What we're talking about after the Eagles' playoff-clinching victory over San Francisco:
1. Quentin Demps’ unusual 48-yard kickoff return and DeSean Jackson’s 19-yard touchdown reception produced the Eagles’ first TD. How did Jackson get that open again? Because touted linebacker Pat Willis bit and chose to pursue scrambling QB Donovan McNabb instead of staying in coverage. Not a good choice.
2. Three more years! Andy Reid’s clockwork offense, run by the coach with the new contract extension, burned two timeouts due to play-calling and went for it (and failed) fourth-and-1 at their own 29 within the first 20 minutes – all with the lead.
3. The Eagles picked off Alex Smith three times in the first half, telegraphed throws on patterns the Eagles seemed to know the routes, and converted those interceptions into six points.
4. The Eagles unnecessarily burned all three timeouts in the first half, costing them perhaps two shots, if not three, at the end zone at the end of the half.
5. Asante Samuel had an interception, sure, but as many eyebrows rose when he whiffed on Josh Morgan’s 22-yard catch-and-run on third-and-14. Samuel later nearly knocked Morgan out on a third-down hit, which limited the Niners to a field goal.
6. DeSean Jackson finished with six catches for 140 yards and a touchdown and now has 1,087 receiving yards this season. He burned Dre Bly and Michael Lewis all night, most notably for a 59-yarder that set up the clinching TD. He might have had another 60-yard reception, maybe for a touchdown, but he was overthrown. Unstoppable.
7. Michael Vick got a charley horse running like a tailback at the end of the first quarter and didn’t return. Perhaps the Eagles will now cease using him like a tailback.
-- Marcus Hayes
NUMBERS TO PONDER
* DeSean Jackson became just the third Eagle to register 1,000 receiving yards in a season in the Andy Reid era. With 140 yards yesterday, Jackson’s got 1,087 with 2 games left. The other two Reid Eagles to crack 1,000 – Terrell Owens and Kevin Curtis.
* Todd Herremans’ holding penalty in the third quarter was just the fifth of the season by Eagles offensive linemen, and only the third in the last 8 games.
* Jackson’s 59-yard reception in the third quarter was his 10th catch of 40-plus yards this season.
* For just the second time this season, the Eagles didn’t allow a sack. The only other game they didn’t give up one was Week 3 vs. the Chiefs.
* For the ninth time in 14 games, the Eagles scored on their first possession Sunday. They’ve scored 51 points on their first possession this season.
* For the second time this season, the Eagles held an opponent without a third-down conversion. The Niners were 0-for-11 on third down, though they were 3-for-4 on fourth down. The Bucs were 0-for-11 on third down against the Eagles in Week 5.
* The Eagles have lost just seven fumbles this season. The fewest ever by an Andy Reid-coached team was 10 in 2001 and ’08.
* The Eagles, who had 33 rushing attempts against the Niners, have had 24 or more rushing attempts in eight of their last nine games.
* Trent Cole had 2 sacks against the Niners to run his season total to 11 ½. He also had 2 hurries. In the last five games, he has four sacks and 14 hurries.
-- Paul Domowitch
The Eagles host the Denver Broncos at 4:15 next Sunday at the Linc. The Broncos are coming off a tough 20-19 loss to Oakland. And, of course, most of the attention will be on the return of Brian Dawkins.
Denver Post beat writer Mike Kizla says Dawkins has been the Broncos' MVP this season. Writes Kizla: "Even Broncomaniacs who still miss Mike Shanahan have to give Josh McDaniels one thing: The single most important personnel move made by the rookie coach during his first year on the job in Denver was not trading Jay Cutler. It was acquiring Dawkins. And if you can't comprehend why, you don't understand football. It's as obvious as the difference between a winner and loser."
To read Domo's Eagles-Niners report card, click here
Sam Donnellon chats Eagles at 1:30 today. And be sure to check Eagletarian later for a full report from Andy Reid's day-after news conference.