The Arizona Cardinals sit atop the NFC West with a 9-2 record with five more games to play in this 2015 NFL season. The question is do they have an insurmountable lead over the rest of the members of the division?
Frankly speaking, only the Seattle Seahawks have any chance of catching the Cardinals as they sit in second place with a 6-5 record. If you do the math you’ll find that they are three games behind. That sounds like an insurmountable lead. However, if any team in this division can legitimately challenge the Cardinals it has to be the Seahawks. The Rams are in third five games behind and the San Francisco 49ers are resting in last place six games behind.
The Seahawks may not have to win all of their remaining games, but they would be better off if they do. In week 12 they kept their hopes alive as they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw a career high five touchdown passes, including two to Doug Baldwin in the final 8:12 of the game. Still, their defense had to assure the victory.
This season the Seahawks have built a reputation of blowing games in the fourth quarter. It didn’t happen in this game as DBs Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor had one interception each.
Baldwin actually caught three touchdown passes. He scored on a 70-yard pass play on a third down and 10. He caught a 16-yard touchdown pass and he caught a 30-yard TD pass.
It was said that Wilson had his best performance of the regular season. He completed 21 passes on 30 attempts for 345 yards, his best in a regular season game of his career. Due to his performance he achieved a passing rating of 147.9 and was almost perfect in the fourth quarter going seven of nine for 164 yards and three TDs.
Meanwhile, Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had the best passing performance ever against the Seahawks in Seattle. The screams and yells from the “12th man” Seahawks’ fans present could not break through his concentration as he threw for 456 yards
However, he had to leave the game with two minutes remaining after possibly suffering a concussion. Landry Jones replaced him and almost led a late rally, but it was snuffed out when Chancellor got his pick at the Seahawks’ six-yard line with 1:37 remaining.
The Steelers gave up a total of four turnovers.
Sherman kept his eye on Steelers’ receiver Antonio Brown. So Roethlisberger focused on Markus Wheaton, who caught nine passes for 201 yards. Brown still had six catches for an anemic 51 yards.
Wilson has been burning hot for the last two games as he completed 41 passes on 55 throws for 466 yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions. SEAHAWKS 39 STEELERS 30
The Cardinals won their fifth game in a row, although the San Francisco 49ers didn’t make it easy. Cardinals’ quarterback Carson Palmer had to run 8-yards for the go ahead score with 2:28 remaining. He spiked the ball in celebration and then took a tumble. There were as many people laughing at the escapade as feared that he injured himself. He was okay.
A few moments before his fall in the end zone, Palmer fell delivering a pass for a 34-yard completion to J.J. Nelson that put the Cards on the one-yard line.
Chandler Catanzaro missed the extra point.
Despite losing, the 49ers outgained the Cardinals 368 to 337. Blaine Gabbert had 25 completions on 36 attempts for 318 yards and a touchdown for the 49ers. 49ers kicker Phil Dawson kicked a 53-yard field goal at the end of the first half and tied the game with a 33-yard field goal in the third quarter for his 18th straight successful boot.
It was the Cardinals’ first win on San Francisco’s home field since a 23-13 victory on week one of the 2008 season. Palmer completed 24 passes on 40 attempts for 271 yards. He was sacked once. Receiver John Brown caught five passes for 99 yards. Larry Fitzgerald caught 10 for 66 yards.
Anquan Boldin was the 49ers leading receiver with eight catches for 93 yards. Vance McDonald caught six passes for 71 yards and a touchdown and Blake Bell caught three passes for 67 yards.
The Cardinals lost cornerback Jerraud Powers and running backs Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington to injuries. CARDINALS 19 49ERS 13
Andy Dalton threw three touchdown passes –- two to A.J. Green –- and Nick Foles threw three interceptions as the Cincinnati Bengals beat the St. Louis Rams.
Dalton finished with 20 completions on 27 tries for 233 yards. His touchdown passes were for nine and 18-yards to Green and a 22 yarder to Tyler Eifert. Foles completed 30 passes on 46 attempts for 228 yards. He has a total of seven touchdowns and nine interceptions so far this season.
The Rams ran what probably was the most innovative play of the game when running back Todd Gurley took the snap in the wildcat formation and handed the ball off to Tavon Austin, who ran it for 60 yards. Austin then ran five-yards for the score.
Austin was the Rams’ leading rusher with 63 yards on four carries. He caught six passes for 33 yards. Gurley could only muster 19-yards on nine carries.
The Rams have scored 13 points or less in each of their last three games and have lost four games in a row. BENGALS 31 RAMS 7
NFC WEST STANDINGS Overall Division
ARIZONA CARDINALS 9-2 3-1
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 6-5 2-2
ST. LOUIS RAMS 4-7 3-0
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS 3-8 0-5
NFC WEST SCHEDULE
CARDINALS @ RAMS SUNDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2015
SEAHAWKS @ VIKINGS SUNDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2015
49ERS @ BEARS SUNDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2015
Courtesy of Heavy.com