Cardinals 34, Rams 13: Cards Own West, Hightower Takes Edge's Job

How did you enjoy the Edgerrin James era? That's past tense for a reason, because in one week the torch was emphatically passed. We figured it might happen this week, but not like this. Not only did rookie Tim Hightower steal Edge's job, he was handed 22 carries to Edge's zero. That's right, not even in trash time of a blowout victory did Edge see the field. J.J. Arrington even had 11 touches.

The other main story-line was the Cardinals seizing a major lockdown of the NFC West. Had the Rams won this game, they'd have only trailed the Cards by a game ... sporting the head-to-head win and facing the Jets and Niners the next two games. This really would have been a divisional battle had the Rams held serve at home. They even stormed out of the gate with a 7-0 lead after one quarter, courtesy of an 80 yard bomb from Marc Bulger to Derek Stanley -- much to the chagrin of Torry Holt and Donnie Avery fantasy football owners.

Thoughts of the Rams going from most maligned team in the NFL to division challenger in the span of four weeks evaporated into thin air during the second quarter. Antrel Rolle took a Bulger pass to the house, and then Hightower took over.

The rookie from Richmond -- the Spiders, which is a really cool team name -- broke a 30 yard touchdown. Last time Edge had a 30 yard run? October 23, 2005 against the Houston Texans. He was playing for the Colts. So the Cards hadn't enjoyed a run this long from their high-priced feature back and got one in the first start from their fifth round pick. Edge had only averaged 3.5 yards per carry this season, and Hightower averaged a sliver less than five today. I knew the offensive line wasn't that poor at run blocking. Edge is just done. Too much tread on the tires, so it was the perfect time to pass the torch to a talented young runner.

A major storyline from the Rams' side of things was the non-existence of the running game. Stud RB Steven Jackson played, but was obviously hampered due to his injury. He only carried the ball seven times for a measly 17 yards. Antonio Pittman was less productive, gaining only 12 yards on 10 carries. Jackson was booed by the home crowd after dropping a touchdown pass in the third quarter. I am generally against booing easily your best player, but I guess you could easily defend the fans by saying they were booing the play and not Jackson ... especially since his hands aren't what was injured.

As the dust settles, we see the Cardinals with an absolutely commanding three game lead in the abominable NFC West. The Niners, Rams, and Seahawks are all 2-6 and have all been outscored by at least 61 points on the season. This easily the worst division in the NFL and arguably one of the worst in recent memory. I mean, Arizona's only 3-3 outside the division.

I bet you won't see the post-season starved Cardinals complaining.

Cardinals 34, Rams 13: Cards Own West, Hightower Takes Edge's Job originally appeared on NFL FanHouse on Sun, 02 Nov 2008 22:20:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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