NFL Nation: Rapid Reaction NFC 17

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Cardinals' performance against the Seahawks sent mixed messages about the team's playoff readiness.

Kurt Warner tossed four touchdown passes. Edgerrin James reached 100 yards rushing. Larry Fitzgerald demonstrated his ability to make huge plays deep downfield.

But some of the Cardinals' familiar problems dogged them in this game, particularly early. Warner took punishment early and and appeared uncomfortable, including when he threw an interception in Cardinals territory right before halftime (update: a miscommunication with the running back explained this miscue).

The defense struggled to stop the Seahawks' running game for stretches even though Seattle was playing with five backups on its offensive line. Bone-headed penalties, long a problem for the Cardinals, also hurt Arizona.

But with a 9-7 record and a date with Atlanta in the wild-card round, the Cardinals can feel better about themselves after a brutal late-season stretch.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The 49ers' second spirited comeback in as many games left little doubt about Mike Singletary's status as head coach for the 2009 season.

The future appeared brighter Sunday with young receivers Jason Hill and Josh Morgan making important receptions and Shaun Hill providing another gritty if sometimes unsightly performance.

If team president Jed York's pregame vote of confidence for Singletary weren't enough evidence of the 49ers' plans, their last-second victory over the Redskins should clear up any indecision.

The 49ers have become a smarter team under Singletary on both sides of the ball. They also proved they could finish games, a huge improvement from their early-season struggles in that area.

Singletary still must prove himself over the long haul. But in leading the 49ers from 2-5 under Mike Nolan to 7-9 for the season, including 5-3 over the final eight games, the decision should be an easy one for York and the organization.

Update: The 49ers confirmed Singletary's status as head coach beyond this season.

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Another close defeat left the Rams with a 2-14 record, arming Billy Devaney with ample draft capital as the newly named general manager looks to rebuild the roster.

The Rams played hard for interim coach Jim Haslett, continuing a recent trend, but 10 consecutive defeats to end the season will not help Haslett when the team decides on a coach for 2009 and beyond.

The Rams are expected to include Haslett in the interview process. Devaney will presumably look outside the organization in putting his stamp on the franchise.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Insider