Week 2 in the NFC West was highlighted by a divisional matchup between two heated rivals in the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks. In other contests involving teams from the division, the Arizona Cardinals played well late to defeat the Detroit Lions and the St. Louis Rams fell a little short of an impressive upset of the Atlanta Falcons. Here’s a look at an aspect of each of the four NFC West teams in Week 2.
Seattle’s defense was dominant all around but the key to their success came from the excellent play by their secondary. Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas all recorded interceptions and Walter Thurmond was key in coverage and making plays as well. From completely stopping Anquan Boldin, who only had one reception in the game, to performing exceptionally well in coverage, the secondary helped stabilize the defense and allowed Seattle’s front seven the freedom to pressure the ball and stop the 49ers’ running game.
There were many problem areas for the 49ers in this game, but Kaepernick was the focal point of the team’s struggles. Unable to navigate the tenacious Seattle defense and ruckus home crowd atmosphere, he had just 127 passing yards, threw three interceptions – the first time in his career where he had more than one interception in a game – and lost one fumble. With Frank Gore and the running game failing to produce, Kaepernick had to put the entire team’s efforts on his back and he was unable to succeed against the Seahawks defense.
A sixth-round draft pick out of Clemson, Ellington had a nice breakout performance in his second career game. Catching a 36-yard touchdown pass from Carson Palmer and having a key 16-yard reception to set up a Rashard Mendenhall goal-line game-winning touchdown, he was quite involved in the Cardinals’ offensive game plan. Look for Ellington to continue to have an important role in head coach Bruce Arians’ offense.
Finishing the game with 32 of 55 completions for 352 yards and three touchdowns, Bradford took advantage of a poor pass rush by the Falcons and found his receivers throughout the game. Spreading the ball around nicely and completing passes to 10 different receivers, his big targets for the day were Chris Givens (five receptions, 105 yards), Austin Pettis (eight receptions, 78 yards, one touchdown) and Tavon Austin (six receptions, 47 yards, two touchdowns). Despite the loss, this was a promising performance for Bradford and the Rams for their Week 3 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys.
Photo Credit: Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports
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