NFC West stock watch

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando


1. Kurt Warner, QB, Cardinals. His bounce-back performance against the Bills silenced misplaced questions about his job security.

2. Clancy Pendergast, defensive coordinator, Cardinals. Arizona's defense played with renewed ferocity after an embarrassing effort against the Jets.

3. Travis LaBoy, DE, Cardinals. Two more sacks against the Bills gave him four for the season. Three more will set a single-season high for the fifth-year veteran. His production offset two penalties for jumping offside.

4. Tim Hightower, RB, Cardinals. He's becoming automatic in short-yardage situations while siphoning carries from mainstay Edgerrin James.

5. Frank Gore, RB, 49ers. The division's top running back showed off his receiving skills against the Patriots. His 16-yard touchdown reception impressed.

6. Adrian Wilson, SS, Cardinals. The league might wind up fining him for striking Bills quarterback Trent Edwards in the head overzealously, but the rest of the play was vintage Wilson. He crept toward the line of scrimmage, leaned outside as if matching up in coverage and then timed his blitz perfectly.

7. Early Doucet, WR, Cardinals. The third-round rookie caught six passes and made a difference on third down.

8. Andy Lee, punter, 49ers. His 82-yard punt traveled more than 100 yards from his foot through the end zone.

9. Isaac Bruce, WR, 49ers. Two more touchdown receptions put him on pace for 13 this season.

10. Bobby Engram, WR, Seahawks. He caught eight passes in his first game back from injury. Expect lots more catches now that Deion Branch is injured again.


1. Seattle's pride. The Seahawks will have a hard time challenging for another division title based on what we saw against the Giants. This team allows big pass plays without making any of its own. Bad combination.

2. 49ers safeties (tie). The 49ers lack speed at safety and it shows. Keith Lewis and Mark Roman are vulnerable down the field.

2. J.T. O'Sullivan, QB, 49ers (tie). We're seeing a pattern here. O'Sullivan is going to make plays for both teams. The 49ers aren't asking him to manage the game and they'll have to live with the consequences. He threw into coverage on the interception to Rodney Harrison instead of throwing outside.

3. Deion Branch, WR, Seahawks. Branch is getting great health care in Seattle, but that wasn't the idea when the Seahawks traded a first-round draft choice to the Patriots before the 2006 season. A heel injury is the latest setback.

4. John Carlson, TE, Seahawks. Coach Mike Holmgren took responsibility for failing to get the talented young tight end involved in the passing game. Look for Carlson to appear on the "up" list next week.

5. Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers. Zero catches against the Patriots? Business as usual, unfortunately. The 49ers spent a top-10 draft choice on a blocking tight end with great speed. One or two big receiving plays per game from Davis would help the offense quite a bit.

6. Seahawks secondary. Holmgren is right when he says cornerback Marcus Trufant is having another strong season. The rest of the secondary remains inconsistent in coverage. More push from the pass rush would certainly help.

7 Matt Hasselbeck, QB, Seahawks. Losing Branch hurt almost as bad as the hyperextended knee Hasselbeck suffered early against the Giants. Hasselbeck is gutting it out, but he can't get a break. Not his year so far.

8. Mike Nolan, 49ers coach. The defense he built and coached failed to meet expectations against the Patriots. The inability to prevail on third down remained a problem.

9. Lofa Tatupu, MLB, Seahawks. The Giants overpowered Seattle's undersized defense. Tatupu wasn't the only Seattle player missing tackles, but he was the most prominent one.

10. Walt Harris, CB, 49ers. He slipped and took a bad angle on Randy Moss' long touchdown reception.