Cardinals keep defeat in perspective

September, 28, 2008
9/28/08
7:19
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Brett Favre tossed a career-high six touchdown passes. Kurt Warner racked up 472 yards. The New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals combined for 91 points.

 
 Chris McGrath/Getty Images
 Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin lays on the field after colliding heavily with Eric Smith Jets in the fourth quarter. He was taken off the field on a stretcher.

None of it mattered as medics strapped Anquan Boldin to a board before loading the fallen Cardinals receiver into an ambulance.

Teammate Darnell Dockett turned away, only to see an image more powerful still: Boldin's son, Anquan Jr., was watching from the Meadowlands stands.

"That was tough for me," Dockett said. "I have kids, too. Again, I just hope everything will be all right."

Initial indications brought hope. Boldin, injured with 27 seconds remaining in the Jets' eventual 56-35 victory Sunday, was said to be conscious and moving.

"It's the only thing on my mind right now," Warner said. "We just pray and believe he is going to be back safely. It was scary, a scary play, a scary part of this business and I can't get it out of my mind."

The frightening finish capped a game with enough angles to fill notebooks and record books alike:

1. The Favre factor.

The Green Bay legend needed only four games in New York to tie Joe Namath's single-game team record for touchdown passes. Favre threw three to Laveranues Coles, two to Jerricho Cotchery and one to rookie tight end Dustin Keller.

Favre rattled the Cardinals and never backed off.

"It got to the point where we were all trying to do too much," Cardinals cornerback Eric Green said. "They were running the ball, they kept throwing screens on us. I'm speaking for myself: I was doing a lot of guessing, trying to play safety, corner and nickel at the same time. I can't do that."

Favre welcomed rookie cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to the NFL with a 2-yard scoring pass to Coles in the second quarter.

"His balls come a lot faster," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "I ain't seen no balls like that. Kurt's ball gets there, but not like that. It messed with me a little bit as far as my technique. I played cautious."

2. The see-saw effect.

The score was 0-0 after the first quarter. The Jets led 34-0 at halftime. Arizona scored 21 unanswered points in the third quarter.

Arizona got the score as close as 34-21, 41-28 and 48-35.

"I'm proud of this team and the way we battled today, especially after last week [losing at San Diego on Monday night]," Favre said. "We knew the offense could score a lot of points. I think it shows the potential of what this team has."

The 91 combined points were the third-most in a Jets game, even going back to the AFL days.

3. The road trip.

Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt, eager to help his team reverse its problems on the road, bet big on a weeklong stay on the East Coast. His reward: an 0-2 record with losses to the Jets and Washington Redskins.

"We have to learn how to handle things when they don't go well," Whisenhunt said. "That is a young team, but that is no excuse. We have to play better than that to have a chance to win our division or get to the playoffs."

4. Good Kurt, bad Kurt.

The Cardinals won their first two games this season largely because Warner did not commit a turnover.

An interception against the Redskins turned that Week 3 game against Arizona. Against the Jets, Warner tossed three interceptions and lost three fumbles.

The Cardinals needed better from him. They were going to have to win this game on offense. A hamstring injury turned their best defensive player, strong safety Adrian Wilson, into a last-minute scratch. Pass-rusher Bert Berry also missed the game, one reason Favre had so much time.

Whisenhunt blamed poor pass protection for most of Warner's problems. Warner wasn't blameless. This was the ninth game of his career with four or more turnovers. Warner's teams are 0-9 in those games.

The good news for Arizona: Warner has never had more than four turnovers in a game twice in a season.

5. What it means.

The Jets head into their bye week with momentum. The Cardinals head home to face the resurgent Buffalo Bills, followed by a game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Boldin's injury changed the Cardinals' outlook. A definitive prognosis eluded them, but the memory of this game will not.

"You remember the feeling," Dockett said. "Going [against] the Jets, them putting up a lot of points on us and one of your best warriors gets knocked out. And if that don't fire you up for the next game, I don't know what will. "

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