How the NFC West Was Won Week 14: Teams at the top stumble
Dec 11, 2017, 9:02 AM | Updated: 5:43 pm
Yes, the Rams and the Seahawks both stumbled in Week 14, but their first-place showdown is still on for Sunday in Seattle.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals’ defense shut down the first-place Titans and the 49ers continued their late-season surge by winning on the road in Houston.
Here’s a closer look at everything that went on in the NFC West in Week 14.
Arizona Cardinals 12, Tennessee Titans 7
Seven weeks later, the Titans were on the wrong end of such a game.
Phil Dawson booted four field goals and the Cardinals’ defense put the clamps on Tennessee’s offense in a five-point win.
The game may have been the Cardinals’ best defensive performance of the year. The Titans managed only 204 yards of offense, with only 65 of that coming on the ground. Arizona sacked Marcus Mariota twice and picked him off twice, with Tramon Williams and Josh Bynes doing the honors.
Offensively, there were issues for the Cardinals, who yielded eight sacks of quarterback Blaine Gabbert. But, for only the second time all season, and the first time since a Week 3 Monday night loss to Dallas, Arizona didn’t turn the ball over.
Arizona finished 3-1 against the AFC South this season, good for half of its wins.
Stat of the Game: Larry Fitzgerald had 44 yards receiving and moved past Randy Moss into third place on the NFL’s all-time receiving yards list with 15,311. Fitzgerald needs just 624 yards to surpass Terrell Owens and move into second place on the list.
He Said It: “There’s no such thing.” — Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians on whether or not this was an ugly win for his team.
What’s Next: The Cardinals hit the road to take on the Washington Redskins next Sunday at 11 a.m. MST.
Philadelphia Eagles 43, Los Angeles Rams 35
Wentz threw four touchdown passes before his injury, including a 2-yard strike to Alshon Jeffery that gave the Eagles a 31-28 lead late in the third quarter. In fact, that connection happened four plays after Wentz was hurt, but he stayed in the game and finished the drive before giving way to backup Nick Foles.
The Rams answered, marching on a 75-yard drive capped by Todd Gurley’s second touchdown run of the day to give L.A. a 35-31 lead.
To Foles’ credit, he did a nice job in relief, engineering two drives that ended in field goals that turned out to be the difference. In all, Foles went 6-of-10 for 42 yards.
Philadelphia added a cosmetic touchdown on the game’s last play when Brandon Graham returned a fumble 16 yards for a score.
Stat of the Game: Philadelphia dominated time of possession, keeping the ball for over 39 minutes to prevent the Rams’ potent offense from being on the field. The Eagles ran 85 offensive plays to the Rams’ 45.
He Said It: “Against a team like that there [are] things that you can’t do. Unfortunately, you do have to learn some lessons the hard way, myself included.” — Rams head coach Sean McVay
What’s Next: The Rams seek revenge for an earlier loss to the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field in Seattle Sunday afternoon.
Jacksonville Jaguars 30, Seattle Seahawks 24
The game was a defensive struggle in the first half, with the Jaguars holding a 3-0 halftime lead. Bortles hit rookie Dede Westbrook on an 18-yard touchdown pass to stretch the Jags’ lead to 10, but that also seemed to wake up a stagnant Seattle offense. The Seahawks rallied for 10 points of their own on a Blair Walsh field goal and a Russell Wilson-to-Doug Baldwin touchdown pass in a span of just 58 seconds.
On the very next play from scrimmage, Bortles hit Keelan Cole on a 75-yard touchdown pass to give Jacksonville the lead back. Seattle went three-and-out on its next possession and Jaydon Mickens returned a Jon Ryan punt 72 yards to the Seattle 1-yard line, setting up Leonard Fournette’s touchdown run to give the Jags a two-touchdown lead.
Josh Lambo added two fourth-quarter field goals to offset two long touchdown passes from Wilson and preserve the Jacksonville win.
Stat of the Game: Wilson threw three interceptions, which marks only the third time in his career he’s had that many in a game. Those picks were turned into 10 points by the Jaguars.
He Said It: “Shoot, man. We should have won. We felt like we could have won,” — Wilson
What’s Next: The Seahawks host the Rams with first place in the NFC West on the line next Sunday at CenturyLink Field.
San Francisco 49ers 26, Houston Texans 16
San Francisco notched its second straight win, beating the Texans by 10 on the road at NRG Stadium in Houston.
Jimmy Garoppolo, making just his second start for San Francisco, completed 20-of-33 for 334 yards and a touchdown pass in the win. That touchdown — a 6-yard strike to Garrett Celek late in the third quarter — broke a 16-16 tie and proved to be the winning margin for the 49ers.
Stat of the Game: The win marked the first time the Niners have had back-to-back wins in the same season since Weeks 10, 11 and 12 of the 2014 campaign, when they beat the Saints, Giants and Redskins in a row.
He Said It: “Things weren’t clicking for us, and now they are. Winning is contagious, and we’re just going to keep getting better. Winning is fun. Better late than never.” — Celek
What’s Next: The 49ers look for their third straight win Sunday when they host the Tennessee Titans at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
Offensive Player of the Week: Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, San Francisco 49ers – Garoppolo, who was acquired in a trade with the Patriots at the deadline, was thought to be San Francisco’s quarterback of the future, and has done nothing to change that thinking in his first two starts. His 334 passing yards were the second-most for a 49ers QB this season. Brian Hoyer threw for 353 in a loss to Indianapolis in October.
Defensive Player of the Week: Chandler Jones, OLB, Arizona Cardinals – Jones had another sack, giving him 14 on the season, and added three tackles for loss to pad his own NFL lead in that category.
Special Teams Players of the Week: Mike Thomas and Blake Countess, Los Angeles Rams – Thomas shot through and blocked an Eagles’ punt which Countess scooped up and took to the end zone to give the Rams a 28-24 lead over Philadelphia in the third quarter.
|Team||Wins||Losses||Ties||Points For||Points Against|