Around the NFC West: Cardinals finish

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals have found their way on the road this season. Coach Ken Whisenhunt: "I don't want to get too wrapped up. It's only five games into the season. What I am excited about is that we are playing better football. What's important is for us to continue to build off of that."

Also from Somers: Whisenhunt says the Cardinals passed three times in a row late in the game because the team wanted to give future opponents additional plays for which to prepare. Stat-padding certainly was not a priority. Larry Fitzgerald just happened to match his career high with 13 receptions. Fitzgerald just happened to reach 100 yards exactly. Sort of the way Steve Breaston just happened to reach 1,000 yards with a couple of late receptions in the final minutes of the 2008 regular season.

Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals played like a Super Bowl contender. Bickley: "Finally, a football game without regrets and a football team that played hard for four quarters. The offense was sharp, the defense was sinister and the coaching was brilliant. Better yet, after a 27-3 pasting of the Seahawks, the visiting team didn't even feel the need to celebrate. For the first time all season, the Cardinals seemed comfortable wearing the title belt of defending NFC champions."

Also from Bickley: Recovering a pooch kickoff in the first quarter served as a key play for Arizona.

Scott Bordow of the East Valley Tribune singles out Calais Campbell as one of the Cardinals' most impressive players on defense Sunday.

Also from Bordow: Arizona put the hurt on Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who appeared to be in self-preservation mode by game's end.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says the Cardinals' opening drive changed the game in Arizona's favor. Urban: "What must the 49ers -- like the Cards now 3-2 after spending Sunday on the bye -- thought after watching what the Cardinals had on display in Seattle? The Cardinals have, since early September, regretted the way they came out in the season opener, unable to close out the Niners. The what-ifs from that game have plagued this team and probably will sit in the back of their minds until they get a trip to San Francisco later this year to try and even the series."

Also from Urban: The Arizona defense never let Seattle breathe.

More from Urban: The Cardinals showed they could finish.