NFC West: rapid reaction 6

Rapid Reaction: Cardinals 30, Cowboys 24

October, 12, 2008

Posted by's Mike Sando

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Cardinals are finally for real.

They needed overtime to prove it, but their 4-2 record and consecutive victories over Buffalo and Dallas left little doubt. This was the victory Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt needed to demonstrate how far his team has progressed.

Previous road losses to the Redskins and Jets raised questions, but the Cardinals answered them with two impressive victories heading into their bye.

Arizona didn't get many breaks in this game. The officiating worked against them repeatedly. They lost cornerback Rod Hood, who had been defending Terrell Owens.

They even lost the coin toss to begin overtime.

But they still found a way to win when Sean Morey blocked a Cowboys punt and Monty Beisel ran it in for the decisive points. The Cardinals will have a hard time losing their division lead after the Seahawks and 49ers lost again.

Rapid Reaction: Rams 19, Redskins 17

October, 12, 2008

Posted by's Mike Sando

The Rams' upset victory over the Redskins at FedEx Field gave new coach Jim Haslett the victory he needed to rebuild the team's confidence and restore quarterback Marc Bulger.

The feeling before the game was that St. Louis needed to perform well enough, even in defeat, to suggest things might be different with Haslett taking over for the fired Scott Linehan.

This outcome was better than anything the Rams could have imagined. Bulger, benched by Linehan in a desperation move, bounced back from a hard hit and made a critical throw to rookie Donnie Avery to set up the winning field goal.

Josh Brown, the Rams' marquee addition in free agency, bailed out hot-headed guard Richie Incognito, whose 15-yard penalty turned a potential chip shot into a 49-yard try. Brown needed to make that kick for the Rams to salvage what's left of their season.

The Rams struggled on offense for much of the game. But they played well enough on defense to keep the game close and give them needed hope.

The Rams, widely regarded as the worst team in the league before this game, might not be the worst team in the division depending on what happens in other games today. That's a huge step forward for Haslett and the organization.