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Eagles destroyed by 49ers as popular security chief gets ejected and villain Deebo Samuel shines

Dom DiSandro served as an inspiration for the Birds. It was not enough to stop Samuel, who scored three touchdowns.

49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel runs for a 12-yard touchdown run past Eagles safety Kevin Byard (right) and cornerback Darius Slay.
49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel runs for a 12-yard touchdown run past Eagles safety Kevin Byard (right) and cornerback Darius Slay.Read moreDavid Maialetti / Staff Photographer

If the Eagles had shown half the fight of security chief Dom DiSandro, maybe they’d have had a chance to win.

But the team that showed so much heart for the first 11 games barely had a pulse Sunday in the much-hyped NFC title game rematch. The 49ers lost that game after the Birds knocked out Cinderella starting quarterback Brock Purdy, last season’s last draft pick, as well as Purdy’s backup. That led to 11 months of the sort of whining, crying, and what-iffing usually reserved for College Football Playoff bridesmaids.

The whining only grew louder as the Eagles went to the Super Bowl, then ascended to the top of the standings this season. The Birds stoically endured the gamesmanship, but, by kickoff Sunday in South Philly, the 49ers wanted blood.

They got it.

» READ MORE: DeSean Jackson: I knew Jalen Hurts was better than Carson Wentz all along

In fact, the 49ers’ dismemberment of the Eagles’ could hardly have been be more complete: 42-19.

It wasn’t that close.

A day ago, the Eagles were cocks of the walk, best team in the league. They still stand atop the NFC at 10-2. but their chances of earning the No. 1 overall seed, and the NFC East title, are in jeopardy. Wins Sunday against the 49ers and next Sunday at Dallas would have given the Birds the best shot at the top seed and the crucial bye week that accompanies it. Now the Eagles, once poised to roar into the postseason, seem likely to whimper into it.

They play Dallas on Sunday Night Football in Texas. They nearly lost the first Dallas game a month ago, and they haven’t won at Dallas since 2017.

The Birds began Sunday with a bang, but after the first quarter, Big Dom was the only Bird with any real spunk left. His contribution lasted one play — after a sideline altercation with 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw, both were ejected — but, for all of Dom’s enthusiasm, it wasn’t nearly enough for the Eagles.

They lost, 42-19.

They were beaten, 42-19.

They were manhandled, 42-19.

You choose the verb. Just make sure it conveys emasculation.

“I think they used emotion to their advantage,” said cornerback James Bradberry, whom 49ers receiver Deebo Samuel called “trash” after the Niners lost to the Eagles last season.

The Niners looked like “trash” early, but the reversal of fortune was breathtaking. Eagles’ defensive line dominated the first two possessions. They got their butts handed to them on the second two possessions, and that’s why the 49ers scored two touchdowns.

The Eagles’ offensive line dominated all five possessions in the first half, and Jalen Hurts was brilliant on the first two, and that’s why they opened the game with two field goals. Hurts struggled after that, and that’s why the Eagles gained 25 yards on their last three possessions of the first half. He was a little better in the third quarter.

Hurts then left the sideline for the locker room early in the fourth quarter and was examined for a concussion after taking a hellacious shot from Oren Burks at the end of a 5-yard scramble late in the third quarter.

» READ MORE: Good news: Jalen Hurts emerged unscathed from the Eagles’ loss to the 49ers. Bad news: Everything else.

The Eagles rode to an NFL-best 10-1 record on the backs of double-digit comebacks engineered by Hurts, who entered the game as the MVP favorite. Hurts came back to the field, but, on this wet Sunday evening, that’s the only comeback he would engineer.

It was over, essentially, when the 49ers got the ball to start the third quarter after scoring touchdowns on their last two possessions of the first half. The intermission made no difference for the Eagles, who remained pliant.

Jauan Jennings converted third-and-5 for 15 yards, because Jennings beat Eli Ricks by 10 yards. Then Nicholas Morrow decided to not cover Christian McCaffrey, who caught a 33-yard floater, soon after which Samuel followed an escort of blockers 12 yards, past three tired Eagles, into the end zone.

That gave the 49ers a 21-6 lead. It came on the heels of two pre-snap penalties by defensive end Josh Sweat, who now has committed four numskull penalties in three weeks. These are the sorts of penalties that the Eagles could not afford against the team that has been the most efficient in the NFL for nine of their 12 games.

The Niners lacked all-purpose weapon Samuel for essentially three of those 12 games, all losses. Samuel returned four games ago, now all wins. He touched the ball seven times, gained 138 yards, scored a career-best three touchdowns, and validated his aspersions. He was the most disrespectful of the 49ers after the NFC title game — so much so that teammate Brandon Aiyuk feared for his safety after the team arrived Friday in Philly.

“I was scared to leave the hotel,” Aiyuk said. He’d observed Samuel for days: “I knew he was going to be ready to go.”

Samuel might not even have been the 49ers’ best offensive player. That was, as usual, McCaffrey. He finished with 133 all-purpose yards and a TD.

Purdy? He was superb: 19-for-27, 314 yards, and four touchdowns, matching his career best.

Hurts was not great: 26-for-45, 298 yards, one touchdown, but it was so late as to be meaningless. Hesitant, confused, Hurts had his worst big-game performance since he was a rookie.


Dom was awesome.

The Eagles’ burly top cop was ejected with just over nine minutes to play in the third quarter of the Eagles’ game against the visiting 49ers, after becoming involved in a sideline incident with Greenlaw.

DiSandro helped separate Greenlaw from DeVonta Smith after Greenlaw overzealously tackled Smith with a body slam at the sideline, at DiSandro’s feet. During games, DiSandro is tasked with protecting Eagles coach Nick Sirianni, who was standing at the site of the incident. Greenlaw was penalized 12 yards for unnecessary roughness on the play.

During the separation, DiSandro lightly shoved Greenlaw to ensure the linebacker would not further engage. Greenlaw took exception and appeared to throw a punch at DiSandro.

After a brief discussion, officials decided to eject both Greenlaw and DiSandro.

DiSandro left the field to raucous cheers from the sellout crowd at Lincoln Financial Field. The incident seemed to inspire the flagging Eagles, who proceeded to score a touchdown five plays later, cutting the 49ers’ lead to 21-13.

So yes, Big Dom — big brother to every Eagle, father figure to many — inspired the Eagles.

That inspiration was not nearly enough.