Fooch's Note: We'll have a weekly review of the weekend's NFC West action to keep us up to date on how things are going in what should be a wild divisional race. Thanks to Derek for handling this.
The NFC West went 2-2 to start off the season, which wasn't a guarantee as the Rams and Cardinals played teams outside of their division last weekend. The Rams had a rough start to the season, as they lost an early lead and some key players against the Eagles. It wasn't the body bag game by any means, but their weekend certainly could have gone better.
The Seahawks' special teams got burned by the majestic Ted Ginn Jr. while the Cardinals were also saved by a great punt return by Patrick Peterson. After the jump, we'll take a closer look at how the teams fared and look forward to next week and beyond.St. Louis Rams: Lost 31-13 vs. Philadelphia Eagles
From what I saw of the game, Sam Bradford's receivers didn't give him much help. Rookie tight end Lance Kendricks dropped several passes, as did several other Rams. The defense did hold Michael Vick to under a 50% completion rate, but they got absolutely gashed for over 200 rushing yards.
The biggest story moving forward for the Rams, however, is the injuries they sustained. Bradford's favorite target from a year ago, Danny Amendola, dislocated his elbow and could be out for the year. Steven Jackson had a right quadriceps injury and will have an MRI on today. Sam Bradford's xray on his finger was negative.
The standout player for the Rams was definitely Cadillac Williams. He ran for 91 yards on 19 carries and also caught 6 passes for 49 yards. They Rams have to feel better a lot better about their back up running back situation. Williams is the best backup they have had there in years.
The next couple games for the Rams are going to be big. They play at the New York Giants next week, though after the Giants' performance yesterday, that might not be such a bad game. After a winnable game against the Redskins week 3, they have to play the Packers, Cowboys, and Saints. Brutal. It's not crazy to think they could start off the season with a 1-4 or even 0-5 record.
Patrick Peterson put on his Ted Ginn cape in the fourth quarter and made what ended up being the game winning touchdown on a punt return. Kevin Kolb had a nice debut for the Cardinals, throwing for 309 yards and two touchdowns. He did fumble twice, however, and the Panthers recovered one of them.
Overall, the Cardinals offense performed pretty well, averaging 11 yards per pass and 4 yards per rush. Beanie Wells had a nice day as well, gaining 90 yards on 18 carries and scoring a touchdown. The defense didn't do as well though, as they let a rookie quarterback torch them for over 400 yards passing. They did hold up well against the run, though, allowing only 2.7 yards per attempt. Still, they need to shore up their pass defense.
Their next two games will be on the road against the Redskins and then the Seahawks. Both are winnable games, but if Rex Grossman continues to make me eat crow that could be a tough game for them. The Seahawks are tough at home, but if their offense plays anything like they did against the 49ers on Sunday that should be a win for the Cardinals.
The offense didn't look good to start the season for the Seahawks. Their offensive line actually held up pretty well in pass protection, despite Tarvaris Jackson getting sacked five times. Most of the sacks looked to be from either good coverage down the field or Jackson being indecisive with the ball.
They averaged only 4.2 yards per pass attempt and 2.9 yards per rush. That is just not going to cut it. They did try some screen passes, which the 49ers have struggled against in the past, but I didn't see one that worked. Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman were all over it.
Defensively, they actually played very well. They were stout against the run and didn't give up very many plays. Earl Thomas really stood out out to me. He was very quick to the ball on underneath passes. The downfall of the Seahawks were penalties and special teams. They gave up a kick and punt return to Tedd Ginn and committed 11 penalties for 72 yards.
They have a relatively tough schedule coming up. They play at the Pittsburgh Steelers, and they will be looking to take out their week one frustrations on the Seahawks. After that they have their first home game against the Cardinals, which could be winnable, followed by a game at home against the Falcons.