Week 1 is in the books for the NFC West, and all 4 teams did not lose! The Rams, 49ers and Seahawks all won their respective games. The Cardinals staged a furious 4th quarter comeback but failed to finish the job in OT hosting the Detroit Lions.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Seattle Seahawks: 21-20 Seahawks win
The Seahawks faced an unexpected challenge hosting the Cincinnati Bengals at home. The Bengals managed to hold a 17-14 lead going into halftime. After a combined 28 points in the 2nd quarter, only 10 combined points would be scored in the rest of the game. These 10 points came in the 4th quarter. The Seahawks were able to hold on to a 21-20 lead to finish the game out. Rookie WR DK Metcalf flashed potential, Russell Wilson was on point and Chris Carson scored twice while gaining 80 yards from scrimmage. Despite the addition of Jadeveon Clowney, Andy Dalton was able to torch the Seahawks defense for 418 yards and two touchdowns. Pass rush and DB depth could be an issue that follows this team the remainder of the season.
San Francisco 49ers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 31-17 49er win
In what was somewhat of a deceptive defensive battle, the 49ers were able to come out with a road win against a Buccaneers team with a new coaching staff. The game featured an interception return for a TD by both teams. 4 INTs were thrown by both teams combined, with the 49ers collecting 3 from Bucs QB Jameis Winston. After a low scoring first half, the 49ers were able to outscore the Bucs 25-10 in the second half. While there were for sure encouraging signs from the 49ers defense – such as containing an explosive receiving corps, the 49er run defense allowed 103 yards rushing and high YPC averages from Bucs RBs. That has to be concerning to a point with all the talent on the defensive line there, but it’s still very early in the season.
Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals: 27-27 tie
After falling behind 24-6, the Arizona Cardinals rallied behind a furious comeback. Kyler Murray was able to compile 308 yards passing, with 2 TDs to one INT. Early in the game the Lions looked as if they were going to win the game easily. A switch in strategy in the 4th quarter by Kliff Kingsbury provided the chance for Murray to score 18 points in the 4th quarter after scoring only 6 in the first 3. In the overtime period, both teams were only able to match field goals before the tie was declared. For the moment, it looks as if Murray and Kingsbury might have been wise investments on the behalf of the Cardinals. Defensively, however, the Cardinals could be in deep trouble. Matthew Stafford passed for 385 yards, with rookie TE TJ Hockenson gaining 116 of them. Injuries and suspensions to the Cardinals secondary looms as a big problem moving forward.
Los Angeles Rams at Carolina Panthers: 30-27 Rams win
In what was a physical, tough road game for the reigning, defending NFC and NFC West champions, the Rams were able to outlast the Carolina Panthers. Taking advantage of turnovers, the Rams were able to build a 13-3 halftime lead. While being up 23-13 at the start of the 4th quarter, the Panthers were able to block a punt to set up an easy scoring opportunity. In the 4th quarter, the Rams were again able to build a 10 point lead but the Panthers still played it close, closing to within 3 point again within the 2 minute warning. The Rams were in turn able to secure the win shortly thereafter. Encouraging for the Rams was the fact that in spite of Goff having an up and down game, the offense still scored 30 points. The re-tooled offensive line was able to move a strong Panthers front 7 off the ball for 166 yards rushing. Todd Gurley was able to average 9.9 yards per carry in the 4th quarter, and rookie safety Taylor Rapp accumulated 8 tackles despite only playing 30% of the defensive snaps. Of concern would be the rush defense allowing Christian McCaffrey to rush for 128 yards, and the at times uneven play of QB Jared Goff.
NFC West Standings heading into week two:
SF 49ers 1-0
LA Rams 1-0
Seattle Seahawks 1-0
Arizona Cardinals 0-0-1
Photo Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports