NFC West: 2012 Week 8 Wrap-ups

Wrap-up: Patriots 45, Rams 7

October, 28, 2012

Thoughts on the St. Louis Rams' performance during a 45-7 Week 8 defeat to the New England Patriots in London:

What it means: The Rams fell to 3-5 with their third consecutive defeat. Their shortcomings, some compounded by injuries, have caught up to them against superior opponents. The bye week comes at a good time for St. Louis. The team should welcome back its top receiver, Danny Amendola. Other injured players, including left tackle Rodger Saffold and center Scott Wells, should also be closer to returning.

What I liked: The Rams were competitive early in the game. Chris Givens' 50-yard touchdown reception marked the fifth consecutive game Givens has had a reception of at least 50 yards. That broke Willie Gault's NFL rookie record, set in 1983. Rookie running backs Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead had runs covering 20 and 19 yards, respectively. The Rams limited Wes Welker to six receptions for 48 yards.

What I didn't like: Playing the game in London was a loss for the Rams. It took away their best chance for a victory.

The Rams had trouble matching up with the Patriots' offense. This game continued a recent trend of diminished pass defense for St. Louis. The team had forced eight interceptions over the first four games. Tom Brady had his way against the Rams on this day, just as Aaron Rodgers had done a week earlier.

The Rams also suffered from some breakdowns an overmatched team cannot afford, including a mishandled snap on a field goal try in the first half. Quarterback Sam Bradford took a hit and left the game briefly. Givens also left the game with a toe injury. The Rams allowed Rob Gronkowski and Brandon Lloyd to catch two scoring passes apiece.

What's next: The Rams visit the San Francisco 49ers in Week 10, following a bye.

Wrap-up: Lions 28, Seahawks 24

October, 28, 2012

Thoughts on the Seattle Seahawks' 28-24 loss to the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Week 8:

What it means: The Seahawks fell to 4-4 with their second consecutive road defeat after their defense faltered late in the game. Seattle got what it needed in the fourth quarter from rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, who led a 12-play, 87-yard drive for the go-ahead touchdown. That was a positive and something the Seahawks can build upon. However, letting this game get away puts pressure on Seattle to win its five remaining home games to finish with a winning record.

What I liked: Wilson and the offense converted on third-and-10 and fourth-and-short during the go-ahead scoring drive in the fourth quarter. Receiver Sidney Rice and tight end Zach Miller caught scoring passes. Marshawn Lynch's 77-yard touchdown run was the Seahawks' longest since Shaun Alexander had an 88-yarder at Arizona. The run allowed Lynch to top 100 yards rushing even though the ground game wasn't consistently strong for Seattle, a bit of a surprise. Seattle shut out Calvin Johnson in the first half and prevented him from emerging as a dominant threat. Jackson couldn't handle the potential go-ahead scoring pass in the final minutes. Earl Thomas picked off a pass deep in Seahawks territory to ward off a Lions scoring chance.

What I didn't like: The Seahawks' defense gave up a season-high four touchdowns while struggling to defend third-and-long situations. That has been a problem at times, particularly on the road. The team sought to upgrade its pass rush in an effort to win those situations more frequently. The Lions converted 12 times in 16 third-down chances. Matthew Stafford topped 300 yards passing, joining Tom Brady in racking up yards against Seattle. The Seahawks, geared up to face Johnson, couldn't stop Titus Young, who caught nine passes for 100 yards and two scores, including the game winner in the final minute.

What's next: The Seahawks face the Minnesota Vikings at CenturyLink Field in Week 9.