After one week of the 2011 NFL season, the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers sit atop the NFC West. If this were 2009, it would have been expected. These were the two worst teams in the division a year ago, though. The Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams, the two teams that battled in Week 17 in 2010 to decide the division champ both lost in embarrassing fashion. Obviously there is a lot of football left to be played in the season, but there are questions to be answered across the division.
The Rams have injury concerns as running back Steven Jackson hurt his groin, quarterback Sam Bradford injured his finger and receiver Danny Amendola hurt his elbow in a 31-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Jackson and Amendola are not likely to play next week. Bradford might have to miss some time.
Neither Seattle nor San Fran looked impressive on offense. It was two special teams touchdowns by Ted Ginn, Jr on a punt return and a kickoff return, that made the difference in the game. They combined offensively (428 yards) for six yards more than Cam Newton threw for against the Cardinals (422 yards). Niners QB Alex Smith had an effective game, going 15-20
Arizona's offense returned after a one year hiatus as they netted over 400 yards of offense. Kevin Kolb sits near the top of the league's leading passers. He threw for 309 yards, two TDs and his QB rating is 130.0, roughly double the team's QBs a year ago. They gave up a ton of yards through the air to the Panthers, but shut down the Carolina running game that has normally been very effective against the Cards.
Find the game recaps after the break.
Arizona Cardinals Beat Carolina Panthers In Season Opener, 28-21 - Revenge of the Birds
The Cardiac Cards were at their finest today. In a game that was close right to the end, the Arizona Cardinals managed to defeat Cam Newton (who had a record-breaking debut) and the Carolina Panthers. It was mostly an Offense dominated game, although the Defense managed to step-up at the end, and win the game for the Cardinals.
49ers vs. Seahawks Recap: Ted Ginn Jr. Slams The Door Shut - Niners Nation
Ted Ginn operated in a sort of closer role as he absolutely slammed this game home just as it was getting a little too interesting. The 49ers struggled mightily in the red zone and in leaving numerous points off the scoreboard they let the Seahawks scratch and claw their way back into this game, cutting the 49ers lead to 19-17 at one point. However, after Doug Baldwin scored on a 55-yard catch and run, Ted Ginn decided it was time for enough foolishness.
St. Louis Rams lose Sam Bradford, Steven Jackson, Danny Amendola and others in opening week nightmare - Turf Show Times
The St. Louis Rams are having a nightmare of a season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles’ "Dream Team." After losing running back Steven Jackson in the first quarter, the Rams lost QB Sam Bradford in the fourth with a finger injury on his throwing hand. They also lost their leading receiver from the season before, Danny Amendola, with a dislocated elbow. Amendola might be done for the season, according to the Rams’ official Twitter feed.
49ers Dispatch Seahawks 33-17: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly - Field Gulls
Do you want the good news or the bad news first? I guess I'll start with the good news. The Seahawks put themselves in a position to win this game. They were down two points with under four minutes to go. Really, you have to be happy about that. Obviously, giving up two touchdowns to Ted Ginn Jr in the matter of a minute after pulling to within three hurt the Seahawks chances of getting a W, but as ugly and boring of a game it was, I was still interested till right up near the end.