Week 10 featured the St. Louis Rams pulling a 38-8 upset on the road against the Indianapolis Colts. The Seattle Seahawks continue to roll by defeating the Atlanta Falcons 33-10. The Arizona Cardinals remained in the thick of the playoff race squeezing out a 27-24 win over the Houston Texans. The San Francisco 49ers five-game win streak was snapped by the upstart Carolina Panthers in a 10-9 defensive battle.
Here is a glimpse at one aspect from what each NFC West team did in Week 10:
The Rams 2013 first rookie pick burst on to the season in Week 10 for a career-best game by reaching the end zone three times. Austin‘s first score came off a 98-yard punt return down the sideline to put his team up 21-0 early in the second quarter. He quickly followed up that impressive play on the Rams’ ensuing drive by catching a 57-yard touchdown reception that gave St. Louis a 28-0 lead. Austin was not finished there as on the Rams’ first drive of the second half he caught a slant pattern across the middle of the field and outran the Colts’ defensive backs for an 81-yard touchdown that put his team up 35-0.
St. Louis had moved up in the 2013 draft to get Austin for performances like he had in Week 10. He had impressed NFL scouts with his blazing speed that allowed him to separate and make big plays. Austin displayed that on each of his three touchdowns as he used his speed to accelerate past the defenders. The issue with his inconsistent production this season was more than anything the fact that Rams had not thrown the ball that often in his direction, so hopefully with the performance he had in week 10 it will help him become more involved in the offense.
Beast Mode had another huge week by having his second consecutive game of rushing for over 120 yards with 145 yards on the ground with one touchdown to go along with three catches and 16 receiving yards. Lynch scored his lone rushing touchdown on the ground in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard run that gave the Seahawks a three-touchdown lead. He has been a major factor in the team’s success as part of the NFL’s third ranked rushing attack.
Since arriving to the Seattle three seasons ago via a trade from the Buffalo Bills, Lynch has been one of the best running backs in the league and a consistently productive player in a run-first offense that can rely on him to lead their ground attack. Expect this trend to continue into Week 11 as the Seahawks will face the Minnesota Vikings, who are ranked 23rd in the league in rush defense allowing 113.7 yards per game and nine touchdowns.
In an offensive struggle between the 49ers and the Panthers, each defense was a standout by keeping their opponent’s offense grounded. As for San Francisco’s defense despite losing 10-9, it was a great team effort that only allowed Cam Newton to throw 16-of-32 for 169 passing yards with an interception and rush for 17 yards on 7 carries. Coming into Week 10, Newton in the past two games had thrown for 22o-plus yards and scored at least one rushing and passing touchdown.
So a big part of that effort that kept Newton out of the end zone was the play of Brooks, who had five tackles that included three sacks with four hits on the quarterback, and one pass deflected. Brooks was a disruptive force on defense and helped his team stay in the game by giving the 49ers’ offense a chance to win the game. San Francisco’s defense must quickly learn and move on from their loss in Week 10, as they will be playing the NFC South division-leading New Orleans Saints lead by a MVP candidate in Drew Brees, who is coming off a four touchdown and 392 passing yards performance against the Dallas Cowboys.
The 10-year quarterback in Week 10 helped lead his team past the Texans by passing for 241 yards with two touchdowns against one of the league’s best defenses. Palmer continued to throw timely touchdowns to lead his team to victory. His first touchdown pass coming on a 12-yard throw to Rob Housler to give the Cardinals a 14-7 lead midway through the second quarter and his second came in the fourth quarter on a 19-yard catch by Andre Roberts that extended Arizona’s lead to 27-17 with six minutes left in the game.
Palmer was able to help give his team a much needed win to keep them in the thick of the playoff race, as they lie one game behind both the 49ers and Panthers. The Cardinals will need to take advantage of their opponent in Week 11 as they face the Jacksonville Jaguars if they want to remain in the mix for a playoff spot.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Darron Cummings