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How the West Was Won Week 5: Cardinals pick up a game on everyone

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver John Brown (12) celebrates his touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

All four NFC West teams headed east for road games in Week 5. OK, so the Rams went more north, but you get the idea.

Only one of the four left with a win.

The Arizona Cardinals got a decisive win over the Detroit Lions at Ford Field, pushing their record to 4-1 and stretching their division lead to two games.

Here’s a closer look at what went down in the NFC West in Week 5.

Arizona Cardinals 42, Detroit Lions 17

Chris JohnsonAfter losing a controversial decision that started with a costly turnover Monday night, the Detroit Lions picked up right where they left off on Sunday. The Lions turned the ball over six times while Carson Palmer threw three touchdowns and the Arizona running game churned out a season-high 187 yards on the ground in an easy 25-point win.

Detroit scored first, but the Cardinals (4-1) scored touchdowns on four straight second-quarter possessions to open a huge lead and never looked back.

The Cardinals are scoring at a prolific rate so far in 2015.

Arizona Money Quote: “Once we got the first couple turnovers, it was like piranhas with the blood in the water. I was just worried we were going to start taking the ball away from each other.” — Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians

Stat of the Game: There have been nine 40-point performances in the NFL this season — the Cardinals have three of them. They scored 48 against Chicago in Week 2 and 47 versus San Francisco the next week.

Green Bay Packers 24, St. Louis Rams 10

APTOPIX Rams Packers FootballThe Rams did some good things Sunday, just not enough of them to beat the Packers at Lambeau Field.

The St. Louis defense intercepted Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers twice — an amazing feat considering the quarterback had not thrown an interception in his home stadium since 2012.

Rookie Todd Gurley continued his stellar play, posting 159 yards on 30 carries. But the Rams couldn’t get into the end zone. St. Louis’ last five possessions included three missed field goals and two interceptions. In fact, Nick Foles threw a career-high four picks in the game, one of which was returned 45 yards for a touchdown by Quinton Rollins in the first quarter. Two of the picks happened in the red zone.

St. Louis Money Quote: “Can’t turn it over four times, especially turn it over to Aaron like we did. Yes, we got our run game going, and our defense played OK. But our defense gave up two touchdown passes, so that’s not OK by me. But disappointed we just couldn’t stay in it.” — Rams head coach Jeff Fisher

Stat of the Game: Foles had never thrown more than two picks in any of his previous 32 NFL appearances.

Cincinnati Bengals 27, Seattle Seahawks 24 (OT)

Andy DaltonWhen Bobby Wagner scooped up a Rex Burkhead fumble and rumbled 23 yards for a touchdown, things looked pretty much over at Paul Brown Stadium. Except nobody told Andy Dalton and the Bengals.

Cincinnati overcame a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit thanks to Dalton, who threw a touchdown pass and ran for a score during the comeback that pushed the Bengals’ record to 5-0.

Trailing by three with 2:17 left, Dalton engineered a 69-yard scoring drive that ended in a 31-yard field goal from Mike Nugent as time expired to force overtime. In the extra period, Seattle managed to net 12 yards on two possessions.

Seattle Money Quote: “The baffling part is we played so well for three quarters, we did so many good things, and (Cincinnati) is on fire. They showed it in the first drive, and we handled it all, we put it in place, and we just need to finish the game so we get the win.

“We’re clear about this, we know what we’re trying to get done and how we want to do it and our language and all of that. What’s startling is it’s not happening. We’ve had to be terrific in this mode for years to do what we’ve done, and there are three games here that are basically the same story line at the end. We can fix that and we can change the season around, and that’s what we plan to do.” – Seahawks coach Pete Carroll

Stat of the Game: Seattle matched its biggest collapse in franchise history by blowing a 17-point lead.

New York Giants 30, San Francisco 49ers 27

49ers Giants FootballThe 49ers played better, but it still wasn’t enough.

Carlos Hyde’s 2-yard touchdown run with 1:45 left put the Niners up 27-23, but the defense couldn’t hold on. Eli Manning led the Giants on an 82-yard scoring drive that ended in a beautiful 12-yard touchdown pass to tight end Larry Donnell with :21 left.

There were bright spots for San Francisco — most notably the performance of quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who completed 23-of-35 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns. His counterpart, Manning, completed 41-of-54 throws fro 441 yards and three touchdowns in the game. It was the first time a San Francisco defense has allowed an opposing quarterback to throw for 400 or more yards since New England’s Tom Brady threw for 425 in a Week 15 game in 2012.

San Francisco Money Quote: “In a loss, I have a hard time talking about anything good, but there were some things to build on. There were steps made.” — 49ers coach Jim Tomsula

Stat of the Game: The 49ers allowed 525 yards of offense, marking the first time they’ve allowed 500 or more since 2012.


Team Overall PF PA Home Away Conf. Div. NFC North AFC North
cardinals150wordmark 4-1 190 90 2-1 2-0 4-1 1-1 2-0 0-0
rams150wordmark 2-3 84 113 1-1 1-2 2-2 2-0 0-1 0-1
seahawks150wordmark 2-3 111 98 2-0 0-3 2-2 0-1 2-1 0-1
49ers150wordmark 1-4 75 140 1-1 0-3 1-3 0-1 1-1 0-1

Week 5 Award Winners

Carson PalmerOffensive Player of the Week: Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona – Palmer didn’t have to do much, but what he did was outstanding. The veteran completed 11-of-14 passes for 161 yards and three touchdowns in the Cardinals’ win. His quarterback rating of 154.2 was the second-highest of his career. Palmer is now 17-3 in his last 20 starts.
Honorable Mention: Seattle RB Thomas Rawls, St. Louis RB Todd Gurley, San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick, Arizona RB Chris Johnson

Rashad Johnson, Timothy WrightDefensive Player of the Week: Rashad Johnson, S, Arizona – Johnson was all over the field Sunday and came up with three turnovers — two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
Honorable Mention: San Francisco LB Navorro Bowman, San Francisco LB Michael Wilhoite, Seattle DL Michael Bennett, Arizona CB Jerraud Powers, Arizona S Deone Bucannon, Arizona S Tony Jefferson

Travis Lewis, Stepfan TaylorSpecial Teams Player of the Week: Stepfan Taylor, Arizona – Taylor had two special teams tackle and forced a fumble that was nearly recovered by the Cardinals.

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