Eagles vs. 49ers score: Carson Wentz, Philly defense step up to upset San Francisco and take NFC East lead

The Philadelphia Eagles did not necessarily have a pretty night in San Francisco to close Sunday's Week 4 action, but they did, in fact, get the job done. Despite a rough start, in which Carson Wentz threw his seventh interception in just four games, as well as a late push by C.J. Beathard, who took over for a struggling Nick Mullens at the helm of Kyle Shanahan's offense, Philadelphia stepped up when it mattered. Working with a makeshift supporting cast, Wentz threw a perfect fourth-quarter touchdown to put the Eagles in front, while the Birds' defense broke a streak of zero-turnover games with a trio of them against Mullens, sealing a 25-20 upset.

With the win, the Eagles' first of an injury- and turnover-riddled 2020 season, Philly vaults into an improbable first-place standing in the woeful NFC East. The Niners, meanwhile, fall to .500 in a competitive NFC West that also saw the Arizona Cardinals lose on Sunday.

Here are some immediate takeaways from the Eagles' much-needed upset of San Francisco:

Why the Eagles won

Carson Wentz finally got to play with practice-squadders? No. 11 was not perfect on Sunday night, with an early pass unluckily falling into the Niners' hands and a few others going off the mark, but just like late in 2019, he also thrived when it mattered most alongside a makeshift supporting cast. With only Greg Ward, John Hightower and scout-team call-ups Travis Fulgham and Deontay Burnett active at wide receiver, Wentz did just enough with both his arm and legs, most notably floating a perfect deep-ball TD to Fulgham in the fourth quarter. (Fulgham, by the way, had maybe the best play by an Eagles receiver this season.)

It was a wild Week 4 Sunday, and there's a lot to go over. John Breech, Ryan Wilson and host Will Brinson break it all down on the Pick Six Podcast; listen below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.

Jim Schwartz's defense deserves just as much, if not more, credit for the win, however. The linebackers were largely atrocious in their defense of George Kittle and the Niners' motion running game, but the front four dominated much of the night, putting Nick Mullens under duress (and eventually on the bench) and setting up three key takeaways that injected tons of life into Philly.

Why the 49ers lost

Nick Mullens may have filled in admirably for Jimmy Garoppolo against the Giants, but against the Eagles with pressure in his face, it was an entirely different story. Kyle Shanahan did a fine job scheming up quick strikes and run-based motions early in Sunday night's contest, but whenever Mullens dropped back and didn't find Kittle, things were ugly. C.J. Beathard looked sharp and comfortable in the final few minutes after taking over under center, but that was too little, too late. Speaking of the run game, Shanahan probably could've turned to Jerick McKinnon just a touch more throughout the evening.

On the other side of the ball, San Francisco wasn't bad, especially considering their injury report. But they probably should've had a bit more heat on Wentz, who was playing behind an almost completely-backup O-line. In the secondary, meanwhile, they kept Eagles targets in front of them for almost the entire night -- except for at one of the most critical points in the game, when Wentz found Fulgham for that huge fourth-quarter score.

Turning point

Third-and-10, Niners ball at their own 45, with San Francisco up by three and only 10 minutes on the clock. Just a single first down would've allowed the 49ers to keep milking the clock and ice away their lead. Instead, Mullens held the ball with nobody open, and Eagles cornerback Cre'Von LeBlanc, coming in hot on a rare Jim Schwartz blitz, popped the ball right out of his hands and into the waiting arms of his teammate. That turnover set up Philly's go-ahead drive and completely swung momentum back in the visitors' favor, with the Eagles also picking Mullens off San Francisco's subsequent drive.

Play of the game

In a game that was low-scoring until the fourth, with some sloppy offense from both sides, Wentz's beauty of a sideline-touch TD to Fulgham was easily the highlight of the night:

What's next

The Eagles (1-2-1) will face another tall task in Week 5, when they travel to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0), who are also coming off an early bye week thanks to their postponed game against the Titans. The 49ers (2-2), meanwhile, will stay home to host the Miami Dolphins (1-3), who fell just short against the undefeated Seahawks in Week 4.

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Season Leaders

passing
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J. Hurts916 YD, 4 TDS, 1 INT
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J. Hurts916 YD, 4 TDS, 1 INT
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J. Garoppolo365 YD, 2 TDS, 1 INT
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J. Garoppolo365 YD, 2 TDS, 1 INT
rushing
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M. Sanders45 ATT, 222 YD, 1 TD
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M. Sanders45 ATT, 222 YD, 1 TD
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J. Wilson39 ATT, 181 YD
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J. Wilson39 ATT, 181 YD
receiving
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A. Brown20 REC, 309 YD, 1 TD
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A. Brown20 REC, 309 YD, 1 TD
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B. Aiyuk10 REC, 142 YD, 1 TD
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B. Aiyuk10 REC, 142 YD, 1 TD
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The Eagles come back and win an ugly, injured-marred game, 25-20. At 1-2-1, they are officially in first place in the horrid NFC East. For whatever that's worth.

October 5, 2020, 3:31 AM
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And McGlinchey gets beat again on third down, this time by Brandon Graham. Yikes.

October 5, 2020, 3:30 AM
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Mike McGlinchey has not had a good night.

October 5, 2020, 3:30 AM
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Maybe the 49ers are going to try an onside kick? I guess that makes sense, since you can try to recover the kick and time is unlikely to run off the clock.

October 5, 2020, 3:19 AM
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And that's exactly what they get. Now Robbie Gould needs to boot the kickoff out of the end zone to make sure no time comes off the clock and the Niners get their free timeout from the two-minute.

October 5, 2020, 3:16 AM
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Bourne is definitely short on that one. Gotta figure the Niners will be right up on the line of scrimmage to run their play to see if they can get a score before the two-minute warning.

October 5, 2020, 3:14 AM
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FANTASTIC whip route from Kendrick Bourne right there. Totally fooled the DB.

October 5, 2020, 3:12 AM
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The Eagles just have so many guys along the defensive line that can get after the quarterback. They rotate these guys through and late in games when they're leading they can just keep coming in waves.

October 5, 2020, 3:09 AM
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CJ Beathard actually matriculating the ball downfield...

October 5, 2020, 3:08 AM
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Wow Mullens has been benched. Quite a fall from one week to the next.

October 5, 2020, 3:06 AM
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Did Nick Mullens ... think Alex Singleton was wearing a Niners jersey? Not sure there's been more of a gift interception this year.

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Boy this game has taken a turn.

October 5, 2020, 3:03 AM
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Now, let's see what Kyle Shanahan has up his sleeve. Nick Mullens, is this your moment?

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No joke: That might've been the most impressive play by an Eagles wide receiver this season.

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And they make it up on the next play with a beautiful throw down the sideline to ... [checks notes] ... Travis Fulgham.

October 5, 2020, 2:58 AM
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