Best and Worst of the NFC West
Best and Worst of the NFC West
Week one of the NFL season has come and gone and the NFC West has plenty of room for improvement. The division was 1-3 after the Los Angeles Rams gave the NFC West the only win of the week after easily handling the Oakland Raiders under the lights of Monday Night Football. Let’s take a closer look at each of these teams and see what’s working and what’s not.
Arizona Cardinals (Lost 24-6 to the Washington Redskins)
Best: Larry Fitzgerald might have the surest hands on the team. Fitzgerald had seven receptions and 76 yards in game one on 10 targets.
Worst: There are few things more humbling than your home fans boo-ing you. Cardinals faithful expressed their frustration with the team after their lackluster performance both offensively and defensively, but mostly defensively. Cornerback Patrick Peterson said the players were aware of the boos. “I mean, we didn’t give them anything good to watch today,” he said after the game. Head Coach Steve Wilks echoed Peterson on the fans reactions, “It was well deserved. Well deserved,” Wilks said. “I’m disappointed in the mere fact we couldn’t put a more productive game together for our fans.”
Los Angeles Rams (Won 33-13 over the Oakland Raiders)
Best: The Rams defense was able to make adjustments. Raiders head coach and offensive play caller, Jon Gruden, had Oakland on the board in the first series after Marshawn Lynch powered his way into the end zone. The Rams were down at halftime despite an endzone interception by second-year safety John Johson. Adjustments were made by Wade Phillips and the Raiders were scoreless in the second half.
“He’s the GOAT. He’s the GOAT, man. His daddy was the GOAT — it’s in his blood. They’ve got GOAT blood,” Rams cornerback Aqib Talib said, referring to Phillips’ father, longtime NFL coach Bum Phillips.
Worst: The Rams offense did not necessarily start slow, but they were dominated in time of possession in the first half. The Raiders ran 39 plays holding the ball for 21:31 while the Rams ran 20 plays possessing the ball for 8:29.
San Francisco 49ers (Lost 24-16 to the Minnesota Vikings)
Best: Despite a below average performance, the 49ers were able to stay within reach of a Vikings team that had one of the best passing defenses in the league just a season ago. The rush defense was the bright spot on the day keeping talented and explosive Vikings running backs to less than 4 yards per carry.
Worst: It appears the Jerick McKinnon injury affects more than the Niners were anticipating. Matt Breida and Alfred Morris were extremely ineffective in the run game and that exploited their coveted (and highly paid) quarterback’s inconsistencies in the passing game. Alfred Morris’ fumble on the Vikings 1-yard line is just one example of how the duo of running backs were essentially in neutral the entire game.
Seattle Seahawks (Lost 27-24 to the Denver Broncos)
Best: To all the naysayers that said the Legion of Boom was no more were slightly quieted after Sunday’s game. Seattle’s secondary intercepted Case Keenum three times and even though he missed all of camp due to contractual negotiations, Earl Thomas did not miss a beat. The safety had five tackles and a pick.
Worst: Doug Baldwin, exited the game in the first half with a partial MCL-tear. Pete Carroll said Tuesday he is still unsure of Baldwin’s timeline to return to the field. "He's really gonna go a few days at a time here," Carroll said Tuesday. "Let's see what happens. We'll wait and see. We don't know yet. It could be a couple weeks. It could be a couple weeks, and we'll find out. He's as tough as you get. We'll need to wait."