It took just two games to showcase all four NFC West teams in Week 14 as the San Francisco 49ers squared off against the Seattle Seahawks in the Bay Area while the Arizona Cardinals played host to the St. Louis Rams.
The Niners’ battle with the Seahawks may have been the NFL’s game of the week heading into the week, and it lived up to its top billing. Seattle gave Colin Kaepernick fits all afternoon long and stymied the struggling offense. On the other side, the San Francisco defense held its own enough to allow one big play to seal the team’s biggest win of the season.
The Cardinals took care of business against the hapless Rams behind strong play from their own defense. That allowed the offense to seal the deal in the win column and give Arizona the win.
There’s plenty more action to highlight from a busy Sunday.
Frank Gore‘s big run seals bigger win
The Seahawks gave Kapernick all he could handle — the Niners’ quarterback struggled en route to 175 yards passing with one touchdown and interception apiece. The Seahawks sacked him twice, and just when it appeared that their lack of an imposing running game would cost them a huge win, running back Frank Gore saved the say with a 51-yard run up the middle that propelled San Francisco to a narrow 19-17 victory.
Palmer rises from the injury report to fill the stat sheet
Cardinals veteran signal caller Carson Palmer was in danger of not suiting up on Sunday, but instead played well enough to rack up 269 yards and a touchdown with zero interceptions. He found Larry Fitzgerald for a game-high 12 receptions and exploited the Rams’ secondary. The Cardinals converted 57 percent of their first downs on the day, and it was in large part due to the balance they had on the offensive side of the ball led by Palmer.
Seahawks’ defense doesn’t dominate long enough
The division’s top two team each feature stout defenses, and the host Niners were the ones who showed the most resiliency throughout the game. Seattle wasn’t bad as they bottled up Kaepernick for the most part, but they didn’t do enough to finish a game they had seemingly in hand on the road. When asked if his team could enjoy the win, Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh responded in typical fashion via NFL.com:
“Enjoy it? Not the word I would use. It’s like going to the dentist chair for 3½ hours and getting a root canal,”49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. “These games are only for the tough.”
Turnovers continue to plague Rams
For St. Louis, two turnovers proved to be the difference in the game. Both of quarterback Kellen Clemens‘ interceptions resulted in Cardinals touchdowns, with the first pick going for six points on the same play on the return. The second added insult to injury in the fourth quarter, making the final score a lopsided finish, 30-10.
The Rams struggled to find any continuity moving the ball. They were a perfect 1-for-1 inside the red zone from an efficiency standpoint, but failed to give themselves enough chances.
Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports
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