Anquan Boldin Last to Know He Wasn't Playing

Anquan Boldin (Getty)

The Cardinals are hoping that Anquan Boldin's troublesome right ankle will get better after taking a game off. But the time off sure didn't do anything for Boldin's bitter feelings about the club. Boldin has been hobbled by hamstring and ankle injuries this season, but he hadn't missed a game until Sunday at Chicago.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt decided shortly before the game to deactivate Boldin and start Steve Breaston.

Boldin was angry after the game, saying no one was "man enough" to tell him to his face that he wasn't playing.

Boldin tested the ankle Sunday morning and said it felt better than it had in three weeks. When he returned to the locker room, he was surprised to see his equipment had been removed.

"I'd have probably felt better if somebody would have been man enough and walked up to me and told me what the situation was," he said, "but I had to walk back in the locker room and find all of my stuff gone."

Whisenhunt disputed that. He said he turned in the inactive list shortly before the deadline, 90 minutes before kickoff. As soon as his meeting with officials was over, Whisenhunt approached Boldin at his locker and told him he wasn't playing.

"I put his name down right before that 10:30 deadline," Whisenhunt said. "I was torn right up until that. He (Boldin) was still out on the field."

Ken Whisenhunt
(Getty)

The issue is really a matter of timing, but it illustrates Boldin's anger toward the team. And it didn't go unnoticed by his teammates that he voiced that anger after a 41-21 victory on the road.

Whisenhunt has always maintained the Cardinals are better with Boldin than without him. And that's probably true, as long as Boldin is healthy.

But Boldin has been dealing with a high ankle sprain since Week 5, and he struggled to play in the second half of games against the Seahawks, Giants and Panthers. It was a small surprise that he missed the Bears game, because he looked good in practice Friday.

Since the Cardinals couldn't count on Boldin playing a whole game, it made sense to rest him a week, even though Boldin resisted the idea, saying if he could run, he could play.

But Steve Breaston proved last season that he can produce as a starter, and Jerheme Urban can easily move up to the No. 3 role.

The Cardinals are 5-1 without Boldin over the last two seasons, and his absence Sunday did have a silver lining: It allowed the team to activate Early Doucet for the first time this season. Doucet has recovered from the fractured ribs that caused him to miss early games, and has looked good in practice lately.

The decision to sit Boldin makes sense for the Cardinals as they look to the second half of the season. With the bye week already past, Boldin wasn't going to get a chance to rest his injury without sitting out a game.

At 5-3, the Cardinals are in first place in the NFC West. With Seattle, St. Louis and Tennessee on the schedule for the next three weeks, they have a chance to go on a winning streak.

The Arizona Cardinals kept their unbeaten road record in tact, taking care of the Chicago Bears, 41-21, on Sunday at Soldier Field. The outcome was on par with the Cardinals track record this season, but the game also held a few pleasant surprises.

Arizona has yet to lose two-straight games and once again won in style following an embarrassing loss. But what was surprising, was the Cardinals ability to run the football. For the first time this season, the Cardinals rushed more than 30 times. They also rushed for a season-high 182 yards.

The Cardinals capacity to involve both Tim Hightower (77 yards) and Beanie Wells (72 yards) went a long way in not only moving the chains but playing around with how to utilize this improving tag team.

Marcus Harrison; Lyle Sendlein
(Getty)

TRENDING: The Cardinals are getting solid production from tight ends Anthony Becht and Ben Patrick. Becht's forte is blocking, while Patrick is the team's best all-around tight end. He doesn't catch many passes but Patrick has two touchdown receptions over the past four games. Stephen Spach is ready to return after missing four games with an ankle sprain. If the team needs a player at another position, tight end Dominique Byrd likely will be cut.

UNDER THE RADAR: Center Lyle Sendlein does most everything quietly, and he's quietly having a solid season. Sendlein played most of last year with a severe shoulder injury that required post-season surgery. He's healthy now and the results are showing. Sendlein is a solid run blocker and does a nice job of scraping off defensive linemen to blocker linebackers at the next level. Only in his third year, he should continue improving.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

--QB Kurt Warner passed for five touchdowns Sunday a week after throwing five interceptions against Carolina. Warner passed for four touchdowns in the first half against the Bears, becoming the third Cardinals quarterback to accomplish that feat since 1965. Charley Johnson and Neil Lomax were the other two.

--QB Matt Leinart had a chance to play the entire fourth quarter but blew it by throwing an interception on his first possession. He threw to the sideline as receiver Larry Fitzgerald broke open to the inside. The Bears converted it into a touchdown and Warner played the rest of the way.

--WR Larry Fitzgerald didn't break any long plays against the Bears, continuing a troubling trend for the Cardinals. But he had nine receptions, including two for touchdowns. The Cardinals will take that ratio.

--RB LaRod Stephens-Howling continues to excel on special teams. The rookie leads the team in tackles on special teams and he made a nice play to down at punt at the Bears 3-yard line.

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