NFC West: 2010 Week 4 Silver linings

Silver linings: Seattle at St. Louis

October, 4, 2010
The facts: The Seahawks fell to 2-2 with a 20-3 road defeat against the St. Louis Rams in Week 4.

The upside: Even the worst defeats tend to feature a bright spot or two.
  • Rookie safety Earl Thomas collected his third interception in his past two games. That's as many as any player managed for Seattle last season (Josh Wilson led the team with four in 2008, while two players had three last season).
  • The impending bye week gives the Seahawks a chance to re-evaluate after their first four games under a new coaching staff.
  • The Seahawks held the Rams to 3.1 yards per rushing attempt, the third time in four games Seattle's opponent has failed to exceed that average.
  • Brandon Stokley caught four passes for 62 yards in his first game with Seattle.
  • Rookie Golden Tate had an 18-yard punt return.
  • Seattle's special-teams coverage units again prevented the opponent from breaking long returns.
  • The Seahawks held the Rams to one touchdown in five trips to the red zone.
  • Cornerback Marcus Trufant was able to play despite suffering an ankle injury last week. Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane and linebacker Aaron Curry also played despite injuries. Russell Okung could not finish the game, but he apparently did not re-injure his ankle.
  • Defensive end Chris Clemons had 2.0 sacks for the second game in a row, putting him on pace for 16.0 sacks this season. He had a career-high 8.0 sacks for Oakland in 2007.
  • Veteran safety Lawyer Milloy was again quite active, particularly early. He had a sack and affected the quarterback from both sides of the field.
Looking ahead: The Seahawks have a bye in Week 5 before visiting the Chicago Bears.

Silver linings: 49ers at Falcons

October, 4, 2010
The facts: The 49ers fell to 0-4 with a 16-14 road defeat to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 4.

The upside: Even the worst defeats tend to feature a bright spot or two.
  • Receiver Dominique Zeigler, coming off a game in which he made a 19-yard reception on third-and-15 at Kansas City, blocked a punt to help the 49ers jump to a 14-0 lead against the Falcons.
  • Rookie safety Taylor Mays fielded the blocked punt in the end zone, got both feet down inbounds and maintained possession of the ball throughout. His impact on special teams was greater even though the 49ers reduced his reps in that area overall.
  • Mays seemed to play well at strong safety after replacing Michael Lewis in the starting lineup. Reggie Smith had beaten out Mays for the No. 2 spot during training camp, but Mays got more work late in the week as the 49ers tried to get him up to speed. This performance was a positive one for Mays.
  • The 49ers were ready to play from the beginning. They scored a touchdown on their opening drive for the first time since the 2008 season. They made early plays on defense and special teams. Coach Mike Singletary couldn't afford another performance along the lines of the game in Kansas City. This effort showed the team could still respond.
  • Tight end Vernon Davis caught a touchdown pass.
  • Michael Crabtree became more involved, catching five passes for 58 yards.
  • The 49ers' defense controlled the Falcons' running game while holding quarterback Matt Ryan to his lowest passer rating since Week 10 last season.
  • Punter Andy Lee helped pin the Falcons inside their 20-yard line three times.
  • Parys Haralson had 2.0 sacks and Travis LaBoy had 1.0.
  • The 49ers are only two games out of the NFC West lead with five division games left to play and only one game in an opposing team's stadium between Monday and Nov. 29.
Looking ahead: The 49ers face the Philadelphia Eagles at Candlestick Park in Week 5.

Silver linings: Cardinals at Chargers

October, 4, 2010
The facts: The Cardinals fell to 2-2 with a 41-10 road defeat to the San Diego Chargers in Week 4.

The upside: Even the worst defeats tend to feature a bright spot or two.
  • The Cardinals have the same record they had after four games last season. They trailed in the standings at this point in 2009, but they're tied for the NFC West lead even after losing to the Chargers.
  • Rookie quarterback Max Hall threw no interceptions in his first extended playing time during the regular season.
  • The Cardinals remain unbeaten at home and they are the only NFC West team with a road victory this season.
  • Rookie tight end Jim Dray had a 24-yard reception, the first catch of his career.
  • Cornerback Greg Toler had a sack and forced fumble.
Looking ahead: The Cardinals face the New Orleans Saints at University of Phoenix Stadium in Week 5.