By Jason Hayes
On September 13 th , 2021, the NFC West awoke to a 4-0 record with each franchise having handled
business convincingly the day before. The division became widely regarded as the best in the league;
a title which it lived up to as three of the four teams marched into the playoffs, two of those three
made it to the Championship game, and one of those two finished the year raising the Lombardi
trophy up towards the L.A. sky.
Fast forward one year later and the feelings surrounding the division are a lot different. The same
three teams which made the playoffs now combine for a 0-3 record, with Seattle, of all teams, being
the one shining light. Week One proves to be a strange beast year in year out so reactions must be
tempered; however, this lackluster start will have raised many concerns for teams in the West.
Anyone have some Paracetamol?
The Rams looked as hungover as Shane Lowry against the Bills, who appear to be every bit as good
as their preseason hype would have you believe. While Allen continues to cement his position as one
of the league’s elite, Stafford did little to quell suspicions that his elbow may not be fully recovered
after his offseason treatment. Errant throws plagued a performance which included three
interceptions. He was also sacked seven times, as Joe Noteboom failed to deliver on the difficult task
of replacing left tackle Andrew Withworth. It remains to be seen whether these issues are indicative
of what’s to come this season or simply one lackadaisical post-Super Bowl performance.
Defence? Never heard of it
The student became the master in the desert on Sunday, as Patrick Mahomes threw five
touchdowns to ease past former college coach Kliff Kingsbury. Speaking of Texas tech, that is exactly
how the Cardinals roster looks right now – a loaded offence (albeit one marred by
injuries/suspensions), and a neglected defence. This neglection makes it difficult to blame defensive
coordinator Vance Joseph for the performance, as the Chiefs coasted to 488 yards and 44 points.
The total salary spend on defence for Arizona is the lowest league-wide, and high draft picks of
whom much is expected have failed to deliver thus far. Kyler Murray may need to develop super
powers to overcome these defensive deficiencies and carry the Red Birds back to the post season.
Terrible drying weather
I will die before I know all the rules of this glorious sport. This week’s lesson was courtesy of Bears
punter/holder Trenton Gill, who taught us all that drying the field with a towel carries a 15-yard
unsportsmanlike penalty. He had good reason, as the arena for Week One in Chicago resembled a
Slip n’ Slide more than a football field. This intriguing showdown between two of the top three
quarterbacks selected in 2021 naturally became a battle on the ground, with each quarterback
having more rushing attempts than completions. However, the completions proved to be the
difference in the game as Fields made his count. He tossed two touchdowns on just eight
completions, including a 51 yarder to former Niner Dante Pettis. Let’s reserve all judgement on Trey
Lance until he plays a game that’s not hosted in the middle of Lake Michigan.
Your NFC West leaders, the Seattle Seahawks… No, seriously
It wasn’t precipitation, rather boos which rained down in Seattle on Monday night as Russell Wilson
made his much anticipated return to Lumen field. We all waited for the moment Wilson would turn these boos into silence. We waited. And waited some more. But the moment never came. Geno
Smith looked calm and ready for this bout, hitting on 23 of 28 passes for 195 yards and two
touchdowns. When the Seahawks’ offence began to slow down, the defence stood tall. Thanks to
two timely fumbles, Clint Hurtt’s unit held the Broncos’ offence to three points total in their final
three redzone trips. But the talking point from this game is sure to be Nathaniel Hackett’s decision to
attempt a 64 yard field goal at the end, rather than placing the ball in the hands of their 242 million
dollar man on fourth-and-five.
With Week One in the books, the Seattle Seahawks are your NFC West division leaders. Just as we all