After one week of NFL action, the San Francisco 49ers found themselves in a pretty good place, at least in the NFC West. They'd just beaten the 2010 division winners, and the rest of the division looked as bad as advertised against their respective opponents. We've got week two in the books now, and the 49ers outlook shouldn't be any different ... really, it should probably be better. The way they played, coupled with the way the rest of the division played, shows, at worst, a steady course and at best, an upward trend.
And that's with all four teams in the division losing. Go figure.
For San Francisco, they have only themselves to blame for their loss, but they did look an awful lot better than most gave them credit for. Despite the fact that the Dallas Cowboys hit the nail right on Vegas' three-point spread, the 49ers held command of that game through the first three quarters, but things broke down in the fourth. That's more than can be said for the rest of the division, and the Cowboys are a good football team. It took broken coverage in overtime to bring them down, and they should feel good about that.
The Seattle Seahawks were on the losing end of a 49ers win in week one, and were on the losing end of a Pittsburgh Steelers massacre in week two. Seattle gave up 300 yards to Ben Roethlisberger and two rushing touchdowns to a pair of running backs. Those are the kind of numbers that one usually expects of the Steelers, but the Seahawks offense just could not keep up at all. They were blanked, losing 24-0.
Tavaris Jackson didn't look terrible this time around, but he failed to inspire much confidence with his lack of yardage, going 20-for-29 for 159 yards with no scores and no turnovers. He led the team in rushing ... with twelve yards. Marshawn Lynch had eleven yards rushing, and Ben Obomanu led the team in receiving yards with 35 of them. So it was not at all a good game for the Seahawks, who find themselves in a much worse place than 2010, especially in the 49ers' eyes, because they've already beaten them.
The Arizona Cardinals looked good on Sunday, as they did in week one. Kevin Kolb was able to execute offensively, with 250 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. They actually held the lead late into the fourth quarter, but saw it evaporate when the Washington Redskins were able to take the lead with a 34-yard field goal from Graham Gano. Arizona got the ball back with under two minutes to go, but Chansi Stuckey fumbled the ball and that allowed the Redskins to seal the deal. Rex Grossman threw for just under 300 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
It was a positive game with a sickening ending, and the 49ers find themselves looking at the Cardinals as their biggest threats right now, considering the similarities between the two and the fact that they're both 1-1. Arizona has the chops to execute offensively, but they still have a lot of work to do defensively to keep themselves ahead in football games. An eight point fourth quarter lead should be somewhat comforting.
The St. Louis Rams played on Monday Night Football against the New York Giants and found themselves on the losing end of a 28-16 Giants win. Eli Manning had 200 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, while Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs combined for 109 yards on the ground. Those are some good stats, but they aren't the most impressive of the game, as it happens. Sam Bradford looked like a pretty darn good quarterback for a good portion of the game.
Bradford threw for 331 yards and had a touchdown against no interceptions on Monday night, but he did throw the ball an awful lot. Connecting on 22 of his 46 pass attempts, the second-year quarterback looked good everywhere except the red zone. Once St. Louis got there, they were simply lost. They couldn't get anything done there. That, along with two fumbles lost and a pair of sacks for the Giants, the Rams couldn't keep up.
So for the 49ers, who have to be kicking themselves after losing their game on Sunday, the division is well within reach as they share the top spot. Once again, they should be feeling good about their place in the NFC West.