NFC West: 2013 Week 2 Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Seahawks 29, 49ers 3

September, 16, 2013

SEATTLE -- A few thoughts on the Seattle Seahawks’ 29-3 win over the San Francisco 49ers:

What it means: The Seahawks (2-0) have early control of the NFC West. They needed this win more than the 49ers (1-1) because it is was a home game. The 49ers are going to have to make sure they beat the Seahawks in San Francisco on Dec. 8. This game was intense and closer than the score indicated. But the Seahawks outplayed the 49ers, who were surprisingly flat offensively. The 49ers have to find their offensive spark and clean up the ridiculous penalties that have plagued them the past two weeks. The NFC West race is far from over, but the Seahawks, who haven’t lost at home since 2011, struck first and loudly.

Stock watch: Lots of downward pointing here. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick was never comfortable and more of a detriment than a help to his team. San Francisco receiver Anquan Boldin had one catch after 13 last week against Green Bay. The 49ers were very sloppy. They were penalized 12 times for 121 yards and have 23 penalties this season. San Francisco had four personal-foul penalties, which is inexcusable.

Lynch a difference-maker: Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch had another big game against the 49ers. He had 98 yards on 28 carries and scored three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving). On a day when both quarterbacks were off, Lynch was the difference.

Injuries mount: San Francisco nose tackle Ian Williams broke his ankle in the first quarter, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The 49ers confirmed that Williams has an ankle injury, but not the severity. He appeared to be hurt on a low block by Seattle guard J.R. Sweezy. The 49ers can't be pleased. Williams was coming into his own. It will mean more opportunities for free-agent pickup Glenn Dorsey. Also, rookie safety Eric Reid left the game in the second quarter because of a possible concussion and tight end Vernon Davis left late with a hamstring injury. Both will be monitored this week. Defensive end Ray McDonald was also hurt late.

What’s next: The 49ers host Indianapolis on Sunday. It will be a reunion for San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh and Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. Harbaugh coached Luck at Stanford prior to coming to the 49ers. The Colts are 1-1. They lost at home to Miami on Sunday. It will be the Colts’ first road game of the season.

Rapid Reaction: Seahawks 29, 49ers 3

September, 16, 2013

SEATTLE -- A few thoughts on the Seattle Seahawks' 29-3 victory over the San Francisco 49ers Sunday night at CenturyLink Field:

What it means for the Seahawks: Seattle gets the early upper hand against its NFC West rival in a game between two of the best teams in the NFL on a strange night that included an hour-long weather delay in the first half. It’s only two weeks into the season, but the Seahawks sent a message that they are the team to beat in the NFC.

Stock watch: The Seahawks' defense is taking up where it left off last season, when it allowed the fewest points in the league. Seattle has allowed only 10 points in the first two games of 2013, holding the 49ers to a field goal a week after they scored 34 points against Green Bay. After 13 receptions against the Packers, Anquan Boldin had one catch for seven yards against the Seahawks. The "Legion of Boom" secondary had three interceptions -- one each for Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor.

"Beast mode" is back: After a disappointing effort in the first game, Marshawn Lynch got the running game going and scored three touchdowns Sunday night, two rushing and one receiving.

Okung injured: The Seahawks lost Pro Bowl offensive tackle Russell Okung to a foot injury in the first half. Paul McQuistan moved from left guard to Okung's left tackle spot and struggled in the first half with 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith, but McQuistan improved in the second half.

Attendance record: The crowd of 68,338 was the largest ever for a Seahawks game at CenturyLink Field, topping by seven spectators the previous mark (from 2007, against the 49ers).

What’s next: The Seahawks play host to Jacksonville next Sunday, a game that brings back former Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who left at the end of last season to become the Jaguars coach.

Rapid Reaction: Cardinals 25, Lions 21

September, 15, 2013
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A few thoughts on the Cardinals’ 25-21 win over the Detroit Lions.

What it means: A lot. Despite the win, the Cardinals offense looked lackluster, scoring just two touchdowns and stalling at crucial times. Granted, starting tight end Rob Housler was out again and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald was hampered by a hamstring injury, but the offense couldn’t put the ball in the end zone. It moved the ball well in between the 20s but not when it mattered most.

Stock watch: Kerry Taylor was promoted from the practice squad Saturday afternoon and proved he’s worthy of a roster spot with 40 yards on three catches. He helped fill the void left by Fitzgerald, who sat out most of the second half with a hamstring injury. Rookie running back Andre Ellington also made a name for himself with a 36-yard touchdown reception and a crucial run late in the fourth quarter, as he made his case to be the Cards’ No. 2 running back.

Third-down blues: The Cardinals couldn’t convert a third down unless it was with the aid of a penalty. They were 1-for-11 on third down. This was an issue last week in St. Louis, and coach Bruce Arians said he was confident his team would improved on third down. A combination of incomplete passes and plays that came up short prevented the Cardinals from obtaining a new set of downs.

Defensive standard: Without the defense, the Cardinals could’ve thrown in the towel early in the third. The defense held Detroit to 13 yards in the third quarter, giving the offense a chance to score. The Cardinals held on third down twice and limited Lions QB Matthew Stafford to 0-for-4 passing in the quarter.

What's next: The Cardinals have a week to figure out their third-down issues before they travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints next Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

Rapid Reaction: Falcons 31, Rams 24

September, 15, 2013

ATLANTA -- A few thoughts on the St. Louis Rams' 31-24 loss against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome:

What it means: The Rams looked out of their league in the first half but hung tough with an impressive second-half performance. Much like last week, though, they continued to pile up silly mistakes, the type you can get away with against Arizona but not against a legitimate contender.

The Falcons made a strong statement in bouncing back from last week’s loss, though they were far from perfect. They continued their trend of winning coming off a loss by jumping on the Rams early. The victory moved Atlanta to 21-3 since 2008 in games after a defeat.

Stock watch: Up: Falcons WR Julio Jones -- Jones was on Atlanta’s injury report all week because of a knee injury but you wouldn’t know it from watching him Sunday. He showed why he’s one of the league’s elite wideouts with 11 catches for 182 yards and a touchdown.

Rams LB Alec Ogletree -- Ogletree was active, particularly against the run, and led the team in total tackles for the second week in a row with eight, according to unofficial press box statistics.

Down: The Falcons’ running game -- Running back Steven Jackson departed with a thigh injury after scoring an early touchdown, but he wasn’t having much success on the ground even when he was in the game. Atlanta finished with just 36 yards on 16 carries.

The Rams in the first half -- The defense struggled to get off the field on third down and gave up big plays, and the offense generated just three points and coughed up a pick-six for the second consecutive week in putting the Rams in a 21-point halftime hole they never erased.

Penalty problems redux: The Rams were the league’s most-penalized team a year ago and then again this preseason, and had seven penalties for 59 yards last week against Arizona. Each time the team has vowed to clean it up but it has yet to happen. The Rams were flagged seven times for 53 yards on Sunday.

What’s next: The Rams head to Dallas before returning home to face San Francisco in a tough three-game stretch.

Atlanta kicks off a three-game stretch against AFC East opponents with a trip to Miami before two games here against New England and the New York Jets.