NFC West Report Card Grades (Weeks 1 & 2)

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The NFL season is back, and with it comes new teammates, new opponents, and new beginnings. In this article, we will take a look at each of the teams in the NFC West and how they grade out for the first two weekends of the NFL season. So, without further ado, here is the NFC West Report Card. Can the 49ers defend their NFC West title or will a new team seize their moment?

See also: 2020 San Francisco 49ers Season Preview

For each team, we will grade each aspect of the team from a player standpoint. Each group will be graded from A+ to a flat-out F.

Arizona Cardinals (2-0, 1-0 NFC West)

Graded by Wes Keefer

QB Grade:A-

Kyler Murray looked great in his upset win over the 49ers. He was decent in the pocket but even better outside of it, running for over 90 yards and a TD. Against Washington, Murray looked much better as a passer and much more confident, even slinging it deep downfield. He has two passing TDs and three rushing TDs.

RB Grade:B-

Edmonds and Drake are an impactful duo even though Murray is the best runner. Edmonds was a contributor in the passing game with a TD. Kenyan Drake stepped up with 86 rushing yards the next week while Edmonds took a backseat.

WR/TE Grade:A-

Hopkins was fantastic in his first game with the Cardinals and is the new favorite target for Murray. Larry Fitzgerald had four catches for 43 yards, but his leadership and ability to draw the extra coverage is priceless. The entire receiving core showed up against Washington, with Andy Isabella and Christain Kirk catching some deep balls.

OL Grade:B-

This unit was decent in keeping the pressure off of Murray despite the elite defense they faced, only giving up two sacks. They gave up three sacks to Washington, but this defense had eight sacks the week prior. Sounds like a win to me.

DL Grade:B-

The run game, especially Mostert, was a nagging issue for the front line. They accounted for two sacks but ultimately held the 49ers to 123 rushing yards. They allowed just 117 rushing yards to Washington, and Corey Peters had a sack and forced fumble…on the same play.

EDGE Grade:B

Chandler Jones got his hands on Jimmy G several times and got his first sack of the year. Jones also had a fumble recovering in Week 2 and 4 QB hits.

LB Grade:C

Kittle and Reed highlighted some weaknesses in coverage, but this LB group still made an impact. Ezekiel Turner blocked a punt, and Haason Reddick recorded a sack in both games. The real issue here is why Isaiah Simmons hasn’t had a defining game yet.

DB Grade:B-

The secondary mainly had to deal with the TEs and RBs. Mostert torched them for 23.8 yards per catch, but they had a good night and played well on the last drive when it counted. Terry McLaurin racked up 125 yards on the secondary even though he is the only guy who demands extra coverage. Most of that yardage came from YAC.

Los Angeles Rams (2-0, 0-0 NFC West)

Graded by Wes Keefer

QB Grade:A-

Jared Goff looked to be easing into 2020 like it’s a hot tub. Most of his passes were quick and short to his playmakers, allowing them to get the yards through YAC. The first night was easy for him with many open receivers and time to make plays in the pocket. He showed good accuracy downfield. He had a pick and no TD. Against the Eagles, he seemed flawless, going 13/13 to start the game. He finished with 267 yards and 3 TDs, showing why McVay is an advocate for him.

RB Grade:B

Malcolm Brown broke out while rookie Cam Akers tested the NFL waters. Brown showed great vision and hammered the Dallas defense. The run game had 153 yards and 2 TDs, both from Brown. This is a committee, though, and a talented one. Darrell Henderson stepped up in the second game for 81 yards and a TD while Akers is still finding his footing on this offense.

WR/TE Grade:A-

Robert Woods shined as the star receiver (6 catches for 105 yards with a 17.5 average. Most of his yards came after the catch. Rookie Van Jefferson is showing promise as a deep threat. Total of 275 yards. Against the Eagles, Kupp stepped into the spotlight and put up the most yards while TE Higbee scored three times.

OL Grade:B+

The unit was solid in allowing just one sack and giving Goff time in the pocket. They played a significant factor in Brown’s run game, opening the holes for him to crash into. Andrew Whitworth is still an anchor on that line after 15 seasons in the league. Rob Havenstein gave up the lone sack against Philly.

DL Grade:B-

Aaron Donald is still a force, even accounting for a sack in his first game of 2020. The line put constant pressure on Dak and collapsed his pocket. They allowed 139 rushing yards and had two sacks. In Week 2, this defense was a different story. Donald had just one tackle, and Wentz had more time than Dak had the week prior. A flaw seems to be in goal-line situations and in stopping the run.

LB Grade:C-

The LBs gave too much cushion in their coverage, and Elliot broke several tackles. At least Leonard Floyd had a sack. Micah Kiser was all over the field against the Eagles, but these LBs struggled against TEs.

DB Grade:B-

They had two major stops on a 3rd and 4th down. Amari Cooper was a major challenge for them. They snagged two INTs against Wentz, though but need to play better man coverage.

Seattle Seahawks (2-0, 0-0 NFC West)

Graded by Evan Hamatake

QB Grade:A+

Russell Wilson is showing why he is arguably the best QB in the NFL. He has only thrown one interception through two weeks, which resulted from his receiver not being able to make the catch. His ability to get out of the pocket and buy time and find the open receiver with ease makes him a threat every time the ball is snapped.

RB Grade:B

Chris Carson takes the brunt of the carries for the offense, and while he hasn’t been productive in the running game, he has been quite the contributor in the passing game. He is currently leading the team in touchdown receptions with three. With Wilson’s mobility and Carson’s explosiveness, look for them to get a more balanced attack started soon.

WR/TE Grade:B+

This is really a two-party system between Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, who are averaging nearly 80 yards receiving a game so far this season. Metcalf is starting to breakout and utilize his physical dominance, as evidenced with his four catch, 92 yards, one touchdown showing against the reigning DPOY, Stephon Gilmore.

OL Grade:B-

Although Wilson has only been sacked five times, this group is failing mainly in the running game. They just can’t seem to get any push up front, and it shows. Having not had a 100-yard rusher thus far in the season.

DL Grade:C-

The Seahawks run a 4-3 defense, which generally means the interior lineman are designated as run stoppers, and in week one, they shined. However, when Cam Newton and the Patriots came to town, they gave up two touchdowns in the running game. This group needs to step up to help the defense.

EDGE Grade:C

The EDGE category is broken up into outside linebackers and rush defensive ends, and on this team, only one player in this group has a sack. For a group who is specified as the group to get to the quarterback, there has been little to no pressure on the opponents.

LB Grade:B+

The only bright spot through two weeks for this group is Bobby Wagner, with 15 tackles in the first two weeks. Wagner is ranked second on the team in that category, but his mental play looks as sharp as ever as he is continuously where he needs to be when the ball is snapped. Look for Wagner to keep making high level plays as the season progresses.

DB Grade: A-

Jamal Adams is showing the league that he is arguably the best safety in the game today. Through two weeks, he leads the team in tackles and sacks. It’s not just Adams, either. Almost all of Seattle’s starting defensive backs have made plays in the passing game. Showing that they are one of the more dangerous groups in the league.

San Francisco 49ers (1-1, 0-1 NFC West)

Graded by Evan Hamatake

QB Grade:B-

Jimmy Garappolo looks lost, more so in week one than week two. But he is continually struggling to find the open receiver. While the stat sheet doesn’t look bad for Garoppolo, the play itself speaks volumes.

RB Grade:B+

Raheem Mostert is this team’s go-to ball carrier, leading the team in both receiving and rushing in what is on pace to be his best season in his career. Jet McKinnon is also contributing well. In a season full of injuries, look for this group to continue to carry the load, pun intended.

OL Grade:C+

Although this team has a pair of decent runningbacks this year, it hasn’t been due to the offensive line, other than Trent Williams. The line has not looked like they are up to snuff with some of the other offensive lines in the league. Allowing six sacks in just two games.

DL Grade:C-

The interior line of the Niners has been a disappointing group allowing 284 rushing yards in just two weeks. This group needs to step up production as teams realize they are soft up front and take advantage.

EDGE Grade:C+

I do not like writing badly about the Niners pass-rushing unit. When Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, Dee Ford, and Solomon Thomas are healthy, they are unstoppable. However, Bosa just went down with an ACL injury, and Ford hasn’t made a real impact yet. Look for Armstead to step up as he did in week two, getting his first sack of the season.

LB Grade:B+

I decided to include the outside linebackers in this group because they usually don’t rush the passer as much. This group is playing solid ball through two weeks. Both Fred Warner and Kwon Alexander are north of 15 tackles this year, and they already look in midseason form. With the injuries to the front four, look for this group to hold down the fort on defense.

DB Grade:B+

The defense backs on this team are playing well through weeks, and play should only be elevated when Richard Sherman returns from IR after week three. Emmanuel Moseley ranks second on the team in tackles with 17, and Jaquiski Tartt has the only interception of the season. A young group looking to make a lasting impact.