NFC West Review: 49ers Look Like Potential Monsters

There will be many more weeks for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy to prove what kind of quarterback he will be in the NFL. But Purdy’s performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 will have the San Francisco fanbase eager for more and confident of claiming another NFC West title. Purdy passed for 220 yards and two touchdowns to help the 49ers complete a beatdown of the Steelers.

The biggest shock in the NFC West Division over the weekend was what the Los Angeles Rams did to the Seattle Seahawks. The Rams scored a double-digit victory that has people wondering if the Rams, thought to be aging poorly, may have something left in the tank. The Arizona Cardinals gave Washington a spirited battle but don’t have the depth to be taken seriously this season.

 

Team Result
Arizona Cardinals L, 20-16 at Washington Commanders
Los Angeles Rams W, 30-13 at Seattle
San Francisco 49eres W, 30-7 at Pittsburgh Steelers
Seattle Seahawks L, 30-13 vs. Los Angeles Rams

 

49ers Kept Pickett on the Run

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Brock Purdy

While Purdy passed his test with flying colors, San Francisco’s defense never let quarterback Kenny Pickett, the Steelers’ first-round pick last season, feel comfortable. Defensive lineman Drake Jackson finished with three of the 49ers’ five total team sacks. Pickett also tossed two interceptions, and the 49ers had chances at several other picks.

San Francisco also got a boost when defensive lineman Nick Bosa ended his holdout and extended his contract. Bosa played Sunday and finished with one quarterback hit and recorded two tackles.

No Kupp, No Problem

 

The Rams got terrible news last week when wide receiver and former Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp was ruled out for the game against the Seahawks. However, what quarterback Matthew Stafford found out is the Rams have more talent available on the roster to catch passes. 

Second-year wide receiver Tutu Atwell and rookie Puka Nacua became the first pair of Rams’ teammates to finish with more than 100 receiving yards in a game since 2003. The last duo to do it was when Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt accomplished the feat for the then-St. Louis Rams.

Atwell was likely happy to see progress. He only caught 18 passes for 298 yards as a rookie, so his six-catch, 119-yard performance against the Seahawks represented a major step forward. Los Angeles took Puka Nacua with the 177th overall pick in this past spring’s draft. He caught a team-high 10 passes for 119 yards.

 

Seattle May Need to Be Worried about Pass Rush

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Matthew Stafford

The Seahawks didn’t make life difficult on Rams’ quarterback Matthew Stafford. Seattle only recorded two quarterback hits and no sacks during their NFC West showdown in Week 1. That allowed Stafford to rack up 334 passing yards.

Seattle’s performance was a decline against the past from last season. The Seahawks were 14th against the pass and recorded the seventh-most sacks in the league last year. Seattle was one of the major surprises in the NFL last season. There is a chance the organization could be regressing to the mean.

 

Dobbs Can’t Move Ball Against Commanders

 

Journeyman quarterback Josh Dobbs got an opportunity to make his first NFL start with the Arizona Cardinals in Washington, D.C., last Sunday. While Dobbs didn’t make many big mistakes, he didn’t make many plays either. In a game played between two teams with inexperienced quarterbacks, the Cardinals were outscored 10-0 in the fourth quarter of a 20-16 loss.

Dobbs completed 21 of 30 passes for 132 yards and didn’t throw any touchdowns or interceptions. He only averaged 4.4 yards per completion. While the defense was able to help keep the team in the game against Washington, if the offense doesn’t show a spark it could be a long wait until Kyler Murray returns to the fold.

 

Smith’s Seahawks Get Some Backup Up Front

 

Veteran quarterback Geno Smith had a tough first game back under center. Seattle only scored 13 points and Smith was sacked twice against a tough Rams’ defensive line. Smith completed 16 of his 26 passing attempts for 112 yards and a touchdown.

Seattle is bringing in another veteran presence on offense to help protect Smith. Due to an injury to Charles Cross, the Seahawks are planning to sign Jason Peters. Peters, 41, is a nine-time Pro Bowler who will be playing his 20th season in the NFL.

Peters will have the NFL record for longest career by a lineman. He starred during the prime of his career with the Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles. He won a Super Bowl with the Eagles in 2017.

 

McCaffrey Rewards 49ers’ Faith in Him

 

San Francisco made a major splash by adding running back Christian McCaffrey in a trade with the Carolina Panthers last season. During Week 1 in Pittsburgh, McCaffrey showed that he was worth bringing on board. McCaffrey torched what was supposed to be a strong Pittsburgh defense for 152 yards on 22 carries.

McCaffrey scored on a 65-touchdown run in the third quarter. He has now scored a touchdown in seven straight games, which is the longest consecutive touchdown streak since Raheem Mostert scored eight straight during the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

McCaffrey had struggled with injury issues with Carolina, but San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan may have the right strategy to limit his exposure to injuries. 

 

Cardinals Aim to Confuse With Their Pass Rush

 

Arizona was able to confuse second-year Washington quarterback Sam Howell with the amount of different looks the Cardinals threw at him. Over the course of the Commanders’ victory, Arizona played 11 different players at the front of its defense. What that caused was confusion for Howell, who was sacked six times.

Dennis Gardeck led a contingent of five Arizona players with sacks by recording two. The pressure also forced Howell into bad decisions. Arizona defensive back Zaven Collins made him pay with an interception. Cameron Thomas also returned a Howell fumble two yards for a touchdown to give Arizona a 13-10 halftime lead.