Sports Out West

NFC West Week 12 Roundup: Cardinals continue hot streak, 49ers bounce back

Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images

Week 12 in the NFC West with the Seattle Seahawks on their bye had the division go 3-o with the Arizona Cardinals extending their win streak to four games as they trounced the Indianapolis Colts 40-11. The St. Louis Rams won their second straight game as they defeated the Chicago Bears 42-21. The San Francisco 49ers bounced back on the road by defeating the Washington Redskins 27-6.

Here is a glimpse at one aspect from what each NFC West team did in Week 12:

Benny Cunningham

After Zac Stacy was forced to miss most of the second half  with concussion-like symptoms, fellow rookie running back Benny Cunningham came in and provided the Rams a solid running game by rushing for 109 yards with one touchdown. His touchdown came on a tough nine-yard run to put his team ahead 35-21 with just over three minutes left in the fourth quarter. Cunningham ‘s ability to step in place of Stacy was huge for the Rams as the game was in the balance with the Bears cutting the deficit to 27-21 midway through the fourth quarter. He and Stacy are similar shifty running backs that both have big play ability. If Stacy is unable to play next week in St. Louis’s important divisional matchup on the road against the 49ers, expect the former Blue Raider to receive the start in the backfield. The Rams lie just two games out of the final playoff spot and a win over San Francisco, who currently hold that final spot, would boost their chances of reaching that goal.

Carson Palmer

Palmer continued his high level of play into Week 12 against the Colts as he threw for 314 yards with two touchdowns and lead the Cardinals to their fourth consecutive win. The first of Palmer’s two touchdowns came on an impressive 80-yard drive that ended in a 4-yard pass to Larry Fitzgerald. The second touchdown came in the beginning of the second quarter on another 8o-yard drive that saw Fitzgerald once again as the recipient on a 14-yard strike as it put Arizona up 14-3, which was a lead that grew to as much as 31 points. The former USC Trojan’s Week 12 performance was his fourth consecutive two touchdown game and third straight without an interception. Palmer is playing at a high level right now and it has his team in the thick of the playoff race with them vying for the final playoff spot against the San Francisco 49ers, who they will face one more time in Week 17. A push for the NFC West title is also not completely out of the picture as they lie just two games behind the Seahawks and face them again in Week 16. The Cardinals will look to keep the ball rolling in Week 13 against another high scoring offense as they face the NFC East division-leading Philadelphia Eagles.

Colin Kaepernick

Heading into Week 12, Kaepernick has had his fair share of struggles passing the ball this season as he ranks 31st in the NFL among all qualifying quarterbacks with a 56.2 percent completion rate, a passer rating of 81.8, and has just 11 touchdowns to go with seven interceptions. The third-year quarterback appeared to put all that behind him against the Redskins as he had his best statistical game since Week 1 as he threw for 235 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. His first touchdown came on a 19-yard strike to Anquan Boldin to put San Francisco up 7-0 late in the first quarter. His second touchdown pass came with nine minutes left in the third quarter with Boldin once again the recipient with this time being on a 6-yard catch that increased the 49ers lead to 17-6. His final touchdown occurred late in the third quarter on a 1-yard pass to Vernon Davis to give his team a controlling 18-point lead at 24-6. The three touchdowns were apart of the 49ers efficient ability to convert red zone chances into points as they were able to score on 3-of-4 opportunities.  

Kaepernick has struggled to maintain any consistency in the passing game as Week 12’s performance was just his third game of over 200 yards passing. San Francisco is hoping their young quarterback can continue his improved play and keep them in the thick of the playoff race with a win next week against the Rams, who they were able to defeat 35-11 in Week 4.

Photo Credit: USA Today Sports Images

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Bob Garcia IV

Bob Garcia is a sports journalist from Southern California. He was a reporter for the award-winning newspaper, The Daily Sundial, at California State University, Northridge. You can follow him on Twitter, @BGarcia90.