Big plays for the Cardinals and, yes, Rams

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

SAN FRANCISCO -- A couple of NFC West-related thoughts while the 49ers and Seahawks warm up at Candlestick Park:

  • Calais Campbell steps up. The second-year defensive end is making the Cardinals look smart for letting Antonio Smith leave in free agency. He's been solid on defense and his blocked field goal set up Antrel Rolle's long touchdown return. The Cardinals' offense is still finding its way, but the defense is playing at a high level and Campbell is making an impact wherever the Cardinals use him.

  • Beanie dropping the ball. Beanie Wells' two fumbles have prevented the Cardinals from putting away the Jaguars. Wells looks very good as a runner. He's not going to look as good standing on the sideline. That's where he'll be in crucial situations if he doesn't do a better job holding onto the football.

  • Jackson breaks out. Steven Jackson's 58-yard run against the Redskins marks the first signs of life on offense for the Rams. Marc Bulger followed it with a 2-yard scoring pass to Laurent Robinson for a 7-6 Rams lead at Washington. Getting a road win -- or any kind of win -- early in the season would be huge for the Rams after what happened in Week 1. The Rams were competitive at Seattle and the score was close into the third quarter. Can they finish what they've started at Washington?

If the Rams and Cardinals win on the East Coast, does this make the NFC West a little more respectable? I think so.