Haason Reddick sets tone vs. 49ers, continuing monster season for Eagles

Haason Reddick has been pressuring NFL quarterbacks all season long and the veteran pass rusher needed only six plays to make an early impact in Sunday’s NFC Championship victory for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Reddick’s first quarter sack and collision with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy set the tone in a physical defensive performance as the Eagles rolled to a 31-7 victory. On a 2nd-and-6 play from the 50-yard line, Reddick shrugged off a block from 49ers back-up tight end Tyler Kroft and closed in on Purdy, hitting the rookie gunslinger which jostled the ball loose.

Not only was Purdy forced out of majority of the game due to an elbow injury, but Nick Sirianni challenged the incomplete pass ruling, which was overturned and ruled an Eagles fumble recovery. It was a game changing play early in the first quarter which continued the stellar season that Reddick has delivered for his hometown team.

“It’s a pass play, tight end was on me. Whew, that’s a recipe for disaster right there,” Reddick said postgame. “I thought he was going to chip. I didn’t realize that he would be on me the whole time.

“At the end of the day, I’m just glad to be any type of help, any type of asset to this team at the end of the day,” he added. “I never think, ‘Oh, I’m going to get this many sacks.’ I just go out there. I play hard and when this clock is over, I’ll see what happens.”

Reddick’s second major contribution to the game came right after the Eagles captured a 14-7 advantage in the second quarter. San Francisco had tied things up through Christian McCaffrey’s 23-yard touchdown run, but the Eagles answered back with a 14-play, 75-yard touchdown drive of their own to regain the lead.

10-year veteran Josh Johnson stepped in for the injured Purdy and felt Reddick’s presence not long after as his fumbled snap was recovered by the New Jersey native at the 49ers 30-yard line. Boston Scott raced in for a 10-yard touchdown just three plays later and the Eagles led 21-7 at halftime.

It was a dominant first half for the offseason acquisition, who was snubbed from the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year vote in 2022-23.

“Give me my respect,” Reddick said when asked about not being in the league’s DPOY vote. “When they talk about everyone else, remember Haason Reddick as well.”

Reddick now has 19.5 sacks for the Eagles this season (regular season and playoffs), being the leader of a dominant and physical defensive front. The six-year veteran had never been to the NFL Playoffs prior to his move to Philadelphia, let alone the Super Bowl, but now has the opportunity to lift the elusive trophy in two weeks time in Phoenix, Arizona.

After watching many of dominant defensive players capture Super Bowl glory in the past, Reddick is now privileged to have his first opportunity in February.

“It’s a blessing. It’s a blessing,” Reddick said. “It took me six years to get here [to the playoffs]. To be able to come home, my first year, and then get here [to the Super Bowl] with the hometown team, it’s a blessing. It’s a blessing.”

You can follow Larry Henry on Twitter (@lhenry019) and e-mail him at [email protected].

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