The San Francisco 49ers had struggles Sunday but managed to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers and go to 3-0. The win has them on their best start since 1998. They certainly can’t get cocky now because the brutal stretch of the schedule begins. First, the 49ers will hit a bye and hopefully get healthy, then they have the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football and then an away game against the Los Angeles Rams. Those two teams mentioned above played tonight and the Rams won. Ugh.
And so there is now a 2-way tie for first place of the NFC West. Let’s look at what happened in the division.
Seattle Seahawks (2-1)
The Seahawks, in Seattle, played a backup quarterback as well. The difference is the Seahawks got beat. The New Orleans Saints came to Seattle in a game anyone could have written off as a Seattle win, but instead, a punt return touchdown made things interesting, and the Saints had it at 27-7 going into the 4th quarter.
The Seahawks got some of that Seahawk magic and started clawing back with two Russell Wilson rushing touchdowns and one pass. It just wasn’t enough, and the Saints won 33-27. The question if Teddy Bridgewater played well or if the Seahawks played poorly will be going around this week. In any case, the Saints did the 49ers—and the Rams—a favor.
Los Angeles Rams (3-0)
The Rams held on and came back late to beat the Cleveland Browns in Cleveland. I can’t decide how much of this is on the Rams and how much of this was on atrocious play calling with the Browns. The Browns knocked on the endzone to tie things up with seconds left, but four pass plays from Baker Mayfield led to an interception and the Rams walking out of Cleveland with a 20-13 victory.
The 49ers will play the Browns when returning from bye on Monday Night Football. The Browns are beatable, but if the 49ers play this five-turnover style of football they played on Sunday, they will get their bells rung and be out of it by the end of the first quarter.
The Rams, on the other hand, had some issues on offense. They didn’t score a touchdown in the first half for one thing. Their running game combined for 91 total yards for another. While they won the game, they have some things to clean up. The 49ers have their own set of issues, but once again, something seemed off with the Rams Sunday night.
Arizona Cardinals (0-2-1)
The thump of the division goes to the Arizona Cardinals where the one-dimensional Carolina Panthers absolutely dominated them. How bad of a thumping? Backup quarterback Kyle Allen had a passer rating of 144.4.
Running back Christian McCaffrey had himself a day as well going for 153 yards and a touchdown.
That said, Kyler Murray completed 69.8 percent of his passes, but threw two picks and only had 173 yards on 30 completions. That’s not very much yardage for that much passing. Murray had the highest rushing totals of the Cardinals, and his rushing yards of 69 are more than his highest receiver, Christian Kirk who had ten receptions for 59 yards (again..ick).
The Cardinals are a mess, and I can’t decide if it’s because it’s a new offense, a rookie quarterback, a bad team, or all three — not a good showing.
Into Week 4
It is now a two-way tie in the NFC West between the 49ers and the Rams. If only the Browns could have run something besides repeated pass plays. Ugh.
The first NFC West divisional matchup happens in Week 4 with the Cardinals and Seahawks squaring off. Expect a Seahawk win, but it’d certainly be great if the Cardinals could add to the Seahawks loss total.
The Rams will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It’s hard to gauge how good/bad the Bucs are. They beat the Panthers in Week 2, but then managed to get lit up by a rookie quarterback with the New York Giants.
T-1st: Los Angeles Rams; Next: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
T-1st: San Francisco 49ers; Next: BYE
3rd: Seattle Seahawks; Next: at Arizona Cardinals
4th: Arizona Cardinals; Next: vs. Seattle Seahawks