- In the NFC West Report, we keep you covered on the San Francisco 49ers divisional rivals.*
The 49ers had Week 10 off to relax and regroup following a 3-6 start to the regular season.
While the team watched from home, San Francisco's three NFC West rivals all played critical games on Sunday. And when the dust settled, one team had created more breathing room at the top of the standings.
Here's what's happening around the NFC West as the 49ers begin their second-half slate.
Arizona Cardinals (7-2)
Week 10:39-32 win over the Seattle Seahawks.
Notes:Carson Palmer continued his MVP-caliber season by completing 29-of-48 passes for 363 yards, three touchdowns and one interception against the vaunted Seahawks defense.
The veteran quarterback performed even better than that stat line shows. The Cardinals began the game with 19 straight points to take a comfortable lead. But after two fourth-quarter Palmer fumbles allowed Seattle to jump ahead, 29-25, Arizona faced a wave of momentum tilting toward the home team at CenturyLink Field.
Palmer responded by orchestrating consecutive touchdown drives, the first capped by a 14-yard Jermaine Gresham catch and the second punctuated by a 48-yard Andre Ellington run. The 39 points Arizona scored were the most allowed by the Seattle defense since a 41-20 loss to the 49ers in 2010. The Cardinals accomplished this feat without the services of Mike Iupati, who left the game in the first half following a scary collision with Kam Chancellor. The former 49ers lineman's injury isn't considered serious.
Arizona now boasts the No. 1 ranked offense and No. 3 defense in the NFL.
Week 11:Arizona hosts the Cincinnati Bengals (8-0) on Sunday.
St. Louis Rams (4-5)
Week 10:37-13 loss to the Chicago Bears
Notes:Since entering November with a winning record for the first time since 2006, the Rams have now lost two in a row. Nick Foles, who has just one touchdown pass in his last four games, finished the afternoon 17-for-36 passing for 200 yards and an interception. Case Keenum got into the game with the score out of reach but did not attempt a pass. Coach Jeff Fisher announced on Monday that the backup will get the start in favor of Foles next week. St. Louis ranks last in passing yards per game at 178.7.
In his team debut, Wes Welker caught three passes for 32 yards. Todd Gurley scored on a 6-yard run on St. Louis' opening possession but was limited to just 45 yards on 12 carries overall. The rookie running back did, however, lead the team with three catches for 44 yards.
The Rams defense sacked Jay Cutler twice but did not force an interception. Two home-run plays by the Bears proved to be back-breakers. Jeremy Langford caught an 83-yard screen pass and Zach Miller hauled in an 87-yard completion. Both went for touchdowns.
Week 11:St. Louis visits the Baltimore Ravens (2-7) on Sunday.
Seattle Seahawks (4-5)
Week 10:39-32 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
Notes:The Seahawks have now lost two consecutive home games for the first time since 2011. In the previous three seasons, the team lost two total games at CenturyLink Field, going a combined 24-2.
Seattle's skid could very easily be three homes losses in a row, too. Without a controversial turnover at the end of the Oct. 5 Detroit Lions game, the Seahawks would have likely dropped that game as well.
Against Arizona, Seattle used a Bobby Wagner fumble recovery for a touchdown to pull ahead late in the fourth quarter. The defense then allowed two Cardinals touchdowns to cough up its third fourth-quarter lead of the season.
Russell Wilson connected on 14-of-32 attempts for 240 yards, a touchdown and an interception while Marshawn Lynch totaled just 42 yards on eight carries. Chancellor, meanwhile, finished the game with a whopping 19 tackles.
Week 11:Seattle hosts the San Francisco 49ers (3-6) on Sunday.