Any other Cardinal fans out there expect to head into Seattle with a 1-game lead on the Seahawks and 1.5-game lead on the Rams? Me, too, dudes. Me, too. Hell, I wasn't betting on the Raiders or anything, but part of me hoped the Niners would gag that one away to put Mike Singletary into unemployment.
Week 6 Results:
Seattle Seahawks 23, Chicago Bears 20 - It took less than two and a half minutes for the Bears to march down the field and score a touchdown on their opening drive. That about covered the successful portion of their day. Seattle scored the next couple touchdowns and never trailed again in their first road win of the season.
Matt Hasselbeck had his first game without an interception since Week 13 of 2009 and Marshawn Lynch scored a touchdown in his Seattle debut, but the real story of the game was the Seahawks defense. Like the Giants a few weeks ago, Seattle got to Jay Cutler early and often, sacking the Bears quarterback six times on the afternoon. When he wasn't being sacked, Cutler was harrassed to the tune of 17/39 and helped the Bears to just 0/12 on third down conversions. A late punt return for a touchdown by Devin Hester made the game look closer than it actually was. Impressive win for Seattle.
St. Louis Rams 20, San Diego Chargers 17 - Speaking of impressive wins, how many people thought the Rams would beat the Chargers this year? I'm not sure what exactly the Cardinals did to draw the ire of the Chargers, but so far this season San Diego has lost to both St. Louis and Seattle while throttling Arizona -- quite the impact they're having on the NFC West race.
The Rams jumped out to a 17-0 lead before basically putting their offense in mothballs and attempting to hold on for the win. Sam Bradford was 18/31 for 198 and a score, but more importantly had his first career start without an INT. The St. Louis defense sacked Phillip Rivers seven times while holding the explosive San Diego offense to just 287 yards. Antonio Gates left the game with an injury in the first half, but that doesn't excuse the loss, considering the sizable talent gap. San Diego is an underachiever again, while the Rams are hoping to continue surprising folks. Fun question: what has Derek Anderson done that Phillip Rivers, Donovan McNabb, and Matt Hasselbeck have failed to do? Answer: Win on the road in St. Louis this season.
San Francisco 49ers 17, Oakland Raiders 9 - A win is a win, no matter how damn ugly it is and boy, did San Francisco need it. The Niners trailed Oakland 6-3 at halftime, but a pair of second half touchdown passes from Alex Smith to Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis was enough to hold off the embarrassing Raiders offense.
Oakland is by no means some offensive powerhouse, but it's clear from watching Jason Campbell struggle to a 10.7 QB rating that Bruce Gradkowski is the team's best quarterback when healthy. To continue the theme of NFC West quarterbacks this week, Alex Smith did not throw an interception for the first time this year. Frank Gore finally exploded to the tune of 149 yards on 25 carries, his biggest day since gashing the Cardinals on Monday Night Football in Week 13 last season. To celebrate San Francisco's first win of the season, I think it's time to break out our old pal Samurai Mike and his pals.
Week 7 Games:
49ers @ Panthers - Now that San Francisco is on the winning track, they can concentrate on attempting to prove owner Jed York correct. The Niners have struggled on the road this season, but the Panthers are a complete and utter hot mess.
Carolina is 0-5 on the season and coach John Fox is so desperate to try anything to save his gig that he went to second round pick Jimmy Clausen a few weeks ago only to bench him in lieu of opening day starter Matt Moore. It's like moving deck chairs on the Titanic at this point -- expect sixth round pick Tony Pike to get his opportunity at some point this season. I'd be shocked in San Francisco loses this game.
Rams @ Buccaneers - I think I've got the Rams figured out. They are a below average football team -- yes, that makes them worse than Seattle and Arizona -- that plays solid ball at home and kind of sucks on the road.
I don't think they're as bad as the 44-6 loss they suffered to Detroit, but they probably aren't good enough to beat Washington and San Diego on most days. That all being said, if they're going to win a road game, this would be a good opportunity, since, despite their 3-2 record, Tampa Bay has become strangely overrated.
Cardinals @ Seahawks - Here's the real big one of the weekend. Both teams are off to relatively surprising 3-2 starts and Seattle is breaking in Marshawn Lynch. Arizona will probably have the services of Steve Breaston while the second quarter of Early Doucet's season and Gerald Hayes' debut are both solid possibilities.
This will be the first road start in the career of Max Hall and if he hopes to move his record as starter to a clean 2-0, I'd suggest that he produces his first touchdown pass as a pro and maybe keeps the fumbles to a minimum. But please, friends, don't let any of that get in the way of his canonization.
Considering the Seahawks' sizable home field advantage and the idea that they actually kept Matt Hasselbeck upright for the first time since 2007, I'd be surprised if the Cardinals win this game.