Following a pair of tough-to-swallow losses in Weeks 2 and 3, the San Francisco 49ers earned a much-needed victory on Sunday. At the heart of the win was a stout defensive performance from Vic Fangio's unit. Niners Daily has the story behind the shutdown afternoon and the fallout from it.
The Philadelphia Eagles entered Sunday's matchup with the 49ers having scored 94 points on offense through their first three games of the regular season.
By the time the Week 4 meeting concluded, Philadelphia was still stuck at 94.
Fangio's 49ers defense stifled the high-flying Eagles, not allowing Nick Foles and company to cross midfield until there were four minutes remaining in the game.
Where did that defensive performance rate among other great ones in Fangio's career?
"It's up there," the veteran defensive coordinator said on Sunday. "Obviously, that team has moved the ball and scored points on mostly everybody. Somehow, someway today, we found a way to play good defense… Our players played great. They deserve all the credit."
When the Eagles did manage to mount a sustained drive, the 49ers held firm at the goal line with the game hanging in the balance. Ahead by five points with two minutes left in the fourth quarter, San Francisco defended a pair of pass plays using zone coverage from the two-yard line as Philadelphia turned the ball over on downs.
Rookie linebacker Aaron Lynch applied the pressure on the fourth-down play, one of a handful of impact moments had by the fifth-round draft pick.
Why did Fangio lean on Lynch instead of second-year pro Corey Lemonier in pass-rushing situations?
"Well our pass rush hadn't been as good as we liked the past three games," he said. "When Aaron has been in there, his has been a little bit better than some of the others. Felt it was justified to play him at this point in time."
Philadelphia's three touchdowns came via its special teams and defense making big plays – moments that often hinder a game plan from taking effect. On Sunday, however, the 49ers were able to keep the Eagles from further capitalizing on the momentum swings.
How did San Francisco soundly handle Philadelphia's prolifically fast offense?
"We really stressed them on Friday with the tempo and getting the calls in and out," Fangio said. "Even to the point where we stressed them to where it was above and beyond what they would see and that was the thinking behind that."
Following the stingy defensive effort, Fangio received a bit of praise from Super Bowl-winning coach and current television analyst, Brian Billick.
Gore Speaks up
Before burning the Eagles for 174 total yards on Sunday, running back Frank Gore voiced a strongly-worded message to his teammates, according to NFL.com's Michael Silver.
The theme of the speech was simple: Put the team's goals ahead of your individual goals.
"It was exactly what we needed to hear," guard Alex Boone told Silver. "He said, 'Let's stop worrying about who gets the credit; let's just go out and win.' And he's right, stats are for losers. It's a lot nicer to have a ring than to be the leading receiver on your team."
Minus three Eagles touchdowns on defense and special teams, the 49ers held Philadelphia scoreless on Sunday. The last time San Francisco shut out an opponent straight up was when the team drubbed the New York Jets, 34-0, on Sept. 30, 2012. Here are the highlights from that game.