The Los Angeles Rams hosted the Minnesota Vikings in one of the most entertaining Thursday Night games in the TNF franchise’s history. The game was an absolute shoot out between two strong offenses. At times it seemed that neither team’s defenses could come up with a stop. Somewhat miraculously, Marcus Peters started and played every snap despite suffering what looked to be a serious injury 4 days prior against the Chargers. While he clearly not 100%, it was a gutsy performance by him nonetheless. After suffering a season worst defeat 24-7 at the hands of the Vikings in 2017, the Rams had answers for everything the Vikings defense could throw at them. The Rams offensive line picked up every blitz, and kept Goff clean in route to a career best 465 yards and 5 touchdowns. Defensively, the Rams were kept in check until the 4th quarter where they were finally able to get 4 sacks. The last one being a game sealing strip sack. Despite the score, the Rams once again proved to be one of the best 4th quarter defenses in football. Since the start of 2017, the LA Rams are 15-1 in games where they’ve held a 4th quarter lead. This year. they obviously are 4-0 in same such games. The defense has allowed 18 2nd half points, with 6 total 4th quarter points. Wade Phillips simply put is one of the best half time adjusters in the game today.
The Seattle Seahawks traveled to Arizona this week, and were able to topple the Cardinals 20-17. Wilson was a paltry 17 of 26 for 176 yards. No scores, but no turnovers. Mike Davis was able to crest 100 yards rushing against one of the better run defenses in the league, however the return of Doug Baldwin did not provide much in the way of yards for the passing attack. Defensively, a previously hapless Cardinals offense was able at times to move the ball through the air with rookie Josh Rosen. Once again, kicker proved to be an unreliable position on this team as veteran Sebastian Janikowski struggled to consistently hit field goals. He was able to hit the game winner, however his struggles give cause for fairly serious concern going forward. All that aside though, the real big story here was injuries. Promising rookie TE Will Dissly is feared to have suffered a season ending patella tear. The other massive injury was to Earl Thomas, who broke his left leg(again). After the injury, he appeared to flip off the Seahawks sideline. It’s a sad potential ending to in my opinion the best player from the “Legion of Boom”. His battle with the front office this season has been well documented, and it’s tough to imagine him coming back under the current circumstances. Fortunately for him, this is an injury he can recover from and will likely hit free agency next year ready to go. As for his relationship with the Seahawks front office, it could be more toxic than the one Richard Sherman currently has.
The 49ers were able to jump out to an early 14-0 lead against the Los Angeles Chargers playing at the home of the LA Galaxy. However, the Chargers were able to stabilize their offense and tie the game before halftime. The second half featured a pitched battle between both teams. The 49ers proved that they can still have a functional offense with 2nd year backup QB CJ Beathard. However, mounting injuries to an already questionable 49er O line exposed Beathard to far too many hits.. One particularly scary play was Bethard scrambling for a first down and attempting to truck a defender at the end. Predictably, this maneuver brought CJ one step closer to CTE. Considering the current situation at QB for this team, no one wants to see them really have to try to get Matt Moore out of retirement if Beathard goes down. Absolutely no one on this planet wants to see Matt Moore play in the NFL again under any circumstance. That aside, the Chargers had their way with the 49er defense after the 1st quarter. They are essentially the opposite of the Cardinals right now. They can play competent offense, but defensively they are a few pieces away. Obviously, Tartt and Sherman not playing laid bare a defense that was already somewhat thin.
Impressively, the Cardinals were able to build a 10-7 lead at one point in this game. Josh Rosen making his first NFL start was able to inject some life into an offense that looked dead with Sam Bradford at the helm. Rosen’s numbers were not great(15/27 180 yards 1 TD) but some of the throws he made were quite good. The ground game however still looked non functional, with Johnson averaging 3.2 yards on 22 carries. For the offense to have a chance this year, they absolutely need to get Johnson going on the ground. Defensively the Cards started off strong, but the lack of productivity on offense once again laid them out to dry. It also doesn’t help that Phil Dawson was 1/3 on field goal attempts. This game was there for the taking at times., but the Cards were simply not able to deliver on opportunities to either take or extend the lead when needed. The Cardinals should be able to upset a few better teams this year, but that will require the offense finally gelling together which sadly for them has just not happened yet.
The Los Angeles Rams continued to separate themselves from the pack this week. With a trip to Seattle coming up next week, they look to further establish the early vice grip they have on the NFC West. With the loss of Will Dissly and Earl Thomas, Seattle will be reeling big time. On paper, this game should be an easy win but a trip to Seattle can be a road bump for even the most well prepared team. The 49ers proved that they still have fight in them, and will hopefully avoid another 9 game losing streak that could put Kyle Shanahan in Hue Jackson territory. The battle for second place in the NFCW this year between the 49ers and Seahawks could be a real slugfest. The Cardinals seemed to have made the right choice inserting Josh Rosen into the lineup even if it didn’t get them the win today, but his road ahead will be tough if they are not able to establish a ground attack. Week 5 will be an NFCW Brawl for All, enjoy.
Week 4 NFCW Matchups
Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks
Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers