Cardinals Cut Losses After Disappointments

For many reasons, the Cardinals were thankful to return home after a disastrous 10-day trip to the East Coast. They lost to the Redskins and the Jets, blowing a chance to win at least three of their first four games for the first time since moving to Arizona in 1988. It could prove to be a critical failure because the schedule becomes much tougher now.

With games against Buffalo and Dallas in the next two weeks the Cardinals could have their backs against the wall.

The Cardinals spent 10 days back East, staying in Northern Virginia after the loss to the Redskins, then taking the train to New Jersey. Coach Ken Whisenhunt figured that avoiding a long return trip home and back East would help the team get off to a faster start against the Jets.

Instead, the Cardinals blew two prime scoring chances early, committed numerous turnovers and gave up 34 points in the second quarter.

But the two losses and the loss of the resulting loss of momentum were secondary reasons for the team to be happy to be home. The over-riding reason was the condition of receiver Anquan Boldin, who took a vicious hit in the final seconds. Boldin was immobilized and carted off the field. He has feelings in all his extremities, and tests at the hospital were negative.

Boldin returned home late Sunday night on team president Michael Bidwill's private plane.

"I'm ready to get home, man," said cornerback Eric Green. "It hasn't been a good two weeks. We came out here, we got two losses. We got to go home and we got to get our heads together."

The Cardinals are a much different team at home than they are on the road. Under Whisenhunt, the Cardinals are 7-2 at home over the last two seasons and 3-8 on the road.

Perhaps at home they will find the answers to their problems. An inconsistent defense, and an offense that can't score touchdowns in the red zone.

NOTES, QUOTES

--The Cardinals weren't upset at the hit Jets safety Eric Smith made on Boldin. Most of the players felt Smith was just playing in the moment and didn't mean to hurt Boldin.

"I don't think there was an intention to hurt anybody," quarterback Kurt Warner said. "It was one of those bang-bang plays. (You) especially hate to see it happen late in the game when it's pretty much decided. I hope there was no ill intent on the play."

--Coach Ken Whisenhunt is going to catch some heat for the way his team played after it stayed 10 days on the East Coast. The intent was to avoid such a performance. "If we don't win, it's going to be questioned what we did and that's fine," Whisenhunt said.

"We felt better as a team when we stepped on the field today. I thought our play early was good, we started faster, in my opinion. Obviously, people will debate that. It's disappointing because we have put a lot of work into it, but anytime you lose a game like that, it's disappointing."

--The 34 points the Jets scored in the second quarter were the most ever in a quarter by a Cardinals opponent. The 56-point total tied a Cardinals record for the most by an opponent.

--Brett Favre passed for six touchdowns, a personal record, last Sunday. But the Cardinals think they helped him out. A lot.

"We're not going to make him out as a hero here," said cornerback Eric Green. "We beat ourselves."Not taking anything away from him, Brett's a great quarterback and we all know that, but we did a lot of things to beat ourselves today."

--Receiver Larry Fitzgerald recorded the 350th reception of his career Sunday. He did it in his 64th game, becoming the third fastest player in NFL history to reach that milestone.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

PLAYER NOTES

--WR Anquan Boldin was resting at home Monday, the day after suffering a vicious hit against the Jets. Boldin underwent tests at a New York Hospital immediately after the game. The tests revealed no damage and he returned home on team president Michael Bidwill's private plane. It's unknown how long Boldin will be out.

--SS Adrian Wilson missed last Sunday's game with a strained right hamstring and his availability for this week is unknown. The Cardinals miss him badly, especially against the run. Backup Aaron Francisco is a solid player but he's not close to Wilson's class.

--RT Levi Brown struggled in last week's game, giving up a sack to Calvin Pace, whose hit caused Kurt Warner to fumble. Brown had played fairly well until last week.

--TE Leonard Pope played with a sore right foot, an injury he suffered in Friday's practice. Pope didn't play as much as he usually does, but tight end Ben Patrick filled in capably.

--NT Gabe Watson could make his season's debut Sunday against the Bills. Watson hasn't played yet because of a fractured kneecap suffered last summer. But he's had two full weeks of practice and might be ready to go. The Cardinals need him. Bryan Robinson has started in his place but he's really a defensive end. Alan Branch, a second-round pick in 2007, has been a disappointment.


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