How the West Was Won Week 10: Rams cruise again
After the first ten weeks of the 2017 NFL season, it’s clear that the NFC West is very much a two-horse race.
It’s just not being run by the horses most people thought it would entering the campaign.
The Seattle Seahawks, who have made the playoffs in each of the last five seasons, are right where they were expected to be.
But the Los Angeles Rams, who haven’t earned a playoff spot since 2004, remain in control of the division after another blowout win.
Here’s a closer look at everything that went down in the NFC West in Week 10.
Seattle Seahawks 22, Arizona Cardinals 16
Pete Carroll and company may as well buy a winter home in Glendale, because they sure do enjoy their time there. The Seahawks, who played in front of thousands of neon green-clad fans at University of Phoenix Stadium, improved to 4-0-1 in their last five regular-season visits to the desert.
Russell Wilson threw for 238 yards and two touchdowns and the Seattle defense completely bottled up Arizona running back Adrian Peterson, who collected only 29 yards on 21 carries.
The Seahawks led 15-10 early in the fourth quarter when Wilson started doing Wilson things. Facing a 2nd-and-22 from the Seattle 44-yard line, Wilson channeled his inner-Houdini by escaping pressure from Chandler Jones and Tyrann Mathieu and completed a desperation pass to Doug Baldwin that covered 54 yards and gave Seattle a first down on the Cardinals’ 2-yard line.
Wilson then hit Jimmy Graham for a touchdown pass on the next play. It was the second time they hooked up for a score in the game.
The win was costly, though. The Seahawks lost starting cornerback Richard Sherman for the remainder of the season to a ruptured Achilles tendon. Five other Seahawks left the game due to injury.
The Cardinals also suffered significant injuries, losing starting left tackle D.J.Humphries and safety Tyvon Branch for the year.
Stat of the Game: The rushing total mustered by Peterson truly told the story. Arizona head coach Bruce Arians made it perfectly clear heading into the game that Peterson is the focal point of the offense, yet his longest run was only 9 yards. Peterson became just the 18th player to have less than 30 yards in a game with more than 20 carries since 1950.
He Said It (Arizona): “We knew this would come down to a game of big plays, and we didn’t make enough. Obviously, Russell made a great play when he was trying to throw it out of bounds and that was probably the deciding factor in the game.” — Arizona head coach Bruce Arians.
He Said It (Seattle): “Everybody did their job. Sound gap discipline. Just attacking the ball, attacking him, and attacking everything.” — Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson on how the Seahawks stopped Peterson.
What’s Next: The Cardinals hit the road to take on the Houston Texans Sunday while the Seahawks get an extra day of preparation for their Monday night matchup against Atlanta at CenturyLink Field.
Los Angeles Rams 33, Houston Texans 7
Jared Goff threw three touchdown passes in an 8 minute span, including a 94-yarder to Robert Woods to start the scoring surge. It was the longest Rams’ offensive touchdown since 1964. With 1:33 left in the the third quarter, Goff hooked up with Sammy Watkins on a 17-yard score to put the Rams up 23-7.
That score didn’t remain on the board for long. On Houston’s next play from scrimmage, Tom Savage was strip-sacked by Samson Ebukam and Tyrunn Walker scooped it up and returned it to the Texans’ 12-yard line. Goff hit Woods with another touchdown on the next play.
Stat of the Game: The Rams have won three straight games by more than 25 points and lead the NFL in point differential at +134.
He Said It: “We’re playing with confidence right now and that’s a good place to be. We can go through some drives like that early on — we never want to — ultimately, we were just shooting ourselves in the foot a lot with penalties and negative plays.” — Quarterback Jared Goff on winning despite his team’s slow start.
What’s Next: The Rams visit the Minnesota Vikings in a matchup of two of the NFC’s best teams.
San Francisco 49ers 31, New York Giants 21
C.J. Beathard threw for 288 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another as the 49ers won for the first time since last Christmas Eve.
Beathard’s first touchdown pass of the day was to speedster Marquise Goodwin — a play that covered 83 yards and gave San Francisco a 10-6 lead in the second quarter.
The Giants answered. Eli Manning hit Evan Engram on a 9-yard touchdown pass just before the two-minute warning to give New York a 13-10 lead. But Beathard dialed up another big play, connecting with tight end Garret Celek on a 47-yard touchdown pass with under a minute remaining in the half.
Neither team scored in the third quarter, but the Niners broke it open in the fourth on Beathard’s touchdown run and a 33-yard jaunt by Matt Breida.
Stat of the Game: The 49ers racked up a season-high 188 yards on the ground, led by Carlos Hyde’s 98 on 17 carries. Breida added 55.
He Said It: “I feel good. I feel very good. Didn’t know it would take this long, but it was special with the guys and I was real happy for them. Those guys have been working so hard,” — 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan.
What’s Next: The 49ers will have to wait a while for the chance to build a winning streak as they’re on their bye week.
Offensive Player of the Week: Robert Woods, WR, Los Angeles Rams – The first-year Ram had his biggest day as a pro with 171 receiving yards and his second consecutive two-touchdown game.
Defensive Player of the Week: Kam Chancellor, S, Seattle Seahawks – The intimidating Chancellor had 10 total tackles, a tackle for loss that resulted in a safety, a pass defensed and a forced fumble in Seattle’s win over the Cardinals.
Special Teams Player of the Week: Jon Ryan, P, Seattle Seahawks – Ryan had a busy night, punting eight times, but averaged 49.8 per punt and pinned the Cardinals inside their own 5-yard line to start two possessions.
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