In the NFC West’s increasingly messy battle for leadership, nothing’s clear after the first half. The 4-4 St. Louis Rams and the 2-6 San Francisco 49ers are tied 10-10 in a game that’s seen a lot of big plays and a lot of hard-nosed defensive stops. Meanwhile, the 4-4 Seattle Seahawks and the 3-5 Arizona Cardinals are caught in an unlikely shootout, with the Seahawks leading 17-10.
The Rams’ defense has bent and often—but not always—broken, allowing some huge plays from Troy Smith, who’s 6-for-9 for 171 yards. Vernon Davis—two receptions for 70 yards—and Josh Morgan—one reception for 65—have been the primary beneficiaries of the Rams’ largesse. But a crucial goal-line stop kept the Niners to a field goal after that long Morgan pass.
The Rams’ offense has been solid but unspectacular. Sam Bradford is 11-for-16 with 110 yards passing and one touchdown, to Danny Amendola. Steven Jackson has struggled at times; he’s got 10 carries for 23 yards and two receptions for 17 more.
The Seahawks have built their lead on an outstanding performance from Matt Hasselbeck, returning to the lineup after missing last week’s disaster with a concussion. Hasselbeck is 17-for-23 with 273 yards and one touchdown. A running game with just eight total yards hasn’t managed to slow him down.
The Cardinals’ Derek Anderson has shown his usual facility with the big play; he’s 10-for-16 with 162 yards with an offense whose running game is similarly stifled. Tim Hightower has 11 carries for 33 yards and one touchdown.