Grading the NFC West: Week 5

Handing out grades to the 49ers' divisional rivals in the NFC West for their performances in Week 5 games, with a season report card through four games for the 0-4 St. Louis Rams, who were idle last week with the division's first bye.

Seahawks report card: Seattle 36, New York Giants 25


PASSING OFFENSE: B -- The Seahawks, for a second consecutive game, moved the ball well through the air offensively. Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst combined for 315 passing yards and two touchdowns. Rookie Doug Baldwin was their primary target, finishing with eight receptions for 136 yards and a score. We'll see what happens at quarterback when Seattle travels to Cleveland in two weeks after the bye, with Jackson suffering a strained pectoral in the second half. Whitehurst threw the go-ahead 27-yard TD pass to Baldwin late in the fourth quarter and finished 11 of 19 for 149 yards passing off the bench.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B -- Seattle rushed for a season-high 145 yards on the ground. Marshawn Lynch led the charge, with 98 yards on 12 carries for an 8.2 per-carry average. Lynch appeared to find more room to run in Seattle's no-huddle offense, giving the Seahawks a much-desired physical presence in the run game.

PASS DEFENSE: B -- It's not often you give up 420 yards through the air and still receive a solid grade, but the Seahawks put constant pressure on quarterback Eli Manning, sacking him three times and forcing him to throw three interceptions, including one returned by cornerback Brandon Browner 94 yards to ice the game with 1:08 to play and the Giants on the doorstep of a game-winning TD.

RUSH DEFENSE: B -- The Seahawks held the Giants to 69 total rushing yards, forcing New York to pass the ball in order to move the chains. One of the more impressive plays was defensive end Anthony Hargrove knifing through the Giants' offensive line and stoning running back D.J. Ware in the end zone for a safety.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B-minus -- Seattle has looked much improved the past couple weeks in this phase of the game. Kicker Steven Hauschka made field goals from 43 and 51 yards, and also had four touchbacks. Punter Jon Ryan finished with four punts inside the 20-yard line and a long of 62 yards. And Leon Washington was effective in the punt return game. However, two penalties negated good gains by Washington on punt returns.

COACHING: B -- The Seahawks went into halftime tied at 14-14, but should have led by a couple touchdowns after running back Marshawn Lynch and Michael Robinson fumbled inside the red zone. But Seattle head coach Pete Carroll told his team not to worry about the mistakes and focus on the game plan in the second half. And it worked, with the Seahawks getting a rare road win on the East Coast and going into the bye week with some momentum at 2-3.


Cardinals report card: Minnesota 34, Arizona 10


PASSING OFFENSE: F -- Kevin Kolb had two passes intercepted. Several other throws were dropped and he was sacked four times. Kolb completed only half of 42 passes for 232 yards.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D -- Beanie Wells ran hard and had room at times. He gained 60 yards on 20 carries but the club had to abandon the run because it was down 28-3 at halftime.

PASS DEFENSE: C -- At least the Cardinals didn't let Donovan McNabb beat them. He threw for only 169 yards and was 10 of 21. A.J. Jefferson dropped an interception.

RUSH DEFENSE: F -- Adrian Peterson is great and the Cardinals did nothing to change that opinion. When Peterson wasn't faking out defenders, he was running them over. The Vikings had 172 yards on 37 attempts, with Peterson rumbling for 122 yards on 29 carries.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- Jay Feely made a 51-yard field-goal attempt, which is good considering he missed three of his first four attempts this season. The return teams aren't producing much, and the punt coverage is lacking.

COACHING: F -- There are too many players making too many mistakes, and the Cardinals haven't improved in the first five weeks of the season. The coaching staff isn't coming up with any answers.


Rams report card: Season grades after four games


NOTE: The Rams were idle Sunday after their bye week.

PASSING OFFENSE: D -- There isn't much good here. QB Sam Bradford has completed 49.7 percent of his passes and has averaged just 5.62 yards per attempt. The only thing that has kept his passer rating above 70 (70.8) is he has thrown only one interception. However, three fumbles on pass plays have been recovered by Rams opponents and returned for touchdowns. Bradford also has been sacked 18 times (and A.J. Feeley once when Bradford injured his finger in the season opener). There have been an inordinate number of dropped passes, with rookie TE Lance Kendricks dropping two that were sure touchdowns. Losing slot receiver Danny Amendola in the season opener has affected Bradford's check-down options. One bright spot has been WR Danario Alexander, who has averaged 24.6 yards per reception but isn't on the field extensively because of a left knee that needs managing. Bradford's average on completions to receivers other than Alexander is 9.7 yards.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D -- The season started with an explosion when Steven Jackson went 47 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. It has been downhill since. Jackson strained his quad on that play and ran for 9 yards on one more play before going to the sideline. He missed one game, carried four times in Week 3, then played the entire game in Week 4 but wasn't himself. Since Jackson was hurt, the Rams have gained 323 yards on the ground (including 22 yards by Bradford) and averaged 3.7 yards per rush. The absence of Jackson has affected play-action. Rarely leading in games (the Rams have trailed by a combined score of 79-16 at halftime) has often taken the run out of the equation. In four games, the Rams have called 81 running plays and 182 pass plays.

PASS DEFENSE: C-minus -- Save for a brutal first quarter against Baltimore, when WR Torrey Smith scored three touchdowns on big plays, the pass defense has held its own despite injuries that have severely affected the cornerbacks. Opponents have completed 54.0 percent of their passes for 6.78 yards per attempt. There have been eight touchdown passes, but five in the other 15 quarters. The Rams had 43 sacks last season, but they have just eight after four games in large part because they are usually behind. The Rams have been ahead for 6:28 all season. Opponents have called 117 running plays and 166 passes. Nine of the running plays were end-of-game kneel-downs.

RUSH DEFENSE: C-minus -- While the run defense has been very good at times, big plays have gashed the defense. Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy had a 49-yard touchdown. Baltimore's Ray Rice had a 53-yard run. Washington's Ryan Torain ran virtually untouched for 39 yards and also scored on a 20-yard run. Four runs of 20 yards or more have accounted for 20.8 percent of the opponent's rushing yards.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B-minus -- Aside from negligible results from the return game, the biggest negative was a muff by Greg Salas against the Giants that led to a touchdown when the Rams had one of their rare leads. Generally, the special teams have been good. P Donnie Jones has some mis-hits, but his net average is 39.2 yards, and opponents have returned just seven of his 27 punts for a 4.3-yard average. K Josh Brown has missed one of seven field-goal attempts, from 47 yards.

COACHING: C -- There have been some questionable personnel choices, led by the decision to not have Alexander active for the first game of the season. Coaches were slow to adjust when the Ravens went right after CB Justin King in the first quarter, although the pass defense was beaten even when King was given help. There is the sense that the offense has been trying to do too much considering the personnel limitations.


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