Francisco 49ers, 31-7, in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday.
Philadelphia will meet the winner of the AFC Championship Game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 12 in Glendale, Arizona.
“Obviously this is something you dream about as a kid. All these guys on the team have dreamt about this their entire lives, too,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said.
The Eagles forced fumbles by 49ers quarterbacks Brock Purdy and Josh Johnson, which led to 14 points, and another by receiver Deebo Samuel late in the fourth quarter.
The game turned almost immediately when Purdy suffered an injury to his right (throwing) elbow on San Francisco’s sixth offensive play, and was replaced by Johnson. Johnson, signed from the Denver Broncos’ practice squad earlier this season, has seen game action for seven teams and been on the rosters of 13. Johnson then left the game in the third quarter because of a concussion, the team said. That ushered in Purdy’s return.
The team believes Purdy injured his ulnar collateral ligament, ESPN reported. Purdy said after the game he will undergo an MRI on Monday.
The 49ers, who had a 12-game winning streak end, also used running back Christian McCaffrey under center in a Wildcat formation in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles rushed for four touchdowns and 148 yards.
In addition to the turnovers, Philly’s defense held the 49ers to 165 total yards. The only blemish on it was a 23-yard touchdown run by McCaffrey in the second quarter that tied the score at 7. McCaffrey accounted for 106 of the 165.
The Eagles scored the next two touchdowns on runs by Miles Sanders and Boston Scott, the latter coming after Johnson’s fumble two plays after Sanders’ score. Sanders rushed for the Eagles’ first touchdown, and quarterback Jalen Hurts got the fourth.
This will be the fourth time the Eagles have reached the Super Bowl. They lost to the Oakland Raiders after the 1980 season and to the New England Patriots after the 2004 season, before defeating the Patriots after the 2017 campaign.