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The St. Louis Rams picked up a game on the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals, but wins by the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks on Sunday dulled the impact.
The good thing about playing an in-division game is that you're guaranteed the chance to move up on somebody. The St. Louis Rams took advantage on Thursday Night Football, beating the Arizona Cardinals handily, earning national plaudits for defeating the undefeated, and putting themselves a game back of the leaders. Sunday afternoon, the Rams were denied any additional ground in the NFC West standings: The Seattle Seahawks won to pull even, and the San Francisco 49ers rolled over the Buffalo Bills to tie the Cardinals for first.
The Seahawks won ugly, as is their wont, but the 49ers reminded everybody why they were the clear NFC West favorites going into the season. In their win the 49ers held Ryan Fitzpatrick to just 126 yards on 26 attempts, stopped Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller in their tracks, and generally looked like defensive juggernauts. They also scored 45 points, got 106 yards from Frank Gore and 303 more from Alex Smith, and found nearly all their offensive weapons to be in working order.
The Rams are the best they've been in years, the Cardinals are—well, we'll wait and see on that—and the Seahawks have ensured that the entirety of the NFC West standings are currently over .500. But the 49ers, in keeping pace with the rest of the division, showed themselves again to be the real favorites.