Week 4 in the NFC West featured resilient play by many teams. On Thursday night, the San Francisco 49ers turned around their season with a resounding 35-11 win over the St. Louis Rams. The Seattle Seahawks fought back and stayed undefeated with a 23-20 victory in overtime. The Arizona Cardinals also overcame a late deficit to win in the fourth quarter. Here’s a look at an aspect of each of the four NFC West teams in Week 4.
In the first three week, Gore did not play like a dominant back. Often forgotten in the team’s running plans, the 49ers finally got on track as a run-first team thanks to his 153 yards and a score on the ground. With an effective running game, San Francisco was also able to free up opportunities in the passing game, giving Colin Kaepernick his first good game since their Week 1 matchup against the Green Bay Packers. Gore’s success throughout the season will be paramount for a much-needed balance on offense.
One of the big reasons for the 49ers’ success on defense was their ability to defend Austin. San Francisco decided to focus their efforts on one of the Rams’ most talented and dangerous receivers and did a great job of keeping his production at a minimum. Targeted eight times, Austin only had two receptions for six yards. He was also ineffective in the return game, collecting just 19 yards on six punt returns. While some of the Rams’ other young and talented receivers like Austin Pettis and Chris Givens put up decent numbers, they’ll need Austin to produce even when faced with tougher coverage.
Seattle was down by 17 points by halftime and it looked like the Seahawks were going to receive their first loss against the Texans. However, after a Steven Hauschka 39-yard field goal in the third quarter and a Marshawn Lynch touchdown in the fourth, the Seahawks needed a big play to tie the game up. More than halfway through the fourth quarter, Sherman was the man to make the play, as he picked off Matt Schaub and returned the ball untouched 58 yards for a touchdown to force the game into overtime.
The final contest involving a NFC West team was also highlighted by the plays made by an elite cornerback in the fourth quarter. With less than four minutes left in the game, Peterson intercepted rookie quarterback Mike Glennon, which helped set up the Cardinals’ first touchdown of the game. The game now tied, Peterson picked up another big interception by stepping in front of Vincent Jackson, leading to the game-winning field goal. As he has done in many games before, Peterson single-handedly won the game for Arizona.
Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports
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