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NFC West Report: Rams, Cardinals Cut from Race

*In this edition of the Playoffs Report, recaps Wild Card weekend.
San Francisco's 23-20 victory over the Green Bay Packers was one of three postseason openers decided by three or fewer points. The **inimitable** dualityof Colin Kaepernick andthe sure handsof Michael Crabtree,plus Phil Dawson'sgame-winning field goalto set the 49ers up for their narrow victoryto line up a Carolina Panthers rematch. clarifies the entire postseason picture here. In the meantime, back to Wild Card Weekend

St. Louis Rams

Decision: 27-9 defeat to the Seattle Seahawks.

Offense: Without left tackle Jake Long, who tore two knee ligaments in Week 16, St. Louis managed just 13 rushing yards.

Defense: Defensive end Robert Quinn notched one more sack, giving him an NFC-high 19 for the season.

Stock up:Punter Johnny Hekker broke an NFL record for a single-season net average, with 44.2. 

Stat: The Rams were penalized 12 times for 87 yards, including four personal foul infractions.

Quote:"We played a real good football team today and didn't play well," coach Jeff Fisher told "We've still got a lot of work to do to come up here in Week 17 and beat the Seahawks."

Ahead: St. Louis fell short of the playoffs for a ninth straight year.



Arizona Cardinals

Decision:23-20 defeat to the 49ers.

Offense: After being behind 17-0, the Cardinals charged back to tie the score at 17 on Andre Roberts' 34-yard touchdown catch with 3:20 left.

Defense: The front seven limited San Francisco running back Frank Gore to 14 yards on 13 carries.

Stat: The Cards have dropped four straight (and nine of its last 10) games against the 49ers.

Quote: "There are a lot of things I learned as the season went on," quarterback Carson Palmer told "There are a lot of experiences within certain plays and within certain protections for sure I kind of figured out, and there are things you don't figure out sitting in a classroom and it being drawn up on a chalkboard. There are things you experience. This offense is something that can be very dangerous going into year two."

Ahead: Arizona narrowly missed out on the playoffs for a fourth consecutive year.

Seattle Seahawks

Decision:27-9 victory over the St. Louis Rams.

Offense: Wideout Golden Tate continued to do what many expected Percy Harvin would, establishing career highs with eight catches and 129 yards.

Defense: Linebacker Malcolm Smith's 37-yard pick-six gave Seattle a headstart in the opening quarter.

Stat:The defense finished with an NFL-high 28 interceptions, including two off Rams quarterback Kellen Clemens on Sunday.

Quote: "The effort was really Seahawks football," coach Pete Carroll told "It was really like we like it. Great defense today, and we just kept sticking the running game at them until we got what we needed done."

Ahead: With the win, Seattle clinched a first-round bye as well as home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.


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