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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

49ers Win 9th in a Row As Defense Downs Eagles

PHILADELPHIA -- The old San Francisco 49ers routed teams with offense.


They did it Monday night with defense and special teams, beating Philadelphia 24-12 as Merton Hanks returned a fumble for a touchdown, Chuck Levy scored on a 73-yard punt return, and Curtis Buckley's disputed hit and fumble recovery set up a third touchdown.


Dana Stubblefield had 3 1/2 of San Francisco's eight sacks as the 49ers won their ninth straight game since an opening-week loss in Tampa.


That moved them within a victory of their fifth NFC West title in six years and their 14th in 17 seasons.


For Philadelphia (4-6), it was the first loss in five home games this season, and puts the Eagles in peril of missing the playoffs for the first time in Ray Rhodes' three seasons as head coach.


How unusual was this game, the first ever played by the Eagles in all-green uniforms?


San Francisco's offense, long its mainstay, gained just 213 yards for the game, and Steve Young was 13-of-23 for 103 yards.


The game's key play came 3 1/2 minutes into the second quarter, with the score at 7-6, when the Niners' Tommy Thompson punted to Philadelphia's Freddie Solomon. He signaled for a fair catch, but just as the ball got to him Buckley came crashing in. The ball came loose, and Buckley fell on it at the Philadelphia 26.


The officials ruled that Solomon never had possession, making it a muff and making him fair game for Buckley.


Three plays later, following a 19-yard pass from Young to Terrell Owens, Garrison Hearst took the ball in from the 1, and it was 14-6.


Then Tommy Hutton punted to Levy -- returning punts because Iheanyi Uweazuoke was out with a knee injury.


Levy took the ball, split two Philadelphia defenders, and sped untouched to the end zone for a 21-6 lead.


A federal judge Monday threw out the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission's $29 million antitrust lawsuit against the NFL, citing a lack of evidence.


U.S. District Judge Jean Hamilton ruled the St. Louis commission failed to prove the league conspired against the city when it required a $29 million relocation fee before approving the Rams' move to St. Louis in 1995.