NFL Week 15 Recap: NFC West

The NFC West already has the distinction of offering two teams into the playoffs –- the Arizona Cardinals has clinched the division title and the Seattle Seahawks have taken a wildcard berth.

The Arizona Cardinals clinched the NFC West with a win over the Philadelphia Eagles

The Arizona Cardinals clinched the NFC West with a win over the Philadelphia Eagles

The Arizona Cardinals clinched the NFC West with a win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Rookie running back David Johnson, who is replacing Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington due to injuries, rushed for 187 yards and three touchdowns.

Deone Bucannon intercepted a Sam Bradford pass and took it 39-yards for a score giving the Cardinals a 37-10 lead early in the fourth quarter. Tyrann Mathieu also intercepted a Bradford Pass late in the fourth quarter and limped off the field. The Eagles also fumbled on consecutive drives in the third quarter. Bradford fumbled after being sacked by Markus Golden and Ryan Mathews fumbled at midfield.

The Eagles were driving for a tying score, but on fourth and one at the Cardinals’ eight yards line, Sam Bradford gave the ball to Mathews, who was stopped for no gain. DeMarco Murray, who is 14 for 14 on third and fourth downs of two-yards or less, sat on the bench during the play. He didn’t get a carry until after the third quarter.

Carson Palmer finished with 20 completions on 32 throws for 274 yards and one touchdown. He was sacked twice. Johnson led the Cardinals’ running backs with 187 yards on 29 carries and three touchdowns. Michael Floyd led the Cardinals’ receivers with five catches for 70 yards. Darren Fells caught three passes for 54 yards. Larry Fitzgerald caught three passes for 43 yards. John Brown caught three passes for 38 yards and a score.

Sam Bradford completed 28 passes on 41 attempts for 361 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He was sacked twice. Mathews led the rushers with 58 yards on 11 carries. Murray carried the ball twice for only three years. Jordan Matthews caught eight passes for 159 yards and a touchdown. Zach Ertz caught eight passes for 78 yards and a score. CARDINALS 40 EAGLES 17

Russell Wilson completed 21 passes out of 30 throws for 249 yards and three touchdowns and Doug Baldwin caught four passes for 45 yards and two touchdowns as the Seattle Seahawks clinched a playoff slot beating the Cleveland Browns.

With those two scores Baldwin tied Jerry Rice as the only wide receivers in NFL history to catch 10 touchdown passes over a four-game period in a single season. In addition, Wilson is the only quarterback to have three or more touchdown passes and no interceptions in five straight games.

Tyler Lockett also caught a touchdown pass of 27-yards on the first play of the fourth quarter and Jermaine Kearse had his best regular season game of his career catching seven passes for 110 yards. Finally, the Seahawks have scored 30 or more points in five of its last six games.

Johnny Manziel started at quarterback for the Cleveland Browns and didn’t make any major mistakes. He finished with 19 completions on 32 attempts for 161 yards and an interception that occurred with 2:06 remaining in the game as he tried to force a pass downfield.

Manziel led the Browns on their first drive that included 15 plays and finished with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Gary Barnidge. It was the first touchdown drive the Seahawks’ defense has allowed since the fourth quarter of their win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Seahawks were forced into relying on three runners –- Derrick Coleman, Bryce Brown and Christine Michael –- due to injuries to Marshawn Lynch and Thomas Rawls. It was Michaels who shined. He rushed for 84 yards on 16 carries. Brown collected 43 yards on nine carries and Coleman had 10 yards on five carries.

Steven Hauschka kicked his second of three field goals to make the score 20-10 Seahawks at the end of the first half. SEAHAWKS 30 BROWNS 13

The San Francisco 49ers clinched last place in the division with a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. A.J. McCarron replaced the Bengals’ starting QB Andy Dalton and completed 15 out of 21 passes for 192 yards one touchdown and no interceptions. He was sacked four times.

The Bengals relied more on the running game in which three running backs –- Giovani Bernard, Jeremy Hill, Mohamed Sanu –- combined for 68 yards on 36 carries. Hill scored two touchdowns. Vontaze Burfict and Adam “Pacman” Jones each contributed an interception. The Bengals scored two touchdowns off of three turnovers. The third interception came on a Shawn Williams’ pick on the goal line with 1:50 remaining.

A Bruce Miller one-yard touchdown run and a 15-yard touchdown pass from Blaine Gabbert to Anquan Boldin accounted for the 49ers’ scores. BENGALS 24 49ERS 14
 Tavon Austin scored twice; Benny Cunningham had two big kickoff returns, one for 102-yards and the other for 44-yards; and Case Keenum threw two touchdown passes in the first quarter as the St. Louis Rams beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in what could be the final home game in St. Louis.

The Rams led 31-13 and were playing conservatively when Buccaneers’ quarterback Jameis Winston came up with two touchdown passes in a big fourth quarter. The rookie only had 125 yards passing in the first three quarters, but finished with a career-best 363 yards. A nine-yard touchdown pass to Austin. Seferian-Jenkins cut the deficit to eight with 1:34 remaining, but the Rams recovered the onside kick attempt.

Buccaneers’ wide receiver Mike Evans caught nine passes for 157 yards and reached the milestone of 1,000 yards for the season.

Wilson finished with 29 completions on 50 attempts for 363 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Leading rusher for the Bucs was Doug Martin, who gained 91 yards on 18 carries.

Keenum finished with 14 completions on 17 attempts for 234 yards and two touchdowns. He was sacked twice. Leading rusher for the Rams was Todd Gurley, who gained 48 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown. Leading receiver was Kenny Britt with two catches for 71 yards and a touchdown; Jared Cook was second with four catches for 64 yards. RAMS 31 BUCCANEERS 23
NFC WEST STANDINGS            Overall         Division       Conference
 c-ARIZONA CARDINALS            12-2                4-1                  9-1
x-SEATTLE SEAHAWKS              9-5                 2-2                 6-4
ST. LOUIS RAMS                            6-8                 3-1                  5-5
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS            4-10               0-5                  3-7
 C – Clinch the division
X – Clinch playoff berth
 49ERS @ LIONS                           SUNDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2015
RAMS @ SEAHAWKS                 SUNDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2015
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