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A Weird Week in the NFC West

There’s one thing that casual football fans and hardcore gamblers have in common: they hate a tie. And that’s exactly what they got in Sunday’s 24-24 tilt between the St. Louis Rams and the San Francisco 49ers, the NFL’s first tie game since 2008. Both team’s kickers, usually reliable, missed in OT. 49ers QB Alex Smith was knocked out of the game with a concussion and his backup, former Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick, had a solid outing, completing 11 of 17 passes for 117 yards. He also carried the ball eight times for 66 yards and a touchdown.

It was an exciting game with a bummer of an ending, particularly if you had something riding on the 49ers: they were favored by 11 points in this one. The NIners are good, but they aren’t double-digit spread good; it’s not like their offense is ’07 Patriots explosive or anything. This team grinds it out when it wins, so even if they had pulled this one out it was never conceivable that they would win by double digits. Betters beware of that one.

In happier NFC West news, the Seattle Seahawks did what everyone expected them to do and thumped the New York Jets at home, 28-7. It was a potent cocktail of factors: the Seahawks are great at home, and the Jets are, well, starting Mark Sanchez at quarterback. What was not to love about the Birbs in this one? Wide receiver Golden Tate even threw a touchdown to Sidney Rice in the fourth quarter, taking a bow to all three sides of the stadium afterward. It was that kind of afternoon for this injury ravaged and struggling Jets defense. Tate threw a wounded duck into the end zone and Rice, who only caught two balls today, both for TDs, came down with it. “After it left his hands it was beautiful,” Rice said. “Before that it was suspect.”

“We hung tough. We weren’t playing very well early and some things happened and we hung tough and kept punching away at it,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “We finally put together a real good finish.” Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch also went over 1,000 yards for the season, quietly proving once again his credentials as one of the best backs in the league. “It’s hard to get 1,000 yards in this league. I’m happy for Marshawn. He congratulated me, and I’m like, `no, congratulations to you.’ That’s just the kind of guy he is,” Seattle fullback Michael Robinson said. “He understands it takes all 11 guys to run the ball in this league.”

The Jets, meanwhile, were utterly horrendous. Mark Sanchez again put up fireable offense-type numbers, completing 9 of 22 passes for 124 yards and an interception. For those Tebow lovers at home, Timmy only threw for eight yards on three throws. Yikes. The Jets’ odds of making the playoffs are getting slimmer and slimmer, thugh Rexy still seems to think they have a chance.

“I don’t know how many more losses you can spot somebody before you think can make the playoffs,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said. “It’s about a two percent chance at making the playoffs with the record we have and we are going to take that shot.”

The Jets finished with only 185 total yards of offense, the second time this season they’ve finished a game with less than 200. Something undoubtedly has to change with this team, but Tebow probably isn’t it. At this point, they may have to turn to the draft for QB help. The Seahawks were 6.5 point favorites in this game, and it probably should have been double that. The Birds are 6-4 and in the thick of the playoff race while the Jets could not be worse.

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