How the West Was Won, Week 5: Seahawks all alone atop division after bye week

Oct 10, 2016, 8:12 AM | Updated: 11:23 am
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A shred of normalcy has returned to the NFC West following the Week 5 schedule, in that the Seattle Seahawks are alone in first place and the Arizona Cardinals got a win.

Here’s a look at what transpired in the division this past week…

Arizona Cardinals 33, San Francisco 49ers 21

It’s hard to classify a game in Week 5 of a 16-game season as a “must win,” but that’s the situation the Cardinals found themselves in heading into Thursday Night Football in Santa Clara. At 1-4, they would have trailed the idle Seahawks by 2.5 games, and would have losses to both the 49ers and Rams in the division.

The Cardinals got their win, riding a strong running performance from David Johnson. The second-year running back rumbled for 157 yards and two touchdowns while backup quarterback Drew Stanton, filling in for the concussed Carson Palmer, threw two touchdown passes.

Arizona’s defense also got after it, sacking 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert seven times and holding San Francisco to 286 total yards. It’s the third straight game the Cardinals have allowed less than 300 total yards. Very quietly, James Bettcher’s unit has moved into the top ten in the league in total and scoring defense.

Stat of the Game: Stanton got the win despite completing only 39 percent (11-of-28) of his passes. It’s the lowest completion percentage of any starting quarterback who has thrown 20 or more passes in a game this season. Hey, a win’s a win, right?

Offensive Player of the Game: You’ve got to give it to Johnson, who put up the second-highest yardage total in his career.

Defensive Player of the Game: Arizona defensive Calais Campbell was a menace, racking up four total tackles, two sacks, an game-altering interception and a pass defensed. Campbell’s interception off of a Chandler Jones deflection late in the second quarter led to Arizona’s first touchdown and completely changed the flow of the game. Teammates Markus Golden (10 tackles, two sacks) and Deone Bucannon (14 tackles) were pretty good, too.

Buffalo Bills 30, Los Angeles Rams 19

Can somebody, anybody figure out the Rams?

Didn’t think so.

After ripping off three straight wins, including triumphs over Seattle and Arizona, the Rams returned home to the friendly confines of the LA Memorial Coliseum, and promptly fell on their faces.

Nikell Robey-Coleman, who played his college football in the same stadium for USC, intercepted two passes, including a 41-yard return for a touchdown late in the third quarter that broke a 16-16 tie and put the Bills up for good.

Buffalo running back LeSean McCoy, who was questionable for the game with a hand injury, ran for 150 yards on only 18 carries against the Rams’ defense.

Los Angeles still had a chance late in the game and attempted a fake punt deep in their own territory with under four minutes to play. Bradley Marquez took the direct snap on 4th-and-5 at the L.A. 23, but was stopped by Ronald Darby after just a two yard gain. Three plays later, Buffalo’s Tyrod Taylor iced the game with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Goodwin.

“I wouldn’t have called the play if I didn’t think it would work,” Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said. “That’s how those things are. We practiced it all week, we had the look and it didn’t work. So, I’ll take that.”

Offensive Player of the Game: McCoy

Defensive Player of the Game: Robey-Coleman, although you can make a great case for linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, who had three sacks and now leads the NFL with 7.5. He had only nine sacks in his entire career, which started in 2007, before this season.

Stat of the Game: Todd Gurley’s 1-yard scoring run was the first Rams’ touchdown in the Coliseum since December of 1979.

NFC West Standings

Team Overall Conf. Div. PF PA Diff.
Seattle Seahawks 3-1 1-1 1-1 79 54 +25
Los Angeles Rams 3-2 3-1 2-1 82 106 -24
Arizona Cardinals 2-3 2-1 1-1 125 101 +24
San Francisco 49ers 1-4 1-4 1-2 111 140 -29

This Week

• San Francisco 49ers (1-4) at Buffalo Bills (3-2) – Sunday – 10:00 AM at New Era Field (FOX)

• Los Angeles Rams (3-2) at Detroit Lions (2-3) – Sunday – 10:00 AM at Ford Field (FOX)

• Atlanta Falcons (4-1) at Seattle Seahawks (3-1) – Sunday – 1:25 PM at CenturyLink Field (FOX)

• New York Jets (1-4) at Arizona Cardinals (2-3) – Monday – 5:30 PM at University of Phoenix Stadium (ESPN)

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