Grading the NFC West: Week 8

Handing out grades to the 49ers' three divisional rivals in the NFC West for their Week 8 performances.


Cardinals report card: Baltimore 30, Arizona 27


PASSING OFFENSE: F -- Kevin Kolb was sacked six times and completed only 10 of 21 throws. The protection was obviously poor, and receivers weren't getting open. Kolb wasn't accurate either.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C -- Beanie Wells played through a knee injury, but he had 22 carries for 83 yards. The other backs aren't contributing much. The line is doing a decent job of opening holes.

PASS DEFENSE: F -- Joe Flacco shredded the Cardinals in the second half. The Ravens went to a no-huddle offense to limit personnel groupings, and Flacco hit his tight ends and receiver Anquan Boldin. Arizona's cornerbacks were exposed.

RUSH DEFENSE: B -- After some struggles early, the unit did a decent job, but maybe that's because the Ravens were throwing the ball so well.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A -- Patrick Peterson had his second punt return for a touchdown this season. Jay Feely made both of his field-goal attempts, and the coverage teams were good.

COACHING: C -- The team continues to play hard, which is saying something given the losing streak. The defense is improving, and the insertion of young players such as outside linebackers Sam Acho and O'Brien Schofield produced results – even if it should have happened weeks ago.


Rams report card: St. Louis 31, New Orleans 21


PASSING OFFENSE: C-plus -- QB A.J. Feeley managed the game well and didn't throw an interception, although he coughed up the ball on a sack, and the ball was recovered in the end zone for the Saints' first touchdown of the game. Ten of Feeley's 20 completions did result in first downs, and WR Brandon Lloyd scored his first touchdown with the Rams on an 8-yard pass. The longest pass play in the game for the Rams was 17 yards.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A -- RB Steven Jackson rushed for 159 yards and scored two touchdowns. A 32-yard run on a fourth-and-2 play set up one of his two 3-yard scoring runs. Jackson had five runs of 15 yards or longer in the game.

PASS DEFENSE: A -- The final numbers for QB Drew Brees (30-for-44 for 269 yards) don't look bad, but 10-for-13 for 88 yards came on the final, meaningless possession. The Rams sacked Brees six times for 42 yards in losses, and they had two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Brees, who entered the game with a 104.1 passer rating, had a rating of 73.0 Sunday.

RUSH DEFENSE: A -- Saints running backs ran 21 times for 57 yards (3.0 per rush) after entering the game averaging 4.6 yards per carry. No matter who carried the ball, the Rams shut them down, allowing a long run of just 9 yards. Pierre Thomas had seven carries for 23 yards, Darren Sproles six for 16 and Chris Ivory six for 18.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A -- While Sproles did have a 36-yard kickoff return, he was held mostly in check, averaging 24.2 yards on five kickoffs and 6.3 yards on three punt returns. P Donnie Jones had a solid net average of 39.9 yards. The biggest play was a blocked punt by rookie DE Robert Quinn near the end of the first half that led to the first touchdown of the game.

COACHING: A -- Despite the team's 0-6 record, coach Steve Spagnuolo and his staff had the Rams ready to play, and the coaches adjusted to the loss of more players to injury. Six of the seven inactive players had injuries, and five were starters.


Seahawks report card: Cincinnati 34, Seattle 12


PASSING OFFENSE: B -- Tarvaris Jackson threw for a career-high 323 yards in just 2½ quarters of play, but he finished without a touchdown pass and also threw an interception that was returned 75 yards for a touchdown by Cincinnati safety Reggie Nelson. Sidney Rice was Jackson's favorite target, finishing with seven catches for 102 yards.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D -- The Seahawks managed just 61 yards on the ground, and 28 of those came on one run by Leon Washington on the last play of the game. Marshawn Lynch finished with just 24 yards on 16 carries.

PASS DEFENSE: B-minus -- Cincinnati rookie quarterback Andy Dalton finished with 168 yards passing, two touchdown passes and a 72.2 passer rating. But he also threw two interceptions. Seattle did not apply much pressure on Dalton, with the Seahawks finishing with just one sack.

RUSH DEFENSE: B -- Playing in place of Cedric Benson, Bernard Scott was effective, totaling 76 yards on 22 carries. The Bengals finished with 92 yards on the day, averaging 3.4 yards per carry.

SPECIAL TEAMS: F -- The punt and kickoff coverage units once again struggled with tackling. Seattle gave up 249 return yards, including a 56-yard punt return for a score by Brandon Tate, and a 63-yard punt return by Adam Jones that set up a 14-yard touchdown catch by Jerome Simpson.

COACHING: D -- Coach Pete Carroll's aggressive nature got the best of him again when he decided to go for it on fourth-and-two from Cincinnati's 3-yard line with 14 seconds left in the first half. Seattle ran an inside draw play and Marshawn Lynch got the first down, but fell short of the end zone. With no timeouts, Seattle could not stop the clock and failed to line up in time to run another play, so Seattle ended a good drive with no points. Carroll needs to realize he's not at USC anymore, and when he has a chance to score he has to take the points.


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