NFC West Report: Week 5

For the first time this season, the Cardinals are in sole possession of first place in the NFC West. As I'm sure everyone predicted, they beat the Saints to get there. Obviously.

Week 5 Results:

Detroit Lions 44, St. Louis Rams 6 - This game was certainly a bit of a reality check for the 2-2 Rams. The Lions may have entered this game with an 0-4 record, but anyone who has watched this team play knows they'd been knocking on the door in every game. Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo opened proceedings with an onside kick attempt that backfired, leading to a Lions field goal. The Rams ended the first quarter with a field goal of their own to draw the game even, but after that, we entered the blowout zone. Detroit's Stefan Logan returned a kick 105 yards, Niners reject Shaun Hill posted a 117 QB rating, and Alphonso Smith closed the game out with an interception return for a touchdown -- and capped it by doing the Carlton in the end zone. Sam Bradford had his toughest day as a pro, throwing two interceptions and having the first sub-50 QB rating game of his career.

Arizona Cardinals 30, New Orleans Saints 20 - All it took for the Cardinals to head into their bye week with a winning record was a fumble returned for a touchdown by the defense, a fumble picked up by an offensive lineman, and a pick-six from DRC. Basically, that's exactly how Ken Whisenhunt drew it up. Undrafted rookie quarterback Max Hall made his first career NFL start and played a relatively below average game. If a couple of fumbles had gone against Hall, that first start could have been a disaster. But they didn't. The real story for the Cardinals was the defense. Drew Brees threw three interceptions in addition to the fumble to make up for a 162-yard difference in total offense.

Philadelphia Eagles 27, San Francisco 49ers 24 - Things got so bad for the San Francisco 49ers in their game with Philly that fans were chanting for backup David Carr in the final quarter. Let that sink in. Carr didn't make his way into the game and Alex Smith actually rallied the Niners to the brink of victory before throwing an interception from the Eagles 44 with just 28 seconds remaining. With Eagles QB Michael Vick out with injury, Kevin Kolb re-claimed the starting job for a week and played well, going 21-for-31 with 253 yards, a touchdown, and throwing no interceptions. Niners reciever Michael Crabtree had, by far, his best game of the season, catching 9 balls for 105 yards and a score. San Fran would be wise to find that guy a few more times.

Standings:

Cardinals 3-2

Seahawks 2-2

Rams 2-3

49ers 0-5

Week 6 Games:

Seahawks @ Bears - The result of this game may be solely dependent on whether Bears quarterback Jay Cutler returns from his concussion. As of right now, the Bears are relatively optimistic about his chances to play, but if he doesn't, they'll again be stuck with the two-headed "monster" of Todd Collins and Caleb Hanie. Though Chicago beat the Panthers on Sunday, it was in no way due to the performance of Collins, who threw almost as many interceptions (four) as completions (six). Really says something about the skill of the Panthers. Seattle is coming off of their bye week and hopes to have more road success than their first two cracks (losses to Denver and St. Louis).

Chargers @ Rams - Mark Clayton is out for the season and after a 44-6 loss to the Lions, we're about to see how resilient Sam Bradford and the Rams are. Last week, people were ready to annoint St. Louis as a contender in the West, but what a difference a 38-point loss to Detroit makes. San Diego has been a Jekyll and Hyde act to this point in the season, losing each of their three road games (Kansas City, Seattle, Oakland) while claiming both home dates in routes (Jacksonville and Arizona). I wouldn't be surprised to see the Rams respond with a good home performance, but I still see them losing their 4th game.

Raiders @ 49ers - Now or never, San Francisco. After yet another moral victory for Mike Singeltary's 49ers on Sunday Night Football, the team has slipped to 0-5. But none of that prevented team owner Jed York from claiming his team was still going to win the division. As much as I dislike the Niners (and I do ... a lot), I'm not willing to admit they're even close to out of this race. Starting with Oakland, they could easily win four of their next five games (Raiders, Panthers, Broncos, Rams, Bucs) and head into Monday Night Football in Glendale with a 4-6 record. This team is going to break through eventually. It remains to be seen whether the Raiders will start the banged up Bruce Gradkowski or recently acquired Jason Campbell.

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