Even as the San Francisco 49ers were embarrassing themselves at Candlestick Park against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the rest of the NFC West was doing its best to keep them in the divisional race. The NFC West had an epically bad Sunday, losing all four of their games 121-49 and continuing to live up to the joke that it has become around the league. We’ve discussed the 49ers ad nauseum so let’s take a quick look at the rest of the division and where things stand after eleven weeks:
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Arizona Cardinals: The Chiefs came into this game on a mini-skid that included a decimation at the hands of the Denver Broncos. However, the Chiefs righted the ship and regained control of the AFC West while sending the Arizona Cardinals to a 3-7 record courtesy of a 31-13 victory. The Cardinals got a lot of yards from Derek Anderson, but after taking a 3-0 lead there was little else they could do. From the second quarter on there was little they could do to stop the Chiefs offense as Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles combined to average 5.5 yards per rush and run over the Cardinals.
St. Louis Rams vs. Atlanta Falcons: This game was a back and forth affair before the Falcons pulled away in the fourth quarter and won 34-17 and really sealed it on a key Sam Bradford interception. The loss dropped the Rams to 4-6. The Falcons did just about everything right as Matt Ryan as efficient and Michael Turner barreled over the Rams with relative ease to the tune of 4.7 yards per carry.
New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks fell to 5-5 after losing to the Saints 34-19. Although the Seahawks took an early 3-0 lead, they struggled to get their offense going until they were trailing by multiple scores. They cut the lead to eight in the second quarter but the Saints ended that threat fairly quickly. On the ensuing drive, Drew Brees completed three passes and took a roughing the pass penalty that got the Saints back up 14 points. The Seahawks managed two more field goals the rest of the way.
The current NFC West standings are as follows:
St. Louis: 4-6
San Francisco: 3-7
All four teams are alive in some form or fashion in the race for the division title, but things should start sorting themselves out at least a little bit pretty soon. Next week the 49ers and Cardinals meet on Monday Night Football (ESPN has to be PUMPED for that one). One could reasonably argue that the loser of that matchup is more or less out of the playoff race.
Technically the loser could remain two games back if the Seahawks lose at home to the Chiefs, so maybe this isn’t as much of an elimination game as I think. But the loss definitely puts the team in a much bigger hole than they might otherwise like.