NFC West: 2010 Week 4 Wrap-ups

Wrap-up: Chargers 41, Cardinals 10

October, 3, 2010
Wrapping up Arizona's 41-10 loss to the San Diego Chargers:

What it means: The Cardinals are 2-2 and tied for the lead in the NFC West, but they've got issues. Major issues. Quarterback issues. Max Hall took over for Derek Anderson in the first half, but the Cardinals still finished with only 124 net yards, by far their lowest total under coach Ken Whisenhunt. The schedule isn't doing Arizona any favors, either. Might Hall make his first start against the defending Super Bowl champs?

Hindsight: What were the Cardinals thinking when Kurt Warner retired? If they liked Matt Leinart, fine. But they ultimately did not like Leinart. They could not develop him. They cut him. They considered pursuing Marc Bulger. They could have made a run for Donovan McNabb. Instead, the Cardinals used a late-round pick for John Skelton before signing Hall as a free agent. It's all good for Arizona if Hall quickly develops. Until then, the Cardinals look like a team with long-term questions, but no viable short-term contingency.

No defense: Arizona needs more from its defense while the team works through its quarterback issues. Chargers tight end Antonio Gates proved unstoppable even though the Cardinals have one Pro Bowl safety (Adrian Wilson) and another big, veteran safety in Kerry Rhodes. A week earlier, Arizona came within a couple of Sebastian Janikowski field goals of allowing 29 points against Oakland. The Cardinals have allowed 419, 364 and 444 yards in their past three games.

What's next: Arizona is home against New Orleans in Week 5.

Wrap-up: Falcons 16, 49ers 14

October, 3, 2010
Wrapping up San Francisco's 16-14 loss to Atlanta:

What it means: The San Francisco 49ers cannot catch a break or finish a game when they're in position to win. They've played New Orleans and now Atlanta tough, only to falter in the end. But they also would emerge from Week 4 only two games out of the NFC West lead if the Arizona Cardinals lose at San Diego later Sunday. The 49ers do need to win a game at some point, obviously, but this defeat sure beat the lackluster effort at Kansas City in Week 3.

What I liked: The 49ers shook off a difficult week and immediately made good on their promises to spread the ball around to their best players on offense. Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis were involved early. Davis' touchdown reception, his first of the season, ended an 88-yard touchdown drive to open the game. The 49ers continued to fight even when their offense struggled.

What I didn't like: 49ers cornerback Nate Clements played a terrific game at times, but his fumble during an interception return needlessly gave the Falcons another chance. This was another example of the 49ers being unable to finish -- whether it's a game or an interception return.

Rookie watch: Rookie safety Taylor Mays made one of the better special-teams plays I can recall when he caught a blocked punt in the back of the end zone and got both feet down inbounds.

What's next: The 49ers return home to face the Philadelphia Eagles.