Looking back to last week’s loss to the Redskins, things didn’t look good early.
The Eagles were put in a 14-0 hole in the first quarter in their own house—Washington did this by scoring with a running back and then a tight end.
This week, the Eagles will see a better running back and tight end combination than they did last week; those two players are Frank Gore and Vernon Davis.
Gore, San Francisco’s biggest offensive weapon, has been a workhorse for the team so far this year. In four losses, he’s recorded games in which he’s had over 100 yards rushing and 100 yards receiving.
He has the ability to throw the game on his back and carry the team. Against the Saints, the 49ers had a drive in the fourth quarter to tie the game late that was completely on the back of Gore.
The Eagles currently rank 27th in run defense, and that does not bode well with Gore lining up against them this week. Last week, they let a backup in Ryan Torain make them look silly.
The team was not able to tackle against the run, and it has been a pretty common theme so far this season.
Flashing back to the Lions game, you saw a young player in Jahvid Best who was able to make plays on the Eagles through a combination of rushing and receiving; Gore is a guy that, like Best, can do both very well—he does it so well that he leads the team in both receptions and yards.
Behind Gore, Davis sits second on the team in both receptions and yards. Unfortunately for Eagles fans, you have to get chills anytime the team plays an elite tight end.
Over the years, there has always had trouble covering tight ends. It seemed as things would look up a bit this year, but there are still reasons for concern.
San Francisco’s quarterback Alex Smith has targeted Davis more times than any of the wide receivers on the field. At 6'3", 250 pounds, Davis is like an extra wide receiver on the field, but he gets to see a lot of linebacker coverage that wide receivers don’t get.
Come Sunday, these are the two players I will be keeping my eyes on.
If either of them is able to have a big game, it’s going to be a long night for the Eagles; however, if the Eagles can shut the duo down, I can’t see the 49ers offense finding a lot of success.