Behind Enemy Lines – Week Three
Arizona – Even though the Cardinals are winless and their offense has been anemic in their three losses this team is making some significant strides in its attempt to get to respectability.
QB Josh McCown was upset with his play against the Atlanta Falcons as his second and third fumbles of the game ended possible scoring drives inside the Falcons' 10 yard line.
"You can't put the ball on the ground and that is the toughest thing about this game. For the most part we moved the ball well up and down the field and you have 52 people who are playing hard and you go out and put the ball on the ground twice in the redzone, it hurts," said an emotional McCown. "It hurts bad."
McCown was benched in favor of veteran backup Shaun King, but even with McCown's benching don't look for head coach Dennis Green to keep his young QB on the sidelines for too long. McCown took a beating from the Falcons, as Atlanta sacked him five times and put numerous hits on him.
One bright spot was the emergence of WR Karl Williams in the passing game. He played well in the slot catching six passes for 90 yards. His contributions are helping to offset the losses of second-year wideout Anquan Boldin. Rookie WR Larry Fitzgerald is getting open but he is having a hard time getting free for the big-play that Green expects from his standout rookie.
On the defensive side of the ball, insiders are increasingly optimistic that DE Kyle Vanden Bosch will be able to take over the LDE spot currently occupied by the ineffective Peppi Zellner.
Also encouraging is the fact that the Cardinals have put up two solid efforts against "high-octane" offenses holding the Rams to 17 points in St. Louis and the Falcons to only six points and superstar QB Michael Vick to only 115 yards and 10 completions.
Next Game: vs. New Orleans, October 3rd
St. Louis – The Rams lost an overtime matchup against former NFC West foe New Orleans in the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday 28-25.
"That's a tough loss," head coach Mike Martz said. "That's a hard one to lose. I think we had that thing won and we couldn't put it away. We made an awful lot of mistakes in that game."
Much speculation has been coming from media and fans as to why the Rams chose to "squib-kick" the ball after they had just taken the lead on a Marc Bulger scramble, 25-22.
"They have a fantastic returner, so I think the call there was we didn't want to get it in his hands and maybe take it all the way," K Jeff Wilkins said. "You see it called all the time. It just didn't work out today."
What was so vexing was that Wilkins had continually booted the ball deep into the endzone preventing Sainst kick returner Michael Lewis from getting any meaningful returns.
One move that will not be questioned is the return of DB Aeneas Williams' shift back to corner after two seasons at free safety. Martz said Williams looked like "he never left" after his first day of practicing at the spot last week. He played almost the entire game on the corner and if he can continue to stay with players much younger than him he is likely to remain there for a while. Another factor contributing to Williams' move is newly signed S Kwame Lassiter who played for six seasons under Rams defensive coordinator Larry Marmie in Arizona.
DE Leonard Little recorded his first sack of the season and played a lot in the Saints backfield on Sunday and the hope is that he will continue to get pressure on the QB to help ease the burden of the linebackers from blitzing.
Next Game: @ San Francisco, October 3rd
San Francisco – The wheels seemed to come off this week as the team was dismantled by the surging Seattle Seahawks 34-0. The shutout was the first time the 49ers had been held scoreless since October 9, 1977 and head coach Dennis Erickson didn't mince words when he spoke to the media following the drubbing in his hometown.
"What can I say? It was a flat out butt kicking," Erickson said. "We were lucky to finish. It's about as bad as I've been around."
Second-year QB Ken Dorsey, making only his second start, was rattled most of the day coughing up two fumbles and throwing two interceptions and completed 19 of 32 passes for 153 yards.
"This was a tough pill to swallow. It hurts our pride more than anything," Dorsey said. "We didn't go out and execute. That's what it comes down to."
Dorsey also could get the starting nod next week, against the Rams in San Francisco. Starter Tim Rattay's separated shoulder continues to heal.
RB Kevan Barlow had a tough day running for only 22 yards on 10 carries and was bottled up as the Seahawks keyed on his runs, daring the Dorsey and his young wideouts to beat them…and it worked.
"For us to get shutout, not only is it embarrassing but we are a better team than that," Barlow said. "And it starts with every individual in here. There are no excuses. Nothing I can say, nothing I can answer here. We are a better team than that."
They will have a chance to prove that this week against a hobbling St. Louis team that has looked inept in each of their games this season.
Next Game: vs. St. Louis, October 3rd
.NET Reporter Scott Eklund writes for Seahawks.NET every week. Feel free to contact him at email@example.com.
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