This won’t come as a surprise to anyone: the best division in football is undefeated after Week 1.
If you’re reading this, there’s a pretty good chance you saw how the Seahawks’ effortlessly handled the Colts on Sunday en route to a 28-16 win, but you probably missed the two other NFC West games in the early windows. Below, I’ve got everything you need to know about the two other 10am games as well as the Rams’ victory on Sunday Night Football. Keep an eye out for these posts in the future, as I will keep you all appraised of the trajectory of each team in what is sure to be a ferocious race for the division title.
49ers open up massive lead, nearly choke against Goff’s Lions
The 49ers were firing on all cylinders for much of the game Sunday in Detroit. The team was able to employ its typical plug-and-play strategy at running back, helping Elijah Mitchell break the 100-yard mark after Raheem Mostert went down with a knee injury. Jimmy Garoppolo had all day to throw and was able to pick out receivers with relative ease. Garoppolo got most of the snaps at QB, although Trey Lance got a few looks in the first half, including a 5-yard touchdown pass.
The 49ers broke off big chunks against a helpless Lions defense, stretching the lead to 38-10 at one point. However, the team then suffered a few key injuries on the defensive side of the ball, with CB Jason Verrett likely tearing his ACL, LB Azeez Al-Shair coming down with a knee injury of his own, and LB Dre Greenlaw suffering a groin injury. This seemed to take the wind out of the team’s sails a bit, and Detroit was able to cut the lead to 41-33 late. A Deebo Samuel fumble gave the Lions a chance to tie late, but their drive stalled just outside the red zone, securing the 8-point victory for San Francisco.
Overall, any positives taken away from this game should be taken with a grain of salt, as it was against the Lions, but the Niners were very effective on offense, and Garoppolo was actually better than I expected. lf Garoppolo can keep this up, the biggest question for San Francisco will be in the secondary. With Verrett’s injury, the team continues to get thinner at CB, and this could present serious problems for them in the future. Hopefully, we’ll get a better idea of where San Francisco stands when they face off against the Eagles next week.
Cardinals dismantle Titans behind Jones’ 5 sacks
The Cardinals’ 38-13 win over Tennessee today really shocked me. The way in which DeAndre Hopkins, Kyler Murray, and Chandler Jones dominated this game was very impressive. The defense forced three turnovers, and set the tone early on in the game, thanks to Jones’ 3 first-quarter sacks. As a result of the rather porous line in front of him, as well as the large deficits Tennessee faced for most of the game, Derrick Henry was a non-factor, and I was very surprised that Vance Joseph’s defense was able to neutralize the 2,000-yard rusher.
I have been higher on the Cardinals than many others this offseason, but this result truly floored me. Knowing this team, there’s little chance they keep this sort of form going, but they could definitely be scary down the line. For now, though, the Seahawks will be more focused on the Titans, who they will see next week at home; the ‘Hawks won’t match up with Arizona until November 21.
Also, an interesting side note: Titans tackle Taylor Lewan got beaten so bad by Chandler Jones Sunday that he had to take to Twitter to apologize after the game... oof.
Got my ass kicked today, no way around that. I let the team and the fans down. Thank you @chanjones55 for exposing me. It will only force me to get better.— Taylor Lewan (@TaylorLewan77) September 12, 2021
Rams eviscerate Bears 34-14 in Stafford’s debut
In all honesty, the Bears secondary made Taylor Lewan’s performance look good after what they showed the nation on Sunday night. The group was absolutely flabbergasted by McVay’s scheme all night long, leading to multiple 50+ yard touchdown passes from new Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Justin Fields did make an appearance for Chicago, and helped to bring the Bears within six points in the third quarter, but the Rams held steady en route to a comfortable win. Overall, Stafford looked pretty good, but it was the coaching that did most of the heavy lifting Sunday night for the Rams, as is always they case. They look just as dangerous as expected.