How the NFC West Was Won Week 5: Seahawks nudge their way to the top

Oct 9, 2017, 9:13 AM | Updated: 3:54 pm
Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham catches a touchdown pass under pressure from Los Angeles Ra...
Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham catches a touchdown pass under pressure from Los Angeles Rams defensive back John Johnson during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Just when it looked like the Los Angeles Rams were the best team in the NFC West, the Seattle Seahawks rose to the occasion and played gritty defensive football to slow down L.A.’s offense and claim a share of the top spot in the division.

Meahwhile, the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers were doing things they’ve done all year in losses.

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

Philadelphia Eagles 34, Arizona Cardinals 7

One can certainly argue that the once big, bad Cardinals haven’t been the same since their last trip to the City of Brotherly Love in Week 15 of the 2015 season.

Arizona won that game handily, 40-17, but safety Tyrann Mathieu blew out his knee in the closing minutes and a pall was cast over the team. The Cardinals won the next week and eventually advanced to the NFC Championship Game, but something changed that night. Since then, Bruce Arians’ team is only 11-13-1 and Sunday’s blowout at the hands of Philly might be the worst game of his coaching tenure, which started in 2013.

Carson Wentz threw three first-quarter touchdown passes and then added the killer — a 72-yard bomb to Nelson Agholor in the third as the Eagles cruised and pushed their record to 4-1 on the season.

Carson Palmer again was harassed in the passing game, but managed to complete 28-of-44 for 291 yards and a touchdown. If you’re looking for an Arizona bright spot, that might be it — and it’s not that bright.

Stat of the Game: Philadelphia went 9-of-14 on third-down conversions and Wentz feasted on the Cardinals’ defense on third down. The second-year quarterback went 11-of-13 for 225 yards and three of his four touchdown passes when facing third downs — many of which required more than 10 yards to convert.

He Said It: “Obviously a very disappointing start to this ball game. I think this is one of those games where everyone is looking for an excuse or somewhere to point a finger and I’ve got to point it at me, because our team obviously was not ready to play in all three phases.” — Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians

What’s Next: The Cardinals (2-3) return home to host Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium at 1:05 p.m.

Seattle Seahawks 16, Los Angeles Rams 10

Things were looking good early for the Rams, who jumped out to a 10-0 lead over the Seahawks in the second quarter thanks to a 27-yard touchdown run by Tavon Austin and a 35-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein.

That would be it for and Rams’ action on the scoreboard.

Russell Wilson found Jimmy Graham on a 4-yard touchdown pass and Blair Walsh booted three field goals while the Seattle defense shut down the Rams the rest of the way to grab the win and a share of first place in the NFC West.

The Rams did have chances in the final moments. On a 3rd-and-10 from the Seattle 20 with 12 seconds left, Jared Goff fired a bullet to Cooper Kupp, who got free on a seam route in the end zone, but the rookie couldn’t make the catch. On fourth down, Goff looked for Kupp again but the throw was low and the Seahawks escaped L.A. with a win.

Zuerlein, who had been perfect on field goal attempts this year, missed a 36-yarder in the third quarter that would have broken a 10-10 tie.

Stat of the Game: The Rams had five turnovers. Goff threw two picks and lost a fumble, as did Todd Gurley and Austin. Los Angeles had a stretch of five drives in the second half during which three ended in turnovers.

He Said It (Los Angeles): “Any time you turn the football over five times against a great opponent like the Seattle Seahawks, you’re going to put yourself in a tough position.” — Rams head coach Sean McVay

He Said It (Seattle): “We had a really tough ball game today — kind of an old-fashioned NFL ball game right down to the end. Score was tight the whole time, every play mattered.” — Seahawks coach Pete Carroll

What’s Next: The Rams travel across the country to face the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, while the Seahawks will enjoy their bye week.

Indianapolis Colts 26, San Francisco 49ers 23 (OT)

The ageless Adam Vinatieri (OK, he’s not ageless, he’s actually 44) booted a 51-yard field goal with 1:38 left in overtime to lift the Colts to a win over the 49ers, who fell to 0-5.

Indianapolis (2-3) built a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter when Jacoby Brissett scored on a 3-yard touchdown run to make it 23-9 with under 10 minutes to play.

San Francisco would answer. Brian Hoyer hooked up with fullback Kyle Juszczyk on a 6-yard touchdown pass. Then after a Colts punt, the 49ers went on a 14-play, 94-yard drive that ended with a Hoyer touchdown pass to tight end George Kittle to tie the score. A big play on the drive was Hoyer finding Kittle on a 19-yard gain on 4th-and-1 from the Indianapolis 40-yard line. Kittle had five catches for 73 yards on the drive.

In overtime, the Colts got the ball first, but Brissett threw an interception (sound familiar, Cardinals fans?) as Ray Ray Armstrong picked him off in the end zone. The 49ers would have to punt, and this time Brissett and the Colts cashed in, getting the game-winner from Vinatieri.

Stat of the Game: San Francisco is 0-5 for the first time since 2010 and are now 7-30 since the beginning of the 2015 season.

He Said It: “Trent ruined that team.” — Colts running back and former 49er Frank Gore, ripping former San Francisco GM Trent Baalke.

What’s Next: The 49ers head east in search of their first win of the year as they take on the Washington Redskins Sunday at FedEx Field.

Award Winners

Offensive Player of the Week: Brian Hoyer, QB, San Francisco 49ers – It wasn’t a great week for offensive players in the division, and Hoyer was solid, throwing for 353 yards and two touchdowns in leading a fourth-quarter comeback.

Defensive Player of the Week: Earl Thomas, S, Seattle Seahawks – Thomas made a huge play early in the game, knocking the ball out of Todd Gurley’s hand as he stretched for the goal line in the first quarter. The play was originally ruled a touchdown, but then reversed upon video review and was ruled a touchback. Thomas also picked off Jared Goff in the fourth quarter with the Seahawks protecting a three-point lead.

Special Teams Player of the Week: Blair Walsh, K, Seattle Seahawks – Three field goals on the day in a win.


Team Wins Losses Ties Points For Points Against
3 2 0 152 121
3 2 0 110 87
2 3 0 81 125
0 5 0 89 120

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