REPORT CARD VS. BEARS
PASSING OFFENSE: D -- QB Matt Hasselbeck tossed two ill-advised interceptions in the first half. This was a classic case of a quarterback trying to do too much. Yes, the Seahawks were without RB Shaun Alexander. Yes, the Bears have a tough defense. But this was no time for Hasselbeck to play the way he might have years ago. Those interceptions, coupled with a few drops, left Hasselbeck with his second-lowest passer rating as a starter. Five sacks hurt, too.
RUSHING OFFENSE: D -- The Seahawks struggled to run the ball because their offensive line didn't get enough push. RB Shaun Alexander wasn't available for this game, but his absence was largely irrelevant.
PASS DEFENSE: D -- CB Kelly Herndon and CB Marcus Trufant gave up several big plays, but it wasn't all their fault. Seattle's pass defense entered the game without nickel CB Jordan Babineaux, and the defense weakened further when SS Michael Boulware left the game with a concussion. The pass rush struggled as well. Seattle's small, quick pass rushers had problems against the Bears' bigger front. The Bears stoned a safety blitz on third-and-6 as they kept alive their opening touchdown drive, a sign of things to come.
RUSH DEFENSE: D -- The Bears hadn't run the ball well all season, but they got the ground game going after jumping to a big early lead on the strength of two turnovers. RB Thomas Jones and RB Cedric Benson combined for 35 carries, 135 yards and two rushing TDs. Seattle DT Craig Terrill's missed tackle near the line of scrimmage allowed Jones to break free for a 29-yard run, part of a 10-play, 65-yard TD drive.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- Seattle allowed a 26-yard punt return and a 32-yard kick return while putting up mediocre return numbers of its own (3.0 yards per punt return and 23.9 yards per kick return). P Ryan Plackemeier suffered two touchbacks on his way to a 32.5-yard net average, a full 8.5 yards less than the Bears' 41-yard net.
COACHING: D -- The Seahawks were banged up and it showed, but that was no excuse for failing to be competitive. Coach Mike Holmgren eventually tried to move the pocket to keep Hasselbeck in one piece, but it wasn't enough. The defensive plan had no chance because the execution was so poor. This loss had less to do with scheme than simply not having the players ready to compete against an NFC contender on a national stage. =================
REPORT CARD VS. FALCONS
PASSING OFFENSE: F -- The Cardinals gave up four sacks and had two passes intercepted, including one that was returned for a touchdown. Receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin combined for just 7 receptions and 108 yards.
RUSH OFFENSE: F -- Edgerrin James rushed for 41 yards on 20 carries and two of his first three runs went for minus yardage.
PASS DEFENSE: B -- The Falcons passed for just 143 yards, and the Cardinals returned an interception 99 yards for a touchdown.
RUSH DEFENSE: D -- The Falcons had two 100-yard rushers, and the Cardinals gave up a 78-yard touchdown run.
SPECIAL TEAMS: D -- The kickoff return team was horrible, and the Falcons returned a punt 41 yards to set up a field goal. The Cardinals return teams produced nothing.
COACHING: D -- The Cardinals are 1-3 for the third straight year under Dennis Green. The offensive line doesn't look any better, and now the club is going with a rookie quarterback.
ST. LOUIS RAMS
REPORT CARD VS. LIONS
PASSING OFFENSE: A -- QB Marc Bulger passed for 328 yards, three touchdowns and had a passer rating of 110.0. Most important, Bulger showed outstanding pocket awareness, stepping up to avoid the rush, and hitting checkdowns when needed. RB Steven Jackson had six receptions for 65 yards. WRs Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce each had at least 100 yards receiving and rookie TE Joe Klopfenstein scored the first touchdown of his career. In the red zone, Bulger completed five of six passes for 53 yards and all three of his touchdowns.
RUSHING OFFENSE: B -- Against a tough run defense, Steven Jackson and Stephen Davis combined for 26 rushes and 107 yards, and got mostly positive yardage, creating manageable down and distance situations. Jackson had 22 carries for 81 yards, and reached 20 attempts for the fourth straight game. He scored his first touchdown of the season.
PASS DEFENSE: B-minus -- Blitzes generally weren't effective, and the pass defense had issues. However, QB Jon Kitna's 29 completions averaged less than 10 yards (9.7), and two interceptions were crucial. When needed, at the end of the game, the defense got some pressure and stopped the Lions.
RUSH DEFENSE: B -- Save a 35-yard touchdown run by Kevin Jones on 3rd-and-1, the run defense was solid. Even with that run, Jones totaled just 93 yards on 19 rushes. On his other 18 attempts, Jones gained 58 yards.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C-minus -- The kickoff coverage had no answer for Eddie Drummond except for two Jeff Wilkins late touchbacks. Drummond had six returns for 210 yards, an average of 35.0, and he had a 65-yard return. Give rookie cornerback Tye Hill credit, though. He had three tackles on Drummond, bringing him down from behind and preventing further damage because of his great speed. The punting and punt coverage was good, the Rams return game got little done. Jeff Wilkins had another four field goals, but a late miss from 47 yards (after he had made kicks from 42, 46 and 47) prevented the Rams from gaining as 10-point lead with 47 seconds remaining.
COACHING: B-plus -- Except for getting somewhat out of control on several occasions with the officials, Scott Linehan had his best day as a head coach, as his offense finally got on track.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
REPORT CARD VS. CHIEFS
PASSING OFFENSE: F -- The 49ers' offense, which had taken some large strides since last season, looked absolutely punch-less in the 41-0 loss. Alex Smith completed 15 of 23 passes for 92 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. He was also sacked five times for 20 yards and forced to scramble from the pocket on three run plays and threw away several passes because of pressure. It was not a good day for RT Kwame Harris or LT Jonas Jennings, both of whom struggled in pass protection.
RUSHING OFFENSE: D-minus -- The 49ers were able to get some yards on the ground, but Frank Gore's first-quarter fumble was a huge downer for a team that wanted desperately to puts some points on the board in a hurry and avoid falling behind by multiple scores early in the game. Gore finished with 65 yards on 14 carries, but his fumble was the fourth time he has lost the ball in four games.
PASS DEFENSE: F -- The 49ers did not get much pressure on Chiefs quarterback Damon Huard. Even when they had some guys come free, they were unable to finish the job on Huard, who was not sacked. CB Shawntae Spencer had a rough game in coverage, biting on receiver Eddie Kennison's double move for a 34-yard touchdown strike. Spencer was also guilty of pass interference in the end zone. Safety Tony Parrish surrendered a 13-yard TD pass to Dante Hall to cap the opening series of the game. Huard finished with a passer rating of 133.3. The third-down defense was especially porous.
RUSH DEFENSE: B-plus -- The 49ers got a lot of helmets to the ball, especially in the first three quarters. Running back Larry Johnson, who was the 49ers' chief concern, was held in check throughout the game. He averaged just 3.4 yards, gaining 101 yards and two short TD runs on 30 carries, including a 28-yard run early in the fourth quarter. Linebacker Derek Smith and defensive end Marques Douglas both excelled in run defense.
SPECIAL TEAMS: F -- The 49ers' coverage units had done a good job on Dante Hall until he broke free on a 60-yard punt return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. But that wasn't the only special-teams breakdown. Maurice Hicks fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half after a long return, and Joe Nedney missed a 51-yard field goal on the final play of the first half.
COACHING: F -- When things go this terribly wrong, it does not reflect well on the coaching staff. Coach Mike Nolan said he detected no signs that something like this could happen to his team. The 49ers were never in the game. The offense, which has been vastly improved, managed just two first downs in the second half. The defense had way too many breakdowns, especially on third downs.