Blaine Gabbert (left) led the San Francisco 49ers to an upset win over Atlanta in his first start since October 2013, while Rams quarterback Nick Foles (right) has failed to reach 200 yards passing for seven straight games.
The NFL regular season is more volatile on a week-to-week basis than the stock market. One team who lost by several touchdowns the week before can follow up the next week with a blowout victory. Players who are responsible for the blame one week could be responsible for a game-winning play the very next game.
With Week 9 of the regular season in the books, let’s take a look at three NFC West players who saw their stock rise, and three NFC West players who saw it fall as we get set for Week 10.
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Blaine Gabbert, quarterback, San Francisco 49ers
Gabbert was thrown into a near-impossible situation, making his first start in more than two years without his leading receiver and top three running backs. Yet he provided an undeniable spark to an offense that had been limited to seven points or fewer in four of its previous six games. Along with throwing for 185 yards, Gabbert rushed for 32 more in a 17-16 win over Atlanta to snap a personal 10-start losing streak.
Michael Floyd, wide receiver, Arizona Cardinals
Floyd was pretty much a non-factor through five games while coming back from surgery to repair three dislocated fingers, but he had a touchdown catch in three straight games entering the bye. While an injury to fellow wideout John Brown has played a part in his expanded role, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians suggested during the bye week that Floyd may have wrested the starting spot from Brown.
Richard Sherman, cornerback, Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks appeared to lose their swagger following a string of fourth-quarter meltdowns, but Sherman’s lock-down play helped send Seattle into its Week 9 bye with back-to-back wins. Sherman limited Dallas’ Dez Bryant to two catches for 12 yards in Week 8 after holding San Francisco’s Torrey Smith without a reception the previous week. Seattle’s defense permitted a combined 362 total yards in those two games.
Nick Foles, quarterback, St. Louis Rams
Foles continues to put up numbers not typically seen in the NFL — at least since the days of black-and-white television. Foles has failed to throw for 200 yards in seven consecutive games and managed only 37 yards passing in the second half of Sunday’s overtime loss at Minnesota. The offseason acquisition has seven touchdown passes in eight games, and three of those came in one contest.
Jermaine Kearse, wide receiver, Seattle Seahawks
Kearse had eight catches in the season opener and six more in Week 3, providing optimism that he’d serve as a complement to tight end Jimmy Graham in the passing game. Instead, he has regressed with a combined seven catches over the past five games. Kearse entered last week’s bye with a zero-catch performance in a 13-12 win at Dallas — the second time in three games he failed to register a reception.
Stedman Bailey, wide receiver, St. Louis Rams
With defenses geared to stop prized rookie running back Todd Gurley, the Rams have been desperate for any wideout to emerge as a reliable target for the aforementioned Foles. Bailey hasn’t been that guy — and won’t be for the forseeable future. The third-year receiver has only three receptions for 21 yards in his last three games and on Monday received a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.