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Wednesday, December 1, 2010
How I See It: NFC West Stock Watch

By Mike Sando

NFC Stock Watch: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

FALLING

1. Derek Anderson, Cardinals QB. Cue the video. Briefly laughing on the sideline during a blowout defeat wasn't nearly as bad as Anderson's reaction to questioning on the matter. Now there's a guy you'd better not cut off in traffic.

2. Pete Carroll, Seahawks coach. The team has rebuilt its roster before without losing consecutive home games by a combined 52 points (41-7 to the New York Giants and 42-24 to Kansas City). Only Carolina has lost consecutive home games by more points this season (65). Carroll's philosophy to "always compete" seemed to take a hit when the team knelt on the ball to run out the clock during its 18-point surrender to Kansas City. Before this season, the team had allowed 40-plus points at home only once during the regular season since Qwest Field opened in 2002.

3. Ken Whisenhunt, Cardinals coach. Losing at home by double-digit margins to average or below-average division rivals will drag down any coach's stock. Seattle and San Francisco have beaten the Cardinals by a combined 39 points in Arizona's past two home games. Arizona has lost six in a row overall. Four of the six defeats came against teams that currently have losing records. There are no indications the Cardinals have hit bottom. If Whisenhunt had the ability to stop this free-fall, he would have done it by now.

RISING

1. Brian Westbrook, 49ers RB. The 49ers did not view Westbrook as an every-down injury replacement for Frank Gore when they signed him. Westbrook ran effectively enough during a 27-6 victory at Arizona to command a full workload. Twenty-three carries for 136 yards showed Westbrook was ready when called upon. That one performance justified the decision to sign Westbrook.

Sam Bradford
Sam Bradford threw for 308 yards and three scores in the Rams' win over the Broncos.
2. Sam Bradford, Rams QB. Bradford's stock was already high, but its value shot up outside the St. Louis market when the Rams' rookie quarterback led the team to its first road victory of the season. Rams fans won't tire of reading about how Bradford became the first rookie in NFL history to throw for at least 300 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in a road victory.

3. Chris Long, Rams DE. Long came through with two pivotal plays when the Rams needed them most in Denver. A double-digit lead was down to three points when Denver took over possession with one last shot to force overtime or win the game. Long's first-down sack and fourth-down quarterback hit helped St. Louis take a significant step.