Around the NFC West: Cardinals escape

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says Cardinals fans are going to be in for a tough season even if things go right. Somers: "The Cardinals have done it in an ugly way, but isn't 2-1 where most of us thought they would be after three games? They will be ahead of my predicted pace if they win one of the next two and go into the off weekend at least 3-2. Only two of the final 11 opponents made the playoffs last year. Of course, the Cardinals aren't scaring anyone with the way they're playing." Beanie Wells' performance gives the Cardinals some hope. Perhaps the team can build an offensive identity around him.

Also from Somers, with Bob McManaman: An Arizona man won a free home thanks in part to the Raiders' decision to defer possession.

Also from McManaman: Sebastian Janikowski's missed field goal try -- the last one -- shocked the Raiders.

More from Somers: Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt says the team will be "pretty good" at some point this season after working through some of its current issues. Whisenhunt on having Wells back: "It was definitely a little bit of a different tempo when Beanie was in there. When the big guy gets rolling, you can definitely feel it down there."

Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals must fix their offense to contend. On Larry Fitzgerald: "It's clear he is frustrated. After catching (Derek) Anderson's 8-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, Fitzgerald charged over to Whisenhunt and bear-hugged him. The strain of the quarterback failing to capitalize on the talents of an All-Pro receiver has lingered, and many have wondered what it would become. Not much, apparently. After the game, Fitzgerald's dad, Larry Sr., enjoyed a light conversation with Anderson in the locker room and a few minutes later, the coach and Anderson seemed to be engaged in a thoughtful rehash of the day's events."

Also from Boivin: a look at the Raiders' final missed field goal try, set up by the pass Steve Breaston dropped.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says LaRod Stephens-Howling's kickoff return for a touchdown was critical for Arizona. But there were some shaky moments on special teams for the Cardinals.

Also from Urban: The Cardinals will be in "great shape" if Beanie Wells runs the way he did Sunday. Urban: "Is it enough to offset Anderson’s issues? Hopefully."

More from Urban: The Cardinals' defense was at its best in the red zone. Joey Porter: "The guys played with a lot of emotion today. That can take us a long way. I think we’ve been missing that the last couple of weeks."

More yet from Urban: Fitzgerald summed up the Cardinals' victory this way: "We escaped and we got lucky, but a win is a win."