NFC West report card: Week 10

Grading the 49ers' three divisional rivals in the NFC West for their performances in Sunday's games:


PASSING OFFENSE: B -- Kurt Warner threw the ball well and wasn't sacked. He passed for 359 yards, a season high, and didn't have an interception.

RUSHING OFFENSE: F -- Detroit tackles Shaun Rogers and Dan Wilkinson dominated and too often were in the backfield. The Cardinals fell behind and were forced to throw.

PASS DEFENSE: F -- The Cardinals made Joey Harrington look like John Elway. Harrington passed for three touchdowns and did not commit a turnover. The Cardinals had just one sack.

RUSH DEFENSE: F -- The Lions had been struggling running the ball but got well against the Cardinals, gaining 157 yards on 32 carries.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- Kicker Neil Rackers made two field-goal attempts and two tackles. The return teams produced nothing, and the kickoff coverage was lacking.

COACHING: D -- The team was undisciplined. The Cardinals were called for too many penalties and missed too many tackles. The running game hasn't improved.


PASSING OFFENSE: B -- QB Marc Bulger returned from a two-game absence to pass for 304 yards and one touchdown. He spread the ball around to nine receivers. However, TE Brandon Manumaleuna lost a fumble at the Seattle 13-yard line after gaining a first down, and WR Torry Holt lost sight of the ball on a throw by Bulger that likely would have been a touchdown.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B -- RB Steven Jackson rushed for 70 yards on 17 carries but wasn't effective in the red zone, running five times for 4 yards. Three of those yards came on one play.

PASS DEFENSE: B-minus -- The Rams didn't get much pressure on QB Matt Hasselbeck, and while he had a rating of only 68.6, he was able to hit several key third-down passes. For the game, Hasselbeck was six-for-10 on third down for 91 yards, and all were good for first downs. WR Bobby Engram had four of those conversions.

RUSH DEFENSE: D -- The Rams knew they couldn't allow RB Shaun Alexander to gash them for big plays, but it happened anyway. Alexander had three touchdowns, and runs of 17, 21 and 37 yards.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- Coverage teams were OK, while new kick returner David Allen couldn't get much going. He averaged 18.7 yards on six kickoff returns, and 8.0 yards on two punt returns. The latter is an improvement, considering the Rams were averaging 3.6 yards on punt returns entering the game. A fake field goal didn't work and cost the Rams an easy three points.

COACHING: C-plus -- There was no talk of the motivational gimmicks interim coach Joe Vitt used for this game, which usually happens after a loss. The Rams were basically the same team they've been all year on the road. Aside from a 17-12 win over Arizona, the Rams have lost their other four road games by a combined score of 148-93.


PASSING OFFENSE: B -- QB Matt Hasselbeck managed the game very efficiently, which is becoming the norm. His numbers took a big hit thanks to a pair of interceptions beyond his control. On the first, a Rams defender clearly interfered with TE Jerramy Stevens, preventing him from making the catch. On the second, TE Ryan Hannam let the ball bounce off his chest. WR D.J. Hackett stretched the Rams defense with a 31-yard TD grab and a 47-yard non-scoring grab. WR Bobby Engram and WR Joe Jurevicius made clutch catches late in the game despite rainy conditions. Seattle also held the Rams without a sack.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A -- The Seahawks stuck with the running game and it paid off nicely. RB Shaun Alexander worked hard for his 165 yards and three TDs, setting a season high with 33 carries. His second-effort runs helped Seattle convert 10 of 15 times on third down, including 4-for-4 on the game-clinching TD drive in the final minutes. RT Sean Locklear showed improvement in his run blocking. Jurevicius continued to show why he's one of the better blocking receivers in the game, sealing off a defender for an extended period during one of Alexander's scoring runs.

PASS DEFENSE: B -- Seattle got sacks from DT Rocky Bernard, LB LeRoy Hill and MLB Lofa Tatupu. DE Bryce Fisher and DE Grant Wistrom batted down passes. SS Michael Boulware picked off a pass. DT Rodney Bailey forced a fumble after a key Rams reception. Qwest Field even helped foil one potential Rams scoring pass when WR Torry Holt lost track of a ball that nearly hit him near the goal line. The Seahawks watched Rams QB Marc Bulger top 300 yards passing, but they made sure those yards were mostly irrelevant.

RUSH DEFENSE: A -- The Seahawks remained the only team in the NFC not to allow a 100-yard individual rusher. Containing Rams RB Steven Jackson might have been the most important factor in Seattle's victory. Jackson did break free for an 18-yard gain, the longest by a running back against Seattle this season. But the Seahawks' linebackers were physical and aggressive enough to prevent the bruising Jackson from imposing his will on them. Jackson finished with only 70 yards.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- This was probably the Seahawks' most impressive special teams performance of the season. The team's much-criticized kick-return unit gave Seattle possession outside its 30-yard-line four times in five chances. The team also went without a penalty on special teams, a huge accomplishment for a team that had been flagged 10 times on kick returns alone. The Seahawks also managed a 19-yard punt return, one of their longest this season. Cold, rainy conditions made punting difficult, taking P Tom Rouen off the hook for a weak effort.

COACHING: A -- The Seahawks were better prepared than the Rams. That was apparent early when Seattle CB Marcus Trufant expertly foiled the Rams' attempt at a fake field goal. Offensively, coach Mike Holmgren remained loyal to the running game, as he should have, but he also remembered to take a few shots down the field. The Seahawks' 31-yard TD pass helped loosen up the Rams' defense. Some coaches might have played it more conservatively given the heavy rains. Defensively, the team continued to function smoothly without ailing coordinator Ray Rhodes. Seattle again reaped maximum results from young players in key positions, notably Hill at weak-side linebacker.

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