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How the West Was Won Week 2: Cardinals soaring, Seahawks flailing

Two weeks in the books, and the two-time defending NFC champions have yet to taste victory.

Raise your hand if you’re surprised.

Seattle lost their second straight road game to start the campaign, while St. Louis and San Francisco came crashing down to Earth after impressive Week 1 wins.

The Arizona Cardinals, meanwhile, went into Soldier Field and obliterated the Chicago Bears 48-23, matching the most points they’ve scored in a game since moving to the Valley in 1988.

Here’s a little closer look at what transpired in the division in Week 2:

Arizona Cardinals 48, Chicago Bears 23

Those people who felt like Larry Fitzgerald couldn’t play anymore, or was at least a shell of his former awesome self, feel pretty dumb right about now. The 32-year-old snared eight passes for 112 yards and found the end zone three times in the Cardinals’ Windy City cakewalk.

But Fitzgerald wasn’t the only one with his fingerprints all over the game — quarterback Carson Palmer threw four touchdown passes and rookie David Johnson opened the contest with a 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Johnson also ran for a touchdown. The third-round pick out of Northern Iowa has already scored touchdowns in three different ways in 2015 — even though he’s only touched the ball nine times.

Washington Redskins 24, St. Louis Rams 10

The Rams were sky-high after knocking off the Seattle Seahawks in overtime in their opener. But in the immortal words of Fred Willard’s character in A Mighty Wind, “Wha’ Happened?”

St. Louis’ vaunted defense gave up 182 yards on the ground to the Redskins, namely Matt Jones. The rookie third-round pick out of Florida gashed the Rams for 123 yards and two touchdowns. The Nick Foles-led offense only mustered 213 yards of its own.

“In order for us to win the game, we were going to have to run it and stop the run and get off the field on third down, and we didn’t do any one of those with any consistency,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said.

In fact, the Redskins converted 50 percent (8-of-16) of their third-down conversions, while the Rams converted only 2-of-12.

Pittsburgh Steelers 43, San Francisco 49ers 18

San Francisco’s defense looked super-human in their opener against Minnesota last Monday night. It looked sub-human Sunday at Heinz Field.

The Steelers rolled up 453 yards and 43 points in an easy win. The game marked the first time since 2009 that the Niners have allowed more than 40 points and 450 yards. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 369 yards and three touchdowns and veteran DeAngelo Williams continued to fill in admirably for the suspended Le’Veon Bell, with 77 yards and two scores.

Colin Kaepernick did throw for 335 yards and two touchdowns, but the 49ers were playing catch-up from the get-go — Pittsburgh led 29-3 at the half.

It should be noted that the Steelers were coming off a long 10-day absence after dropping their Thursday night opener to New England, while the 49ers did play Monday night and traveled to the Eastern time zone. But, such is life in the NFL.

Green Bay Packers 27, Seattle Seahawks 17

Believe it or not, the Seahawks have now lost three straight games dating back to last year’s Super Bowl. It’s the first time they’ve dropped three in a row since falling to San Francisco and Arizona in the final two weeks of the 2011 regular season and then falling in their opener to the Cardinals in 2012.

The Seahawks led Green Bay 17-16 heading into the fourth quarter, but turned the ball over on their final two possessions to seal their fate in a rematch of last year’s epic NFC Championship Game.

Cornerback Richard Sherman encapsulated the Seahawks’ collective feeling after falling to 0-2.

“We’re just a veteran group. We’ve been here before. We’ll be fine.”

It’s hard to believe that they won’t.

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NFC West Standings – Week 2

Team Record PF PA Next
cardinals150wordmark 2-0 79 42 vs. San Francisco
rams150wordmark 1-1 44 55 vs. Pittsburgh
49ers150wordmark 1-1 38 46 at Arizona
seahawks150wordmark 0-2 48 61 vs. Chicago

Top Offensive Performers – Week 2

Passing

• Carson Palmer (ARZ) – 17-24-185 yds 4 TD, 1 INT…115.5 QB rating

• Colin Kaepernick (SF) – 33-46-335 yds 2 TD, 0 INT…106.7 QB rating

• Russell Wilson (SEA) – 19-30-206 yds 2 TD, 1 INT…91.8 QB rating

• Nick Foles (STL) – 17-32-150 yds 1 TD, 0 INT…76.3 QB rating


Rushing

• Russell Wilson (SEA) – 10-78-0

• Chris Johnson (ARZ) – 20-72-0

• Colin Kaepernick (SF) – 9-51-0

• Carlos Hyde (SF) – 13-43-0

• David Johnson (ARZ) – 5-42-1


Receiving

• Torrey Smith (SF) – 6-120-1 TD

• Larry Fitzgerald (ARZ) – 8-112-3 TD

• Doug Baldwin (SEA) – 7-92-1 TD

• Vernon Davis (SF) – 5-62-0

• Anquan Boldin (SF) – 6-60-1 TD


Award Winners

Larry Fitzgerald, Terrance Mitchell, Antrel RolleOffensive Player of the Week: Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona – It’s hard to believe that Sunday was Fitzgerald’s three-touchdown regular-season game. Of course, Fitz did have three scores in an NFC Divisional Playoff win over Carolina in 2009, part of his ridiculous postseason run on the way to the franchise’s only trip to the Super Bowl.

Tony JeffersonDefensive Player of the Week: Tony Jefferson, S, Arizona – The third-year man celebrated his son’s first birthday with a huge game at Soldier Field. Jefferson had nine tackles and his first career interception, which he returned for a touchdown in the second quarter.

David JohnsonSpecial Teams Player of the Week: David Johnson, KR, Arizona – Yes, it’s a big red sweep in the awards section this week. Johnson set the tone for Arizona by returning the opening kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown. Johnson has two kick returns on the season, and is averaging 75.5 yards per pop.

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