After 56 minutes of frustrating 49ers football, tempers flared in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game.
With the game nearly over in favor of Philadelphia, the Eagles stopped San Francisco’s Christian McCaffrey from a first down on a third down late in the fourth quarter. Several scrums broke out after the game, ultimately resulting in ejections for both teams.
Eagles and 49ers players continued to regroup in a second scrum long after the first whistle. By then, Trent Williams had apparently seen enough. The San Francisco 49ers left tackle grabbed Eagles safety K’Von Wallace and then threw him to the turf. Wallace, seemingly unfazed after being knocked to the ground by a 320-pound man, popped up and immediately threw a punch.
Williams was out of reach then, and Wallace’s punch linked to the 49ers facemask left guard Aaron Banks. Williams, meanwhile, was trading blows with other Eagles players who didn’t appreciate his aggression.
The 49ers players then poured onto the field from the near sideline, while the Eagles bench players were rounded up by their coaching staff. Philadelphia still has something to play for.
After several flags flew, the matter finally aired. Officials urged “both teams to stay on the sidelines, please” over loudspeakers at Lincoln Financial Field. After the dust settled, officials called in Williams and Wallace to make up for unnecessary roughness penalties. Both players were sent off. Play eventually resumed and Deebo Samuel fumbled on the next play.
The incident had no impact on the outcome of the match, which the Eagles were leading at the time by a final margin of 31-7. Philadelphia struck first, then hurt San Francisco’s two starting quarterbacks in a game that quickly spiraled out of control. A 49ers defense that has dominated opposing offenses all season had no response for an Eagles offense that scored four rushing touchdowns. San Francisco’s offense, meanwhile, didn’t stand a chance as it was forced to face an injured Brock Purdy after running out of healthy quarterbacks.
It wasn’t what the 49ers expected or signed up with a Super Bowl shot on the line. It’s no surprise that the simmering tension eventually boiled over with the game spiraling out of control.