The NFL in Week 8 featured a tightly contested divisional matchup, where a goal-line stand in the final minute of the game by the Seattle Seahawks helped preserve a 14-9 road victory over the St. Louis Rams. The San Francisco 49ers continued their hot streak on the road by steamrolling the Jacksonville Jaguars in a 42-10 win. The Arizona Cardinals bounced back with a 34-22 win over the Atlanta Falcons to put them at a .500 record midway through the season.
Here is a glimpse at one aspect from what each NFC West team did in Week 8:
The 30-year-old running back has been the model of consistency this season for the 49ers.
Gore had his second consecutive game of two rushing touchdown along with at least 70 yards on the ground. His first touchdown came on a 19-yard run that put San Francisco up 7-0 in the first quarter and the latter came on a 2-yard run late in third quarter to put the game out of reach at 35-10. At his current pace, the four-time Pro Bowler is projected to rush for over 1200 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Gore is the backbone of the offense, and how he performs dictates how well the 49ers play. With a bye next week and a matchup against the second-ranked rush defense in the Carolina Panthers in Week 10, it will be interesting to see if Gore and the 49ers will notch their sixth straight victory.
The 2013 sixth-round draft pick out of Clemson took advantage of an opportunity to start against the Falcons by rushing for 154 yards that included a 80-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to push the Cardinals lead to 14-6.
Ellington was casted into the starting running back role after Rashard Mendenhall was ruled out of the game due to a toe injury. Before this week, Ellington had been receiving limited carries in a Cardinals’ offense that used its running backs by committee. With his standout performance against Atlanta, it helps make a strong case for a considerable amount of carries and plays on offense next week for Ellington regardless if Mendenhall is healthy enough to play.
In an offensive struggle for the Seahawks against the Rams, Tate was the only bright spot as he had five catches for 93 receiving yards and two touchdowns. The wideout’s two end zone grabs were the team’s only scoring plays of the game. Tate’s first touchdown came on a third and goal two-yard reception in the second quarter to put Seattle up 7-3 and his second came on a 80-yard pass from Russell Wilson late in the third quarter.
In the last two games, Tate has averaged 4.5 catches and 85 receiving yards. This exceptional Week 8 performance is not expected to become a trend for the four-year veteran as the Seahawks run-first offense experienced an off night from a stout Rams’ defensive line.
Since earning the starting job in Week 5, Stacy has quietly been impressive for the Rams. The rookie running back had his best performance of the season in the Week 8 Monday night matchup against a top 5 rushing defense in the Seahawks as he had 26 carries for 134 yards that included a shifty 18-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Stacy‘s strong performance was put on the backburners as he was unable to fight through an ankle sprain that forced him out of game on the Rams’ final drive that ended with the team unable to punch in it into the end zone from the one-yard line.
As Sam Bradford remains out for the year with a torn ACL, expect Stacy to continue to receive 15-plus carries per game going forward for the rest of the season.
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images
Bob Garcia IV
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