Things are starting to get interesting in the NFC West. It now appears that three out of the four teams could compete for the division title. Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer continues to throw touchdown passes, the St. Louis Rams have discovered their dynamic duo, and the Seattle Seahawks are starting to put some wins together after a dismal start.
Palmer threw four touchdown passes –- three in the second half –- to lift the Cardinals over the Cleveland Browns despite four turnovers. Cardinals’ wide receiver Michael Floyd caught a 60-yard TD; tight end Troy Niklas caught two short passes for scores and premier receiver Larry Fitzgerald caught a 6-yard pass for a score. It was Fitzgerald’s catch that put the Cardinals in the lead. Palmer finished with 23 completions on 38 attempts for 374 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Floyd caught four passes for 106 yards; and Fitzgerald had nine catches for 84 yards
Cardinals’ running back Chris Johnson, who has been a pleasant surprise as he performs well for the team, rushed for 109 yards on 30 carries. For the season, the 30-year old already has rushed for 676 yards on 141 carries for a 4.8 yard average per game.
The Browns went with Josh McCown as their starting quarterback and he did not disappoint throwing three TD passes in the first half. However, he played with a lot of pain in the second half after taking a big hit to his ribs, which were already tender. The pain got to be too much and backup Johnny Manziel had to replace him with 2:16 remaining in the game. X-rays were taken of McCown’s ribs, but the results were not given. McCown completed 18 throws on 34 attempts for 211 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
The Browns next game is Thursday night against the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals and it appears that Manziel may get the start. CARDINALS 34 BROWNS 20
The dynamic duo for the St. Lois Rams is running back Todd Gurley and receiver Tavon Austin. The Rams took a chance when they drafted Gurley as the 10th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. He had suffered a torn left ACL in November 2014 that ended his college career. The team has shown a lot of patience as they slowly worked him into the lineup. He didn’t play the first two games and had a limited role in the third game before the Rams started to let him play with no restrictions. In the five games he has played this season he has rushed for 575 yards on 94 carries and has scored three touchdowns. He has also broken off long runs of 52 yards in a win against the Cardinals on October 4; 55 yards in a loss to the Packers on October 11; and 48 yards in a win against the Cleveland Browns. He finished this game with 133 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown. He also contributed a 71-yard touchdown run to the victory. Gurley is the first rookie to rush for 100 yards in four consecutive games and has rushed for more yards in his first four starts than any player since the merger of the NFL and AFL.
Austin is in his third year and so far has collected 945 yards on 95 receptions and eight touchdowns. He has also rushed for 516 yards and five touchdowns and has returned punts for a total of 806 yards and three touchdowns.
In the Rams victory over the San Francisco 49ers last week, the two combined for 265 yards of the Rams total of 388 yards of offense and all three of the team’s touchdowns. In the seven games that both have played they combined for 1,089 yards and 10 touchdowns. That calculates to 50 percent of the Rams total offense so far this season and 71 percent of their touchdowns on offense and special teams.
The 49ers had to play without their starting running back Carlos Hyde, back up running back Reggie Bush and leading receiver Anquan Boldin due to injuries. They were only able to generate a total of 189 yards of offense. Kicker Phil Dawson provided the team’s only scores with field goals of 54 yards and 26 yards.
49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick finished with 20 completions on 41 attempts for 162 yards and was the team’s leading rusher with 28 yards. Rams QB Nick Foles completed 14 passes on 23 attempts for 191 yards RAMS 27 49ERS 6
Russell Wilson’s pass to Luke Wilson was the only touchdown of the day as the Seattle Seahawks defeated the Dallas Cowboys. The Seahawks most decisive drive occurred near the two-minute warning. The drive started on the Seahawks 15 yard line. Wilson converted a third down play with a pass to tight end Jimmy Graham and again converted on third down on a 10-yard run to get the ball inside the Cowboys’ 10. The drive stalled and kicker Steven Hauschka booted a 24-yard field goal with 1:06 remaining. It was Wilson’s 16th game winning drive of his career, but the first this season.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys did not score a touchdown for the second time in five games, although they had their opportunities in the fourth quarter. Defensive end Greg Hardy tipped a Wilson pass and intercepted it. That was the first Cowboys’ takeaway in five games. Wilson made the tackle at the Seahawks’ 16-yard line. Cowboys’ kicker Dan Bailey kicked his fourth field goal of the day and the Boys led 12-10.
Defensive end David Irving blocked a Hauschka field goal attempt, but the Cowboys couldn’t score and had to settle for another Bailey field goal.
Cowboys’ quarterback Matt Cassel was able to keep some drives going on a few scrambles, including a 24-yard run and a 12-yard run, but the offense could only collect one field goal. Cassel finished with 13 completions on 25 attempts for 97 yards.
Wilson was 19 for 30 for 210 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also ran six times for 32 yards. SEAHAWKS 13 COWBOYS 12
NFC WEST STANDINGS overall Division
ARIZONA CARDINALS 6-2 1-1
ST. LOUIS RAMS 4-3 3-0
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 4-4 1-1
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS 2-6 0-3
NFC WEST SCHEDULE
RAMS @ VIKINGS SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2015
FALCONS @ 49ERS SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2015
Courtesy of Fox Sports