As most of us expected, the Los Angeles Rams have seized early control of the NFC West, but they have been hit with some key injuries to that vaunted defense. It’s much worse news for the San Francisco 49ers, who won’t have Jimmy Garoppolo for the rest of the season, while the Arizona Cardinals are hoping they don’t have to go back to Sam Bradford for another minute of what is turning out to be a truly miserable season.
Here’s a recap of how the Seattle Seahawks’ rivals fared in Week 3 of the 2018 NFL season.
Kansas City Chiefs 38 San Francisco 49ers 27
The unbeaten Chiefs jumped on San Francisco early, and Kyle Shanahan’s group just had too much work to do. Patrick Mahomes threw for 300+ yards, three touchdowns, no turnovers, and just all-around brilliance from the first-year starter.
Mahomes will likely have to remain brilliant because that Chiefs defense is absolutely awful, but they are by far the most exciting team to watch right now. The 49ers certainly were also masters of their own demise, committing 14 penalties for 147 yards, as well as going just 2-9 on third-down conversions.
We know of course about the unfortunate torn ACL for Jimmy Garoppolo, but they’ll also be without Richard Sherman for a couple of weeks due to a calf strain. By the way, was this pass interference or just brilliant defending by Sherm?
A great play by Richard Sherman on an underthrown ball from Mahomes. Should have been six. pic.twitter.com/ovRLi2JFcg— Ollie Connolly (@OllieConnolly) September 23, 2018
Chicago Bears 16 Arizona Cardinals 14
Once upon a time, Sam Bradford was 4/5 for 92 yards and a pair of touchdown passes, and the 0-2 Cardinals were shockingly up 14-0 on the Bears. Bradford to the bench? Don’t be silly.
...Then Bradford proceeded to go 9/14 for 65 yards, 2 interceptions and a lost fumble, courtesy of another Khalil Mack strip-sack. That 14-3 halftime lead turned into a 16-14 Bears advantage, as Chicago capitalized on all of Bradford’s mistakes. Steve Wilks pulled the plug on Bradford, inserted Josh Rosen for a game-winning drive opportunity in his first career appearance. Unfortunately for Josh, he threw an interception on 4th down, one play after Arizona pulled David Johnson from the game over a supposed failed blitz pick-up, so their best player was on the sideline for a critical 3rd and 2. Backup RB Chase Edmonds got the carry and lost three yards. Related: Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy has been fired twice since the beginning of 2017.
Rosen did get one last chance at glory, but Vic Fangio dialed up a blitz on a Hail Mary attempt and this resulted in a sack. I think more teams should do this, but maybe that’s just me.
Wilks has already decided to start Rosen this weekend, and it would take some doing for him to be worse than this version of Bradford, who may have finally run out of absurd paydays based on his 2010 potential.
Los Angeles Rams 35 Los Angeles Chargers 23
The Battle of Los Angeles was actually quite entertaining, but Gus Bradley’s defense could only muster one punt out of that juggernaut Rams offense, which racked up 33 first-downs and 521 yards, with Jared Goff throwing for 354 yards and three touchdowns. The Chargers did a terrible job of taking advantage of two turnovers, going three-and-out after a Todd Gurley fumble on the opening possession, then giving up a blocked punt for a touchdown after Derwin James picked off Jared Goff but was down at his own 1. I don’t know how the Chargers are this bad on special teams every year.
One name to keep an eye on is Mike Williams, one of the 145 wide receivers with the same name, but this one might actually be good. He missed a good chunk of his rookie season due to injury, but he roasted the Rams for 4 catches, 81 yards, and 2 touchdowns. This Chargers defense might be struggling without Joey Bosa, but the offense is still dangerous.
This Rams win moved them to 3-0, albeit at the expense of both starting cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. We know that Talib is out for at least a month with a high-ankle sprain, whereas Peters’ calf injury might force him to miss the Rams’ trip to Seattle. As dangerous as that defensive line may be, depleted secondary depth hurt Los Angeles last season, and that could still be the case this season if both are out for several weeks. Meanwhile, reports that left tackle Andrew Whitworth underwent knee surgery appear to be false, at least according to Whitworth.
Even with a depleted secondary, this Rams team is just so stacked that they probably will be able to win shootouts should the defense suffer significantly. That said, a short week against the Minnesota Vikings could be a tricky matchup, and if they lose that one and the Seahawks defeat Arizona... Seattle could be playing for first-place in the division on October 7th. A man can dream, right?
NFC West Standings
Rams (3-0, 1-0 div)
49ers (1-2, 0-0 div)
Seahawks (1-2, 0-0 div)
Cardinals (0-3, 0-1 div)
Next Week’s Schedule
Vikings at Rams (5:20 PM PT, FOX - Thursday Night Football)
49ers at Chargers (1:25 PM PT, CBS)
Seahawks at Cardinals (1:05 PM PT, FOX)