In what was an inevitable event, the San Francisco 49ers were able to clinch the NFC West crown, assuring themselves at least one playoff home game this postseason. All it took was a 26-0 drubbing of the now 2-10 St. Louis Rams. However, the win did come with a price as defensive leader Patrick Willis had to leave the game with a hamstring injury. It is not believed to be too serious, but hamstring issues can be tricky.
They weren't the only winners in the division. Strangely enough, while the NFC West has been considered a doormat, the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals are quietly playing themselves into the playoff picture. Granted, it will likely take either team winning out and they both meet the final week of the season, but they are right there. They both sit at 5-7 now and two games back in the wild card standings.
Seattle embarrassed Vince Young and the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night 31-14. Young was picked off four times and Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch bruised and bloodied the Philly defense to the tune of 148 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns.
As for the Cardinals, they welcomed back Kevin Kolb to the starting lineup and shook off a 53-yard first half by the offense to beat the Dallas Cowboys 19-13 in overtime. The talk of the game was how, at the end of regulation, Dallas head coach Jason Garrett iced his own kicker by calling timeout right before he made a 49-yard kick that would have won the game. After the timeout, Dan Bailey promptly hit the kick too short and to the left, sending the game to OT, where the Cowboys would never get possession of the ball.
The Niners sit now at 10-2, the Cards and Seahawks at 5-7 and the Rams at 2-10. Continue reading to get the reactions from each game as told by the individual team blogs.
Rams 0, 49ers 26 - Rams shutout en route to 10th loss - Turf Show Times
The Rams clinched a playoff berth to day for the champions of the NFC West. Too bad it was the other team.
49ers 26, Rams 0: San Francisco Says 'We Don't Need No Stinkin' Red Zone,' Win NFC West - Niners Nation
That was a rather ugly game for a good portion of the time. It was one of those games in which the 49ers offense looked brilliant at times and stagnant at others. When the team hit the redzone, it was truly a time of head scratching, but touchdowns of 52 yards and 56 yards to Michael Crabtree and Kyle Williams respectively said adamantly, "We don't need no stinkin' redzone!"
The Seahawks bounced back from a rough outing last Sunday against the Redskins to beat the struggling Eagles tonight, 31-14. The performance was pretty solid on all fronts, offense, defense, and special teams. Marshawn Lynch was the engine that ran the Seahawks offense, rushing for 148 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries, at 6.7 yards per carry. His 15-yard touchdown run in the first quarter was the quintessential 2nd and 3rd effort we've come to appreciate with Lynch, as he barreled into a pile, appeared to be stopped in his tracks, then miraculously emerged unscathed to run the 13 yards or so to the score.
What kind of December would it be without an Arizona Cardinals win over the Dallas Cowboys? The Cardinals continued their holiday season, shocking the Cowboys at home to win yet again vs. the former division rivals. Kevin Kolb finally showed that he can be as clutch as John Skelton, leading the Cards to a victory in overtime.