To make the Seattle Seahawks’ embarrassing home defeat to the Tennessee Titans even worse, the rest of the division all moved up one game ahead of the ‘Hawks, with all three teams winning close games after a week of blowouts in Week 1. Let’s review what the rest of the division accomplished this week, starting with the Rams.
Rams escape Colts thanks to Matt Gay’s game-winning kick
For the second week in a row, an NFC West team took on the Colts, and Indianapolis becoming a common opponent between Seattle and L.A. definitely added some intrigue to the matchup from the perspective of Seahawks fans.
For the second week in a row, Cooper Kupp eclipsed 100 yards receiving, coming up with 163 yards and two touchdowns in this contest. Matt Stafford played well and was key to the Rams coming from behind in the fourth quarter.
The Rams’ offense was fairly successful against the Colts defense, but what makes this game pretty interesting in terms of evaluating just how good the Rams are compared to the Seahawks was the performance of the defense. While it’s important to take transitive results with a grain of salt (for example, I don’t think the Panthers are miles ahead of the Packers, who both share a common opponent in the Saints), it’s worth noting that the Colts offense had pretty decent success moving the ball up and down the field against the supposedly vaunted Rams defense.
Wentz, who took 11 hits from a Rams pass rush that was easily the best unit on their defense today, threw for a solid 247 yards. It was ultimately his turnover issues (including an absurd left-handed shovel pass interception at the goal line) and general lack of skill that caused the Colts’ 354 yards of total offense to not translate into more points, but the Rams defense was suspect at points. Wentz could not finish the game with an ankle injury and former Washington Huskies QB Jacob Eason subbed in and threw a game-ending INT in the two-minute offense. I would like to observe them for the next two weeks to see if cracks are forming, but that’s definitely something to keep an eye on.
49ers escape slugfest in Philadelphia with win
God, this game was ugly. By the end of the game, three more 49ers RBs had gone down with injuries, and only 28 total points had been scored. Garoppolo took a step back from his performance against the Lions, throwing for just 189 yards and looking very shaky for much of the first half.
The 49ers defense played very well against an admittedly weak Eagles offense, but it was a major improvement nonetheless over last week’s rather embarrassing performance against Jared Goff’s Lions, in which they gave up 33 points. Nick Bosa was especially strong in this game, coming away with two sacks and a forced fumble. He seems to be doing just fine coming off of his ACL injury.
Yet, many of my questions about the 49ers linger. Trey Lance had no runs or passes, but you have to think he’ll get a shot at some point this season. When will the 49ers give up on Garoppolo? How will they fare offensively against real contenders? How about the defense? Are they 2019 49ers defense great, or are they coming back down to earth? Hopefully some of these questions will be better answered next week against the Packers, but who knows. We really just don’t have enough information on the Niners at this point to make any sort of judgements about them, given the competition they’ve faced.
Cardinals win home opener against Minnesota in a barn-burner
In a game that rivaled the excitement of the Seahawks-Titans game with its big plays and wild momentum swings, the Cardinals knocked off the Seahawks’ Week 3 opponent by one point Sunday, 34-33. This was a very different Cardinals team that the one that showed up in Tennessee last week. The defense bled yardage to the Vikings profusely throughout the game, and was bailed out thanks to a last-second missed field goal from the Vikings which gave the Cardinals the win.
The offense, meanwhile, was just as explosive as it was against Tennessee, but less efficient. Kyler Murray threw two interceptions, including a pick-6, but also tossed for 400 yards in the air. The Cardinals seem willing to just ride the rollercoaster on both offense and defense and see where it takes them. Their games with the Seahawks this year should be even more heart-stopping than usual (if topping last year’s game in Arizona is even possible, that is).
As for the Vikings, we learned they were a lot better than they showed against Cincinnati in Week 1. Kirk Cousins threw for 3 touchdowns with no interceptions and a passer rating of 122.4. Dalvin Cook cracked 130 yards of rushing. Expect the Vikings to be a tougher matchup than expected in Week 3, as they always are.
One more note about this game: Rondale Moore, who is perhaps my most-feared NFC West rookie, took the top off of the Vikings defense today for a 77 yard touchdown. Consider me scared.