The NFC West looked more like the Mild West after poor showings across the board week one.
Then the San Francisco 49ers watched their 10-point lead over the Bears drown in the downpour that had drenched the turf of Soldier Field.
After that was the Cardinals’ turn to watch Patrick Mahomes dismantle them in front of their home crowd. I really hope the responsible parents in attendance shielded their children’s eyes from the animal abuse occurring down on the field.
Surprisingly, the Seattle Seahawks who were supposed to be one of the league’s worst teams were the only divisional team to earn a dub.
Besides the unbeaten Seahawks, the rest of the NFC West teams played poorly on opening weekend which begs the question: has the division truly become one of the league’s weakest?
Let’s pump the brakes for a second there. It’s a fair point to consider, but I’m not ready to label them the weakest yet. Right now, that title belongs to the AFC South where no team has a win. (Ties don’t count!)
I’m also not going to overreact after just one week. Sure, the two other divisional teams that joined the Rams in the postseason last year played like crap this weekend, but should that define the rest of their season?
No it absolutely shouldn’t.
The Niners are breaking in a second-year quarterback who will be suffering through growing pains. Trey Lance is a young QB. He will make mistakes, it’s a given. How else are young players like him expected to learn? On the bench while scrolling through a tablet? In some cases like with Mahomes (who I’ll get to in a moment), it’s necessary with a proven option ahead of them.
Of course, SF still has Jimmy G and all these fair weather fans clamoring for him after the first week need to stop. Be patient. He might get there but to expect him to overcome his mistakes along with the rest of his team’s is a lot to ask of someone making their third NFL start.
49ers have out gained the Bears 330-206 but were doomed by 12 penalties and two turnovers, including one in the red zone. They had two third-down stops negated by flags leading to touchdowns. Trey Lance was pretty meh but not the reason they lost, imo.— Chris Biderman (@ChrisBiderman) September 11, 2022
If you came away from today’s 49ers game and the first thing you did was blame Trey Lance than odds are you were looking to do that well before this game even started— Jordan Elliott (@JLeeElliott) September 12, 2022
Lance was far from perfect, but even further from the primary reason the 49ers lost this game
Yeah it’s true that Lance ain’t do shiitake in Chicago. However, to all the Niner fans who wish for his failure, you may want to rethink your allegiances. Fans who root for a player on their own team to fail are the most toxic of all. Yes, even more toxic than Cowboys fans.
Now, I’m not outing myself as a closeted Niners fan who wears a Lance jersey underneath his Aaron Donald parka. I’m reiterating that players just don’t become great overnight. I didn’t think I’d have to keep saying that. Trey’s potential is there for anyone willing to look for it.
Wondering how many people making comments about Trey Lance's future this morning also watched him play the football game! pic.twitter.com/gMOCytJktS— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) September 12, 2022
As for the Redbirds, they didn’t show anything besides what a mistake it is to blitz Patrick Mahomes.
Patrick Mahomes was blitzed on over half of his dropbacks (54%) for the first time in his career.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 11, 2022
Mahomes threw a career-high 4 TD passes vs the blitz, tied for the most in a game in the Next Gen Stats era (since 2016).#KCvsARI | #ChiefsKingdom pic.twitter.com/BaelGfAFlZ
Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph once gave his first Broncos team a rallying cry of “no survivors”. If he continues creating dumb defensive game plans like this for his team, there will be “no surviving” the season. So that’s what he meant by it. My, that’s clever.
The offense was no better as they ran 35 plays for just 117 yards on their first eight possessions, 75 of which came on their second possession where they scored a touchdown. Murray struggled as he was just 10-of-20 for 98 yards on those eight possessions.
Arizona was terrible in every phase which led Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury to call out his team’s practice habits leading up to the game. Maybe Kliff should start assigning homework to ensure better results from his team and...oh wait, they tried that.
It’s unbelievable to see a group that started 7-0 just a year ago fall so swiftly back to earth. The Cardinals had a very underwhelming offseason and the lack of inactivity is being reflected through their efforts.
The Arizona Cardinals haven't won at home since October 24th of last season.— Johnny Venerable (@JohnnyVenerable) September 11, 2022
You just know Arizona fans in for a long year when they’re already doing this mid-game:
Speaking of um...passionate(?) fanbases, Seattle’s 12s sure gave Russell Wilson a hero’s welcome Monday.
Russell Wilson receives boos from the Seahawks fans. pic.twitter.com/To0JuAadJN— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 12, 2022
Seattle fans welcoming Russell Wilson back with open arms pic.twitter.com/UsoOTaImOj— PFF (@PFF) September 12, 2022
I hope you picked up on the sarcasm in my last statement. Seahawks fans gave Wilson the business all night long. I understand the city’s fans are still upset over their ex moving out on them. The NFL is a business so they need to get over it. Player movement is a significant part of the sport so it’s unrealistic to expect stars to stay with the teams that drafted them for their entire careers. Who could really fault Russ for wanting to leave a dinosaur coach who prevented him from cooking the offensive recipes he wanted?
Because the football gods are cruel, it was Pete Carroll who got the last laugh after his Hawks beat the Broncos 17-16 Monday night. It was Geno Smith who picked up Wilson’s apron and did some cooking of his own, whipping up a 23-of-28 performance for 195 yards, two touchdown passes and the most legendary quote in Seattle sports history:
Geno smith just dropped a bar on national television with all due respect pic.twitter.com/DfAPfhRTGL— Mark Jackson’s Burner (@casualtakeking) September 13, 2022
Seattle was nearly outgained by 200 yards but their bend-but-don’t-break defense forced two fumbles on Denver drives at the one-yard line and limited the Broncos to just a field goal on another. So perhaps the Seahawks won’t be the afterthought everyone including myself had them pinned for. Okay, I knew they had talent but I was just wanting to see Carroll fall flat on his face.
Anyways, it was an exciting opening slate of football. Clearly the NFC West has some work to do before returning to the upper echelon of NFL divisions.
It’s only been one week as I’ve said but so far I’m unimpressed about the state of the West.