NFC West Breakdown: Week Three


(Scott Allen writes for Raising Zona, which is FSB’s Arizona Cardinals blog. Representing the rest of the NFC West are 12th Man Rising, Niner Noise. and Ramblin’ Fan.)

The NFC West got a little tighter on Sunday, week three of the NFL season.  We found out that Arizona still had trouble closing out games on the road, St. Louis remembered what the red zone looked like but still had trouble scoring, Seattle is back in the thick of things, and San Francisco showed a little attitude.

Arizona Cardinals (2-1):

Looking Back: The Cardinals it seems, have reverted back to their old ways.  Several mistakes on Sunday cost the Cardinals the chance from going 3-0 for the first time since 1974.  They committed their first turnovers of the season, both leading to Washington Redskins’ touchdowns.  Edgerrin James put the ball on the ground in the first quarter and Kurt Warner was intercepted in the fourth quarter on a controversial no pass interference call.  The Cardinals had certain points taken away from them in the first quarter after a delay of game call went against them on a 4th and 1.  It appeared the clock may have been at one second when Kurt Warner snapped the ball and passed to a wide open Ben Patrick.  Either way, with Ken Whisenhunt making the call to punt the ball away with 2:32 remaining, the Cardinals defense couldn’t make one last stop and lost to the Washington Redskins 24-17.

Looking Forward:

The Cardinals are spending the week on the road instead of returning to Arizona.  They will remain in their Virginia hotel and practice at Catholic University before heading by train to New Jersey next weekend to face Brett Favre and the New York Jets.  The Jets will have one less day to prepare as they will be coming off their Monday Night Football appearance.  The question is will the move to remain back east, which was not a popular one with Kurt Warner, help or hurt the Cardinals chances at a victory in New York?

St. Louis Rams (0-3):

Looking Back:

As much as I’m sure they would like to just look forward and skip the looking back, fact is they can’t ignore the growing problems in Rams’ camp.  The Rams are now 0-3 and the record is no fluke.  The Rams have been outscored 116-29 in the first three games this season, including Sunday’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks 37-13 in Seattle.  Things are so bad, they even ran out of towels for the coaches’ showers after the game.  There is one silver lining, the Rams finally ran six plays inside the red zone.  Ok, so they managed to gain -2 yards, but it’s a start right?

Looking Forward:

The Buffalo Bills come knocking next Sunday in St. Louis.  Things really don’t look much brighter for the Rams with that matchup, although the Bills had to stage a rally on Sunday to defeat the Oakland Raiders.  Coach Scott Linehan vowed the season will not continue as it is going now.  It’s hard not to believe that statement is only true if Scott Linehan is no longer head coach, a real possibility if things continue on the path they are going on.

San Francisco 49ers (2-1):

Looking Back:

The 49ers defeated the Detroit Lions 31-13 on Sunday to place themselves in a first place tie with the Arizona Cardinals at 2-1.  Frank Gore rushed for 130 yards and J.T. O’Sullivan threw for 189 yards and two touchdowns.  A true sign that the 49ers offense was working on all cylinders on Sunday was when the 49ers were faced with a fourth down, however called timeout, then took the field goal unit off the field and sent the offense back onto the field for Allen Rossum to score on an end-around run.

Looking Forward:

San Francisco has a tough task in going to New Orleans in week 4.  New Orleans is coming off two close, tough road losses in Washington and Denver.  If the 49ers are able to pull off the road victory, they could be looking at the possibility of being in first place all by themselves if the Cardinals can’t close out a victory in New York.  The 49ers are improving.  They only gave up one sack on Sunday after giving up 12 in the first two games and J.T. O’Sullivan is getting a better hold of Mike Martz’s offense.  They could be catching New Orleans at a good time.

Seattle Seahawks (1-2):

Looking Back:

The Seahawks feel a little better about themselves after defeating the St. Louis Rams 37-13 on Sunday.  Julius Jones ran for 140 yards on 22 carries.  He took a little jab at his former team, the Dallas Cowboys after the game when he made the remark he felt like he was finally on a team that had confidence in him.  Newly signed wide receiver Koren Robinson did not play due to an injury sustained in practice on Wednesday.  However with the way Jones ran the ball, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck only needed to put the ball in the air 20 times and let his backs Jones and T.J. Duckett (19 carries) do the rest in leading Seattle to a 245 yard rushing attack, their best since Oct 16, 2005 against Houston.

Looking Forward:

Seattle hopes to mend some more of their injuries as they head into their bye week.  They may need to spend a lot of time preparing though for their next opponent.  They head to New York to play the Giants in two weeks.  The Giants, defending Super Bowl champs, are 3-0, however will also be coming off their bye week as well.  It should be a very interesting game and may tell us just how far the Seahawks have come in attempting to regain control of a division that has been all theirs for the past several years.