HOUSTON - Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin, who last played quarterback in the Sugar Bowl during his final game at Florida State, could have been pressed into service Sunday as the team’s emergency signal caller.
"Thank God we didn’t have to go to it," Boldin said after the Cards used all three quarterbacks on the roster during a 30-19 loss to the Texans.
That was the only good news coming out of the position, both during the game and into the future.
Starter Kurt Warner is done for the season after injuring his medial collateral ligament in the second quarter. He’ll have an MRI today, but it’ll be Josh McCown’s team for the final two games of the regular season.
"It’s disappointing to have season end like this," Warner said. "For me, anyway."
McCown had the flu and couldn’t play, leaving John Navarre as the only healthy quarterback.
Warner, who finished the year 242-for-375 for 2,713 yards, 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions, will be a free agent after the season and the Cards are expected to try to re-sign him.
But Warner already missed 2 1 /2 games earlier this season with a groin injury, and he still hasn’t finished a complete season without getting hurt since 2001.
The Cards must weigh that against his obvious effectiveness when he has played. Warner was 10-for-10 for 115 yards and a score Sunday, and his final throw was a touchdown to Boldin early in the second quarter.
But three plays earlier, on a play in which Boldin snagged a pass one-handed for a first down, Warner felt his knee give. After the touchdown pass, Warner was done.
The team turned to McCown, but he was receiving fluids intravenously before the game. His four passes looked like he was sick, especially a forced throw over the middle that was intercepted right before halftime.
McCown was not available to the media after the game.
"Hopefully Josh gets healthy and whoever it is (that plays) continues to grow in the system and hopefully pick up where I left off," Warner said about the Cards’ No. 1-ranked passing offense. "It is always difficult when you haven’t been in there for a while but we are going to need it over the next couple of weeks."
McCown did briefly come out at the beginning of the third quarter expecting to play before being told to return to the locker room. That meant Navarre had to play, in his only playing time besides starting in Detroit on Dec. 5 last season.
Navarre scattered many of his early passes, and his final total of 174 yards included 64 on the final two plays of the game that produced no points.
"I settled down, but I didn’t make as many plays as I should have," Navarre said. "There were plays I should’ve made out there that I left out there, plays I
am expected to make."
Coach Dennis Green acknowledged it was difficult for Navarre to do well given that he has few reps at practice.
The Cardinals are expected to sign a third quarterback this week. McCown, who did have back-toback passing days of better than 380 yards this season, will now try to regain some of that magic.
"We will still run our offense. They will call the same plays," Boldin said. "I don’t think much will change."