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Wednesday, December 15, 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. Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks QB. Four INTs against San Francisco gave Hasselbeck eight picks in his last three games. The Seahawks probably wouldn't have beaten the 49ers even with a more efficient performance, but a little more regard for the football could have kept Seattle in the game. Another poor finish will not help Hasselbeck's long-term prospects, either. He has no contract for 2011.

2. Ted Ginn Jr., 49ers WR. Ginn impressed during training camp by repeatedly making catches deep downfield. It hasn't translated to the regular season. Two dropped passes during a three-play stretch against Seattle killed one 49ers drive. Ginn gained 3 yards on his only punt return.

3. Seattle's tackling. Coach Pete Carroll initially tried to blame poor footing at Candlestick Park as a factor contributing to the Seahawks' consistently horrendous tackling Sunday. That was a stretch. Lawyer Milloy bounced off Vernon Davis. Marcus Trufant missed Josh Morgan, allowing a touchdown. Earl Thomas missed Brian Westbrook, allowing a 62-yard touchdown. On and on it went.

Alex Smith
Alex Smith tossed three touchdown passes in the 49ers' victory over Seattle.
RISING

1. Alex Smith, 49ers QB. Three TD passes without an INT helped the 49ers cruise past the Seahawks in a game San Francisco needed to win. Coach Mike Singletary used the word "decent" to describe Smith's performance, but that was underselling one of the better performances of the quarterback's career.

2. Adrian Wilson, Cardinals SS. Arizona coaches credited Wilson with 13 tackles, putting him over 100 in a season for the third time in his career and the first time since 2005. Rookie linebacker Daryl Washington would have earned a spot on the list if he hadn't fumbled short of the end zone while celebrating an interception return.

3. Tim Hightower, Cardinals RB. The 49ers' Westbrook deserves a mention here, too, after coming through with a 62-yard scoring catch and key contributions as a pass protector. Hightower trumped him for the third and final spot on the list by finishing with 18 carries for 148 yards and two scores.

Note: Cardinals kicker Jay Feely would have been an obvious choice here. Too obvious, in fact. I decided to spread the wealth after dedicating multiple previous items to Feely's 25-point performance against Denver.