Behind Enemy Lines – I don't want it, you take it

Not one team has stepped up and grabbed the NFC West title and with the Rams and Seahawks stumbling, the Cardinals are making a bid to win the division with a sub-.500 record.

Arizona – The Cardinals waxed the Rams in Sun Devil Stadium yesterday proving to all that saw it, that this team is one to be reckoned with.

Head coach Dennis Green must be asking himself what might have been. His decision to replace QB Josh McCown with Shaun King and then rookie John Navarre led to a four game losing streak that may be the difference in the Cards tasting postseason action for the first time since 1998 and heading home after wrapping up the season against the Tampa Buccaneers on January 2nd.

"I'm surprised that a 5-9 team is in it, but I'm not surprised that it's this team," McCown said. "We have it in us. We have the talent, we have the capability to do this, it's just a consistency thing."

Yesterday, against a struggling Rams defense, McCown had one of his best days as a pro, completing 22 of 34 passes for 287 yards, two touchdowns with no interceptions. He also ran for two more touchdowns and basically picked apart the entire Rams defense all day.

Helping McCown and the rest of the offense out was a stout defense that held the normally potent Rams offense to no offensive points, 12 first downs, 185 total yards, including 22 yards on the ground.

The Rams only points came on a 61 yard fumble recovery and return for a touchdown by DE Leonard Little right before halftime.

One aspect of the Cardinals that should strike fear into their opponents is the emerging wide receiver corps. Wideouts Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Bryant Johnson are just starting the gel as a unit and against the Rams the trio combined for 11 catches for 154 yards and two touchdowns (both scored by Fitzgerald). With all three healthy, fans and opponents are getting a foretaste of things to come in 2005.

Next Game: @ Seattle, December 26th

St. Louis – The Rams came off the field battered, bruised and in disbelief following their 31-7 drubbing at the hands of the once lowly, now resurgent Cardinals.

"We didn't see this coming," WR Torry Holt said. "If there was any game on the schedule that we felt confident about coming in and winning, it would be Arizona."

The Rams were completely outclassed by the Cardinals and with two tough games coming up (Philadelphia and the New York Jets), the Rams are a long-shot to make the postseason.

Outclassed wouldn't even describe how QBs Chris Chandler and Jaime Martin played yesterday. The two combined to complete 17 of 37 passes for 189 yards and one interception. Chandler was particularly bad, completing just one of his six passes for one yard and one interception.

"It's tragic for this football team, for that position to hold this whole football team hostage," head coach Mike Martz said, "but that's where we are."

Some questioned why rookie RB Steven Jackson didn't see more time as the Rams rushed for only 22 yards on 10 attempts. Veteran Marshall Faulk, who has clearly lost some speed and is wearing down, had a terrible day trying to find creases and cracks in the Cardinals defensive line.

"Steven (Jackson) is ready to play," Martz said tersely. "But it was fairly complex what they were doing from a pressure standpoint. Marshall (Faulk) knew exactly what was going on, he knew how to direct it, and where the leaks would be. He did a nice job of it.

"Talking with (RB coach) Wilbert (Montgomery), he didn't want a guy coming free on the quarterback, and he was concerned that with Steven, with some of the things they were doing, it could happen. Some things happened, protection wise, that was so uncharacteristic of how we deal with blitzing."

Unbelievably, the Rams still have a shot at the division title with two wins and a Seattle loss in the final two weeks.

The Rams are being cautiously optimistic about T Kyle Turley's possible return next season. Turley has said he plans on returning, and while that would solve a lot of the teams' line woes, his 70-pound weight loss concerns the team enough that they may draft a tackle early in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Next Game: vs. Philadelphia, December 27th

San Francisco – Even though he stated to his players that he would not be taking the University of Mississippi head coaching spot, head coach Dennis Erickson may not be staying in the Bay area after the season ends.

One sticking point in whether he is retained or not may come down to his assistant coaches. Front office people, including owner Denise DeBartoloYork, want some of the coaches gone, but Erickson has made it clear it would be difficult to release any of his assistants.

On the field, it is becoming more and more obvious that Ken Dorsey will never be a starter in the NFL. He continues to make poor decisions and his arm strength leaves a lot to be desired. He also holds the ball too long resulting in tipped passes and dying-quails that are easily intercepted and converted into points.

Against an aggressive Washington defense, Dorsey completed 20 of 38 passes for 206 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions.

"Defensively, time after time after time, we kept ourselves in the football game," 49ers coach Dennis Erickson said. "We just didn't make the plays we needed to, throwing the football."

No one questions Dorsey's toughness, but watch for rookie QB Cody Pickett to make a move during the summer to supplant the former Hurricane as the number two quarterback.

Next Game: vs. Buffalo, December 26th

.NET Reporter Scott Eklund writes for Seahawks.NET every week. Feel free to contact him at Top Stories