Sports Out West

NFC West Week 17 Roundup: Seahawks clinch division, 49ers get sixth straight win

Photo Credit: Seahawks.com

In the final week of the 2013 regular season it featured two NFC West showdowns with playoff implications. The Seattle Seahawks took care of business at home by defeating the St. Louis Rams 27-9, which earned them the NFC West crown and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoff bracket. The San Francisco 49ers won their sixth straight regular season game by beating the Arizona Cardinals 23-20 in overtime, which locked up the fifth seed in the playoffs to go along with denying the Cardinals a chance at a playoff berth.

Here is a glimpse at one aspect from what each NFC West team did in Week 17:

Marshawn Lynch

In Week 17 in a game where the division title and NFC playoffs home-field advantage were on the line, beast mode was a dominant factor against the Rams as he rushed for 97 yards and one touchdown to go along with one catch and four yards. Lynch‘s one-yard touchdown run came late in the third quarter to give Seattle a cushion lead at 20-3 over St. Louis that proved to be more than enough to earn to get them the victory. This season the 27-year-old has been the leading force behind league’s fourth-ranked rush attack as he has 301 rush attempts for 1,257 yards with 12 touchdowns this season. The Seahawks are a run-first team and depend on Lynch as the main cog in their offense as a lot of their success this season has been due to an establish run game with him as the main running back. With the playoffs on the horizon for Seattle, they will need Lynch to continue his high level of play if they hope to continue their season deep into the playoffs.

Anquan Boldin

The three-time pro bowler had one of his best performances of the season in his first back in Arizona where his career began 11 years ago. Boldin in Week 17 had nine catches for 149 yards receiving yards with one touchdown. His touchdown catch came in the first quarter as he caught a four-yard pass from Colin Kaepernick to give the 49ers a 10-0 lead over the Cardinals. Boldin played in Sunday’s matchup as he his team earn the fifth seed in the NFC playoff bracket, which where they will have a rematch against the Green Packers. The Packers and 49ers met in Week 1 of the regular season at Candlestick Park which resulted in San Francisco winning the game 34-28, and Boldin having his best game of the season by catching 13 passes for 208 receiving yards and one touchdown. With their second matchup on the road in Green Bay at Lambeau Field, the 49ers will need another big game from Boldin to help them reach the second round of the playoffs and one step closer to earning a second consecutive Super Bowl appearance.

Carson Palmer

In a must-win game in Week 17 against the 49ers, Palmer had a great performance as he threw for 407 yards with two touchdown passes and one interception. Palmer and the Cardinals offense was quiet in the first quarter of the game as they did not put up any points. Their offense began to pick it up in the second quarter as Palmer threw his first touchdown pass on a one-yard connection with tight end Jake Ballard to cut the deficit to 17-7. In the second half he continued to heat up as tossed his second touchdown pass on a 34-yard throw to Andre Roberts to tie the game at 17 with 3:20 left in the fourth quarter. Palmer was not done there as he orchestrated a drive that ended in a game-typing 43-yard field goal by Jay Feely with 29 seconds left in the fourth quarter after San Francisco had just put together a driveto give them a 20-17 lead. Palmer and the Cardinals would come up short in overtime as Kaepernick lead the 49ers down the field for a game-winning field to end any playoffs aspirations that Arizona had. With this season now in the books, the Cardinals can look forward to next season as they can build off a 10-win year and Palmer can build even more chemistry with his receivers which will likely lower his interception total.

Zac Stacy

 In Week 17, Stacy did not have a great game by any means as he rushed for only 15 yards on 15 carries, and he caught four passes for 23 receiving yards. There were no stand out performances on the Rams against the Seahawks, as they were dominated by Seattle at home in a must-win game. So with that said, this nomination of Stacy in Week 17 is for what he has done as the main part of the Rams’ Offense since Sam Bradford went down with a torn left ACL in Week 6 that sidelined him for the remainder of the 2013 regular season. With Bradford out, Stacy stepped in and filled the void as he had 250 rush attempts for 973 yards and seven touchdowns to go with 24 catches for 141 receiving yards and one touchdown. Coming into this year Stacy was a fifth round pick out of Vanderbilt and was not expected to do much, but when he was given the opportunity to be the starting running back he relished in that role. With Stacy as the lead running back for Rams moving forward, it now may mean that they have found the running back to replace Steven Jackson, who is the franchise leader in rushing yards. Stacy has shown this season that he can handle the workload as evident by his four 100-plus rushing yards games. With Stacy in the fold and Bradford hopefully back at 100 percent next season to go along with having the second overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft, it only points toward a bright future for St. Louis for years to come.

Photo Credit: Seahawks.com

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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.

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