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How the West Was Won Week 13: Cardinals cruise, Seahawks make statement

Arizona Cardinals running back Kerwynn Williams slips a tackle attempt by St. Louis Rams safety Rodney McLeod (23) as he runs for a touchdown in third quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015, in St. Louis. (Chris Lee/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

It was a good week in the NFC West, with three teams earning victories.

The Arizona Cardinals are on a roll — they won their sixth straight in St. Louis. The San Francisco 49ers surging behind an unlikely leader and the Seattle Seahawks pulled off a “don’t forget about us” type of win in Minnesota.

Then there’s the St. Louis Rams.

Here’s a closer look at everything that went down in Week 13 in the NFC West.


Arizona Cardinals 27, St. Louis Rams 3

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer completes a pass from his own goal line while under pressure from St. Louis Rams defensive end Matt Longacre, left, and defensive tackle Aaron Donald during an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015, in St. Louis. (Chris Lee/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer completes a pass from his own goal line while under pressure from St. Louis Rams defensive end Matt Longacre, left, and defensive tackle Aaron Donald during an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015, in St. Louis. (Chris Lee/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

 

After watching Sunday’s game, it’s hard to believe the Rams beat the Cardinals in Glendale in Week 4.

Then again, that team had fight, played physically and displayed confidence — three things that were noticeably absent in Week 13.

Carson Palmer threw for 356 yards and two touchdowns and the Cardinals torched the Rams’ defense for a season-high 524 yards in an easy win in a half-empty Edward Jones Dome. It was the seventh-highest yardage total by a single team in the NFL this season.

Palmer found rookie J.J. Nelson on a 22-yard touchdown pass on Arizona’s first drive, and the Cardinals never looked back. Fellow rookie David Johnson rumbled for 99 yards on 22 carries and caught a touchdown pass. Kerwynn Williams, just off the practice squad, uncorked a 35-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter.

The Rams, who were once 4-3, lost their fifth straight game. They’ve scored a total of 54 points during the skid, including just 10 combined points the last two weeks.

Arizona Money Quote: “This was a big game. A big, big game. We had to have this to even it back up, this kind of makes up for losing the one at home. To be able to win all of the road games in our division is huge for us.” — Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians

St. Louis Money Quote: “Obviously, very disappointing. It’s kind of a broken record thing here with the offense. We have to get the offense fixed. Three first downs at halftime, I think we had six to start the fourth quarter; it doesn’t give yourself the chance to be productive or win games.” — Rams head coach Jeff Fisher

Stat of the Game: The Rams converted only 1-of-12 third-down conversions and had only nine first downs in the game.


 

Seattle Seahawks 38, Minnesota Vikings 7

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin (89) celebrates his 20-yard touchdown reception with quarterback Russell Wilson (3) in the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin (89) celebrates his 20-yard touchdown reception with quarterback Russell Wilson (3) in the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

 

Anybody counting the two-time defending NFC champions out, please raise your hands. No? Nobody? Didn’t think so. The Seahawks hit the road to take on the 8-3 Vikings and not only won the game, but turned in their most dominant performance of the season. Russell Wilson completed 21-of-27 passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns and the Seahawks rolled up 433 yards of offense — the third straight game they’ve had 430 or more. Oh yeah, they’ve won all three. The Seahawks also completely shut down Adrian Peterson, holding the NFL’s leading rusher to 18 yards on eight carries. Receiver Doug Baldwin also continued his stellar play, with five catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns. In his last four contests, Baldwin has 24 catches for 433 yards and six touchdowns. Minnesota’s offense did nothing. They didn’t enter the Seattle red zone once and their only touchdown came on a 101-yard kickoff return by Cordarrelle Patterson. Seattle Money Quote: ““He’s doing whatever we’re asking him to do. He’s preparing beautifully. He is really dialed in. His connection with his guys, receivers, is really on it. The protection has been just beautiful, it was a great day of protecting today, and when we can mix our running game then that allows us to play the game in the style we want to and it suits him beautifully. So he’s taken advantage of all of that, he is really right and he’s showing it and it’s hard to continue to be that on it and I’m really thrilled for him.” — Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll Stat of the Game: Running back Thomas Rawls had 101 yards on 19 carries. The undrafted rookie has four 100-yard games this season and has scored a touchdown in three consecutive games.


San Francisco 49ers 26, Chicago Bears 20 (OT)

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Torrey Smith (82) runs to there end zone for a game winning touchdown against the Chicago Bearsduring the overtime of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015, in Chicago. The 49ers won 26-20. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Torrey Smith (82) runs to there end zone for a game winning touchdown against the Chicago Bearsduring the overtime of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015, in Chicago. The 49ers won 26-20. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

 

Just when you were ready to dump the last shovel of dirt on the grave of Jim Tomsula and the San Francisco 49ers, they show signs of life.

Blaine Gabbert hit Torrey Smith on a 71-yard touchdown pass just 1:59 into overtime to give the Niners a hard-fought road win at Soldier Field. It was San Francisco’s first road win of the season and broke a seven-game losing streak away from Levi’s Stadium.

Gabbert’s heroics started a little earlier, when he broke off a 44-yard touchdown run with 1:52 left in regulation to tie the game at 20-20.

The former Jacksonville Jaguar was very good again, hitting on 18-of-32 passes for 196 yards and a touchdown while leading the 49ers in rushing with 75 yards.

San Francisco (4-8) also got a bump from their defense. Jimmie Ward picked off a Jay Cutler screen pass and returned it 29 yards for a score in the second quarter to put the 49ers on the board.

San Francisco Money Quote: “They took the bait. It was set up by all the throws we had underneath early on and all the runs we had out of that formation. Torrey did a great job selling the deep cross and then hitting the back pylon. I tried to cut it loose early with as much air under it as possible. It worked out beautifully.” — San Francisco quarterback Blaine Gabbert

Stat of the Game: San Francisco didn’t have a turnover on Sunday. They’ve been turnover-free in six of their last eight games and have only four turnovers in that stretch.


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Week 13 Award Winners

Offensive Player of the Week: Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahaws – Wilson wins the honor for the second straight week on the strength of his three-touchdown performance against the Vikings.

Honorable Mention: Arizona QB Carson Palmer, Arizona RB David Johnson, Seattle WR Doug Baldwin, Seattle RB Thomas Rawls, San Francisco QB Blaine Gabbert, San Francisco WR Torrey Smith

Defensive Player of the Week: Jimmie Ward, S, San Francisco 49ers – Ward’s pick-six in the second quarter set the tone for the 49ers’ overtime win in Chicago.

Honorable Mention: Seattle DE Frank Clark, San Francisco LB NaVorro Bowman, Arizona DL Ed Stinson, St. Louis DT Aaron Donald, Arizona CB Patrick Peterson

Special Teams Player of the Week: Johnny Hekker, P, St. Louis Rams – Hekker averaged 54.5 yards per punt and put five of them inside the Cardinals’ 20-yard line.

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