Wednesday, July 28

Battista: Cardinals catch up with Seahawks, Rams in wild NFC West –

The Rams, in second place, beat the Seahawks with a balanced offensive attack and with almost even distribution among a trio of running backs. And they play hellacious defense, entering the game as the league’s second-ranked defense. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey spent most of his time shadowing receiver DK Metcalf, Seattle’s leading receiver. He was not targeted at all in the first half and finished with just two receptions. And Williams had both of the Rams’ interceptions and three passes broken up.

“We strive for perfection and in hopes of not getting perfection, we still reach elite level defensive play,” Ramsey said.

There are two things that can stop the Rams: Injuries, like the one that caused left tackle Andrew Whitworth to leave the game on a cart and a difficult second-half schedule, the hardest of the three NFC West contenders. The Rams go to Tampa — their fifth cross-country trip this season — for a Monday night game against the Bucs in Week 11. In addition to games against the Patriots and Seahawks, the Rams still have to play the Cardinals twice.

About the Cardinals. They are in first place by a sliver, but much like the Seahawks, are nearly completely dependent on their quarterback conjuring magic. Fortunately, Murray does that often. As jaw-dropping as Hopkins’ reception was, Murray’s pass was just as spectacular. He was off-balance when he threw it and he put it in the perfect spot. The Cardinals entered the game with the second-ranked rushing offense, and while Murray was the team’s leading rusher, it was Kenyan Drake who had a 100-yard game Sunday, as part of 217 rushing yards for the Cardinals.

Still, the Cardinals suddenly overtaking the Seahawks in the NFC West is almost as startling as Murray’s desperation pass.

“I kept asking our guys, ‘Did he catch it?'” coach Kliff Kingsbury said.

Hopkins did. And the Cardinals have caught the rest of the division, too.

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