How the NFC West Was Won — Week 2: Three-way tie at the top
One week after three NFC West teams lost their openers, two teams were victorious in Week 2, creating a three-way logjam at the top of the division.
Many of Week 1’s themes were still fully on display — even for the teams that were able to notch wins, and that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Each week, we’ll run down what happened in the NFC West in How the West Was Won.
Arizona Cardinals 16, Indianapolis Colts 13 (OT)
The Cardinals figured out a way to beat the Colts even though they looked dead in the water through three quarters at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Arizona (1-1) trailed by 10 in the fourth quarter after a 16-play drive by the Colts that melted 9:18 off the clock and ended in an Adam Vinatieri field goal.
Carson Palmer, who was better Sunday than he was in Week 1 (but that’s not saying much) found J.J. Nelson on a 45-yard touchdown pass midway through the fourth to pull the Cardinals to within three points.
The Cardinals tied the game on their next possession thanks to a 40-yard field goal from Phil Dawson. The veteran kicker also had a chance to win the game in regulation, but missed a 42-yarder as time expired after being iced by a timeout from Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano.
In overtime, Tyrann Mathieu intercepted Jacoby Brissett’s pass intended for Kamar Aiken to set up Dawson’s 30-yard game-winner.
Stat of the Game: The Cardinals had 190 yards and 13 points on their possessions in the fourth quarter and overtime. They managed 204 yards and three points in seven possessions through the game’s first three quarters.
He Said It: “Great job finishing. It wasn’t pretty. They don’t have to be pretty. They just have to be wins.” — Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians to his team in the locker room following the game.
What’s Next for the Cardinals?: Arizona will play at home for the first time in 2017 when they host the Dallas Cowboys at University of Phoenix Stadium on Monday Night Football.
Seattle Seahawks 12, San Francisco 49ers 9
Remember what I wrote about themes remaining similar to Week 1? That definitely was the case for the Seahawks, who once again had a dominant defensive performance nearly wasted by a bad offensive showing.
The Seahawks trailed the 49ers, 9-6, in the fourth quarter after Robbie Gould connected on his third field goal of the game, this one from 34 yards.
Russell Wilson then took Seattle (1-1) on an 82-yard scoring drive that ended in a 9-yard touchdown pass to Paul Richardson with just over seven minutes to play. San Francisco (0-2) still had a chance, but went three-and-out and punted back to the Seahawks, who extinguished the final 4:47 to win the contest.
Stat of the Game (SEA): Seattle held San Francisco to 248 yards and just 2-of-12 on third downs.
Stat of the Game (SF): The 49ers haven’t scored a touchdown yet in 2017 (22 possessions). Their last touchdown came in the fourth quarter of last year’s Week 17 loss to the Seahawks when Colin Kaepernick hit Garret Celek on a 9-yard touchdown pass. Their touchdown drought is now at 137:42 of game play.
He Said It (SEA): “It was a solid performance in some ways with a lot of room for improvement. We’re looking forward to next week.” — Seattle head coach Pete Carroll
He Said It (SF): “I have to play a whole lot better. I’m disappointed with myself. We felt good about coming into the season, and the first two games haven’t gone the way we’d like them to, especially the way I’d like them to go as far as with my personal play. I’ve got to look at the tape and figure out what I can do a whole lot better, and with this quick turnaround, we have to be ready for the Rams on Thursday night.” — 49ers QB Brian Hoyer, who completed 15-of-27 passes for 99 yards and interception in the loss.
What’s Next for the Seahawks?: Seattle travels to Tennessee to face the Titans (1-1) Sunday in Nashville.
What’s Next for the 49ers?: San Francisco hosts the Los Angeles Rams in the blight known as Thursday Night Football on Sept. 21.
Washington Redskins 27, Los Angeles Rams 20
Kirk Cousins hit Ryan Grant on an 11-yard touchdown pass with 1:49 to lift Washington to a seven-point win over the Rams at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
The Rams (1-1) dug themselves a 13-point hole early in the second quarter, but fought back behind two touchdowns from running back Todd Gurley and two field goals from Greg Zuerlein. The second field goal, from 40 yards, tied the score at 20-20 with 7:16 remaining in the fourth quarter.
But Cousins then engineered a 10-play, 70-yard drive that took 5:27 off the clock to give Washington the lead back.
Jared Goff’s first pass on the ensuing drive for L.A. was picked off by linebacker Mason Foster to seal the win for Washington (1-1).
Stat of the Game: The Rams, even with All-Pro lineman Aaron Donald back after a contract holdout, allowed Washington to roll up 229 yards rushing. Teams that allowed 220 or more rushing yards in 2016 went 3-15.
He Said It: What I was proud of with my team is that we fell behind early, and credit to Washington, they made some plays to give themselves the lead and we continued to fight back. We can’t hurt ourselves with penalties and some of the different things that occurred during the course of the game, but I know we’ll look at ourselves critically in the mirror — coaches included, starting with me — and make sure we do a good job with our short week of preparation.” — Rams head coach Sean McVay, whose team committed seven penalties for 75 yards in the game.
Offensive Player of the Week: Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle — The Seahawks’ quarterback was big when he absolutely needed to be. Despite finishing with pedestrian passing statistics, Wilson threw for 23 yards and ran for 27 more on Seattle’s lone touchdown drive of the game.
Defensive Player of the Week: Tyrann Mathieu, S, Arizona — Mathieu didn’t have his best game, but made the biggest play of the week. His interception in overtime led to the game-winning field goal for the Cardinals. “The Honey Badger” had three tackles, one tackle for loss and two passes defensed.
Special Teams Player of the Week: Phil Dawson, K, Arizona — Yes, the veteran briefly had Cardinals fans missing Chandler Catanzaro (I said briefly), but he atoned for his regulation miss by nailing a 30-yard game winner in overtime.
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