The Week Six NFC West Brief

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 09: Vernon Davis #85 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates with head coach Jim Harbaugh after scoring a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the third quarter of an NFL football game at Candlestick Park on October 9, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The 49ers won the game 48-3. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

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The Rams had a bye and remain winless. They also remain, by consensus, one of the worst, if not the worst, team in the NFL. The Cardinals lost again, this week at Minnesota, and appear to be unraveling.

On the other end of the spectrum, both the Seahawks and 49ers got big wins this weekend. The Niners absolutely annihilated the Buccaneers - something that I really didn't see happening -- and are now the runaway favorites to win the division. It really makes you wonder about that Week One matchup that the Seahawks let get away from them care of Ted Ginn. Had the Seahawks won that one, this division might look a lot different. Oh well.

Let's take a look at what the people that know these teams best are saying.

St Louis Rams:

A House of Cards in a Windy Room - A Look at the Rams: Part 1 - Turf Show Times
Are the St. Louis Rams really as bad as their record portends? An 0-4 record to finish out the first quarter of the 2011 NFL season doesn't exactly suggest a Super Bowl appearance will be in the Rams future any time soon. So what has happened to this team? Virtually every "know it all" in the football biz considered the Rams to be on the cusp of being a contender for at least the NFC West championship. Somehow, those preseason predictions have faded, and are now replaced with thoughts of dark days past for a NFL franchise that has seen it share of woes when it comes to the win column.

A House of Cards in a Windy Room - A Look at the St. Louis Rams: Part 2 - Turf Show Times
  An NFL football team is all about the "pieces-parts". Each team is built from the ground up with a football philosophy fairly unique to each NFL franchise. It's why many teams have a legacy of extrordinary players at certain positions. The Chicago Bears are synonymous with great linebackers. The mere mention of the Baltimore Ravens brings "Great defense" to mind. The Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys have had some of the most famous quarterbacks in NFL history. The St. Louis Rams? Believe it or not, the Rams are famous for offensive tackles and great offensive and defensive lines as a whole.

A House of Cards in a Windy Room - A Look at the St. Louis Rams: Part 3 - Turf Show Times
So you wake up one day to find yourself the proud owner of an NFL franchise?  What do you do first? Well, for me, since it had to be a Genie granting me a deep seeded wish and not the $1.83 in my 401K that gave me ownership of, let's say, the St. Louis Rams, I'd hope I don't crack my head open when I faint.

A House of Cards in a Windy Room - A Look at the St. Louis Rams: Part 4 - Turf Show Times
... So today we'll take a look at a few players and a couple of positions that stir both joy and emotional vitriol in Rams fans. The logical place to start is with a position that has come under a bit of heat of late. OK, maybe more than a little heat? That's right, we're going to take a gander at the Rams wide receivers and to get that stomach acid churning right out the gate, I threw together a little comparison chart. The stats are courtesy of NFL.com and ESPN.com... 

Sam Bradford Also Struggling With The Fundamentals - Turf Show Times
Improving the fundamentals is an oft-cited cliche of struggling professional sports teams. Of course, having watched the St. Louis Rams stumble their way through a full quarter of the 2011 season, I think we can all agree that the fundamentals have been sorely lacking.

St. Louis Rams Roundtable: Biggest Disappointment In The Rams' 0-4 Start - Turf Show Times
The St. Louis Rams are coming off their bye week. The bye week came at a great time for this team, being 0-4 and losing in the way the team has been is concerning. The Rams have added too many vets to perform the way they have been performing.

San Francisco 49ers

49ers Offensive Line Makes Road Kill Of Bucs Front Seven - Niners Nation
Much has been made of the 49ers offensive line and its struggles across the board. Whether it be running game struggles prior to last week, or general struggles getting Alex Smith time to get off throws, the most consistent "complaint" about the team has been the offensive line. That was not the case on Sunday.

49ers Thrash Bucs In Every Conceivable Way: A Look at Some of the Numbers - Niners Nation
The 49ers absolutely destroyed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday afternoon and if you didn't believe your eyes, the stats back it up. The 49ers are off to their first 4-1 record since 2002 (they lost game number six) and the numbers really do back up the performances to date.

How Will Coach Jim Harbaugh Handle Potential Overconfidence? - Niners Nation
49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh chatted with the media yesterday and again hit a couple high notes but didn't get into many specifics. He is a hard nut to crack, but the victories are coming by a combination of execution and great game-planning and he more or less said that with his comments. The players and coaches are coming together and taking care of business. It's pretty simple and Harbaugh is not going to give away any game-planning secrets, so we get fairly basic press conferences. I can live with that.

49ers vs. Buccaneers: Carlos Rogers Turns The Game Around - Niners Nation
Last week when the 49ers came back to beat the Philadelphia Eagles, an argument could be made that Justin Smith had the single most important play of the game when he stripped Jeremy Maclin.The Eagles were trailing but were driving into 49ers territory and were closing in on field goal territory, trailing by only one point. It ended the Eagles last second hopes and secured the victory.

Re-Focused - Buccaneers @ 49ers, Week 5 | ProFootballFocus.com
Have you ever had a day where nothing would go right? If you have then you can probably have some kind of understanding of the day that Tampa Bay had against the 49ers on Sunday. Except their day came with the added bonus of being hit a lot. The 9ers cruised to a 48-3 victory without really having to extend themselves. Tampa Bay couldn’t get anything going on either side of the ball and failed to seize the few chances that did end up coming their way. The sheer disparity of the score line will mean that Tampa fans shouldn’t get too worried – sometimes games like that just happen – and they’ll likely come back with a much better performance next week. Similarly the 49ers shouldn’t get too carried away, they were far from perfect, but their standing atop the NFC West will be pleasing to see, and they are well set up to take the division.

Arizona Cardinals:

5 Positives From Arizona Cardinals Loss To Minnesota Vikings - Revenge of the Birds
So...yeah. The Arizona Cardinals were embarrassed 31-10 on Sunday. It would be understandable to think that there is not a single thing that we could find that could possibly be seen as a positive. That would be why this is later than normal.  So here we go and try to find the good things we can take from the loss. 

Blame The Arizona Cardinals Coaches For Loss To Minnesota Vikings - Revenge of the Birds
The Arizona Cardinals are now 1-4. The Minnesota Vikings scored 28 points in the first quarter of the game, 21 of those points can be credited to the offense not getting started due to a lack of protection (more on that later), and seven of those points are credited to the defense not being able to stop an offense that is centered around one player, Adrian Peterson.  I know there will be an argument that 21 points, or all 28, should be credited to the defense and the inability to stop AP. But I blame the offense for giving very short fields and turning over the ball being the reason the defense was in those position. So what was the breakdown? Why did this happen? Let's be rational and identify what went wrong.

The Cardinals Have Struggled This Season, Should We Be Surprised? - Revenge of the Birds
Expectations were pretty high for the Cardinals going into the season around here. The Cardinals brought in Kevin Kolb from Philadelphia, the Tight End position as a whole was vastly upgraded with Todd Heap and Jeff King along with the drafting of Rob Housler, Ray Horton was supposed to bring the model that made the Steelers defense so successful for the last several years, and the Cardinals drafted Patrick Peterson who many people considered to be the best player in the entire NFL Draft.

Re-Focused - Cardinals @ Vikings, Week 5 | ProFootballFocus.com
After a fast start by Adrian Peterson this game descended in to somewhat of a farce. The Minnesota Vikings capitalized on early errors by the Arizona Cardinals to establish a big lead and for the first time this season the Vikings kept hold of a double digit half time lead. However it’s the performance of both team that raises the most pertinent questions, particularly as we try to decide whether Minnesota actually held the lead or Arizona were simply too inept to reel the Vikings in. As well as the Vikings’ defense played, they weren’t exactly challenged by a Cardinals’ offense displaying the issues which have become their hallmark. Indeed it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that by the end of this game both teams seemed to be firmly in reverse. Still, it provides plenty of ammunition when it comes to focusing on some individual performances.

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