Well, now we know what happens to the NFC West when the 49ers take a week off. It goes to absolute hell. The division combined for 30 points yesterday. The Rams let a rookie run all over them for 250 yards and the Seahawks managed just 137 yards of total offense. Even with the 49ers emergence, this division is pathetic. There aren't enough adjectives to describe how bad the rest of the division is.
Despite that fact, I'll do my best to recap the division's performance last weekend. I will warn you, though, what you are about to read is extremely graphic and emotionally damaging. There is talk of A.J. Feeley and Charlie Whitehurst. The Cardinals secondary and the Rams
front seven entire defense is discussed as well.
Note: How great is that Charlie Whitehurst photo? Once his NFL career doesn't pan out, he should do shampoo commercials.
St. Louis Rams: Lost 7-34 vs. Dallas Cowboys
It didn't take long for the Rams to use Brandon Lloyd, but I don't think they planned on A.J. Feeley throwing to him. Lloyd was targeted 12 times and had 6 receptions for 74 yards. Feeley really wasn't that bad, though I could be saying that because I watched Kyle Boller play yesterday.
Feeley completed 20 of 33 passes for 196 yards and an interception. Honestly, those stats don't look that much different than Sam Bradford's. The Rams defense was horrific, especially against the run. Rookie DeMarco Murray rushed for 253 yards and averaged 10 yards a carry. The Cowboys as a team averaged 8.6 yards per rush. I don't mean to sound like Vernon Davis or Frank Gore, but it looks like the Rams defense just gave up.
The Rams pass defense was better, allowing 6.9 yards an attempt to Tony Romo, but with the way the Cowboys were running the ball, Romo could have spiked the ball into the dirt every pass play and they would have still won.
Even with the addition of Brandon Lloyd and Sam Bradford probably returning to the lineup next week, the Rams are done. They can't defend the run and their offense has scored just 56 points in six games. In other words, their season of offensive output doesn't beat the Saints yesterday. Speaking of the Saints, that's the team they play next week, followed by road games against the Cardinals and Browns.
Arizona Cardinals: Lost 20-32 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Before the season started, I thought Kevin Kolb was just Alex Smith with more fanfare. I was wrong. He's worse. He actually had one of his better games as of late against a tough Pittsburgh team, but I need to vent my frustrations a bit here. Kolb was supposed to save Larry Fitzgerald, and that's why I picked Fitzgerald early in my fantasy league. It hasn't happened yet.
The Cardinals pass defense continues to struggle. They gave up over 350 yards to Ben Roethlisberger and got absolutely torched by Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown. The good news? They shut down Rashard Mendenhall, who gained just 32 yards on 13 carries. Overall the Steelers averaged just 3.3 yards per carry.
Offensively, they performed pretty well considering the defense they were playing, though they averaged under four yards a carry. Kolb didn't have the best completion percentage, but he averaged 8 yards per attempt. The big loss, though, was Beanie Wells, who left the game who suffered a knee injury that is being evaluated.
Like the Rams, the Cardinals are playing themselves out of contention. They are already four games out of first place and the season isn't even halfway done. The Cardinals defense has to improve its pass defense in the now pass-happy NFL. The Cardinals travel to Baltimore next week, so it's looking like a 1-6 start for them. They have a winnable game against the Rams following that in what should be the most heavily anticipated game of the week.
Seattle Seahawks: Lost 3-6 vs. Cleveland Browns
Well, it turns out there is a difference in Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst. Yesterday really illustrated just how important the quarterback position is. Teams that had to start the likes of Whitehurst, Kyle Boller, John Beck, Matt Moore, Curtis Painter, and A.J. Feeley had a rough time.
I know I do 49ers opponents scouting posts, but please, for the love of Justin Smith, don't make me watch the Seahawks-Browns game tape. I have a family that tolerates me.
Whitehurst averaged a pitiful 3.2 yards per pass attempt, a number that would make even Blaine Gabbert cringe. They also lost running back Marshawn Lynch to a back injury early in the game and he did not have a single rush attempt. I don't want to talk about the offense anymore. It sucked. They managed just 137 yards of total offense.
The Seahawks run defense continues to impress. The Browns averaged just 3.2 yards per rush attempt on the day. This was in no way the defenses fault. They did their job and held the Browns to under 300 yards of total offense. This loss is pinned on a horrible offense.
Next week the Seahawks face the Bengals at home. Their home field advantage (if the fans are still showing up) could be enough for them to pull out a victory, but the Bengals have proven to be a tough matchup. After that, they travel to Dallas to play the Cowboys and then face the Ravens. With a schedule like that, the 49ers can continue to build on their division lead.