The 2011 NFL season has been one full of surprises. One of the biggest has been the play of the San Francisco 49ers. It was largely expected that the NFC West would continue to be the punching bag of the entire league and that the team that eventually won the division and made the playoffs was just a necessary part of a system that is already in place.
For the most part, this has been the case, but in Week 5, things overall got a little better for the division.
The St. Louis Rams did not play, as they had their bye, so their season did not get any worse. They still stand at 0-4 on the season. The Arizona Cardinals suffered an embarrassing defeat on the road to the previously winless Minnesota Vikings. They fell behind 28-0 in the first quarter and never recovered, losing 31-10.
The other two teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the SF 49ers pulled off big wins. Seattle pulled off a 36-25 win over the New York Giants on the road, and did it in an early game -- the 1 PM EST start that has been deadly for West Coast teams for years. The victory improved their record to 2-3.
San Francisco was the most impressive, as they spanked the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48-3 in the most surprising blowout game of the season. The Niners now sit atop the division with a two game lead at 4-1.
Continue after the break to read the recaps and the reactions from these games from the NFC West team blogs.
Arizona Cardinals destroyed by Minnesota Vikings, 34-10 - Revenge of the Birds
When you give a team its first win, you know it's been a bad game. When you have 4 turnovers on Offense, you know it's even worse. And when you give up 28 points in the 1st Quarter, you know it's time to call it a day. The Arizona Cardinals did all this and more when they were dominated by Donovan McNabb, Adrian Peterson, and the Minnesota Vikings.
49ers Thrash Bucs In Every Conceivable Way: A Look at Some of the Numbers - Niners Nation
The 49ers absolutely destroyed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday afternoon and if you didn't believe your eyes, the stats back it up. The 49ers are off to their first 4-1 record since 2002 (they lost game number six) and the numbers really do back up the performances to date. Through the first four games the 49ers got some timely bounces, but there was to be none of that in week five. Rather than just taking advantage of some random bounces, the 49ers took control of their own fate and had their way with the Bucs. The offense was efficient, but not in a just doing enough kind of way. It was efficient in an aggressive, cold-blooded kind of way. The defense made some incredibly timely interceptions and seemed to know what the Bucs were going to do before the play fully developed. And special teams? Another rock solid performance across the board.
NFC West Wins Two Big Games This Week; Can St. Louis Ever Match? - Turf Show Times
Today, the NFC West defied the laughing stock status, except for Arizona. The Seattle Seahawks pulled off the unlike upset of the New York Giants...at the Meadowlands. Tarvaris Jackson, who left with an injury, and Charlie Whitehurst combined to complete 26 of 41 passes for two touchdowns. Marshawn Lynch added 98 rushing yards and a touchdown. The real highlight of the game, however, at the end. Charlie Whitehurst threw a 27-yard TD strike for the lead, and Seattle returned an Eli Manning interception to put it away for good.
Seahawks Dispatch Giants; I Need A Clean Pair Of Shorts - Field Gulls
You know that feeling you get when you wake up and drink a pot of coffee and forget to eat anything for breakfast, and soon find yourself with blurry vision and shaking like a leaf? That's sort of how I feel right now. Adrenaline has that effect on your body and this game definitely had it pumping. So that's how Pete Carroll feels 100% of the time. I get it. Lead changes, one-handed catches, interceptions, fumbles, bone-headed plays, huge, heroic plays. The Seahawks just went East and beat the Giants in their place for the first time since 1983.