Two weeks into the 2012 NFL season have provided a tantalizing glimpse at what the rest of the season's match-ups hold. Suspense aplenty as rookie Robert Griffin III lights up the New Orleans Saints in game one, and the Saints then fall to 0 - 2 on the season after yesterday's match-up with the Carolina Panthers. Another surprise to most of the NFL pundits is the NFC West. The best division in the NFL at this point in time.
The Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco share the top spot with 2 - 0 records, while the Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams are still sitting pretty at 1 - 1.
Without further ado, make your way to the jump to continue the read on the NFC West.
Arizona Cardinals: (2- 0) The Cards garnered national attention yesterday when the beat the New England Patriots while visiting Foxborough. Back East, against the Pats, who were five seconds removed from winning the super bowl last season. The defense was a swarm, sacking Tom Brady four times courtesy of Sam Acho, Quentin Groves, and Calais Campbell twice. The front seven held the Pats run game to less than 100 yards for the day. Patrick Peterson was a blanket all day long, taking away a side of the field. Daryl Washington and Kerry Rhodes worked well in coverage against Rob Gronkowski.
One the offensive side, the Cards struggled at LT with pass protection. The line did make the way for the back to combine for over 100 yards on the ground. Kevin Kolb to Todd Heap worked, but Kolb needs to do better than 15/27. He did have a TD pass this game, once again to Andre Roberts, who is making the most of opportunities.
As I watched this game, and how the Cards beat the Seattle Seahawks last game at home, I am reminded by Kolb of Trent Dilfer, and the Baltimore Ravens defense that won a Superbowl. Stock up, with the Philadelphia Eagles coming to town.
San Francisco 49ers: (2 - 0) Last year they were one game removed from a Superbowl appearance, losing in the final minutes of regulation the the champion New York Giants. This year the 49ers started off strong by heading to Lambeau Field and putting up thirty on the Green Bay Packers to open the season. Yesterday Alex Smith to Vernon Davis looked seamless against the Detroit Lions. Smith has the look where the game is easy, and his numbers showed it, 20/31 for 226 yards and two TDs. The offense allowed Frank Gore to run wild, and combined the backs went well past 100 yards for the day.
On the defensive side, the 49ers picked Matt Staffford once, put together a couple of sacks, and held the Lions to less than 100 yards on the ground. Flipping that, the secondary did allow 230 yards on 19 completions, and they were also taken by some deep plays.
Stock up as the 49ers head east to visit the Minnesota Vikings.
Seattle Seahawks: (1 - 1) Rookie QB. College head coach. Say what you will, but the Seahawks let their play on the field do the talk they need. They lost a highly contested, close football game to division siblings the Cardinals at home. The Seahawks were in it until the end. Then they went home and hosted the Dallas Cowboys. The guys who were all full of swagger after their thumping of the defending champs, the Giants. And the Seahawks defense ate them up. The sacked Tomy Romo once, intercepted him once, and forced and recovered a fumble. As for the Dallas run game, it was less than 50 yards on the day.
Golden Tate's block on Sean Lee sets the tone, and even though they have the Packers coming to town, I still give the Seahawks stock a buy signal.
St. Louis Rams: (1 - 1) The Rams were in shambles after last year. New coaching staff, new schemes, new players. But the new coach is Jeff Fisher, and he plays a hard-nosed type football. The run games shows that, as the Rams went well over 100 yards on the day. Sam Bradford also looks like the prospect he was touted to be coming out of college, throwing for 310 yards and 3 TD.
Defensively, the Rams picked Robert Griffin III once, and sacked him another time. They did let him run free though, and the rookie QB amassed 80 yards on the ground in addition to his 200 threw the air.
Stock is hold for now as the Rams head back east to visit the Chicago Bears.
Overall the NFC West has taken steps to poise themselves as the best division in the league not just now, but by the time the 20112 season is done.