Anquan Boldin didn’t tie the record for fastest rookie receiver to 1,000 yards. He needed 124 yards in his 11th game Sunday, and the Cardinals’ burgeoning star had 123. But Boldin clearly didn’t care.
“It means nothing,” Boldin said. “I would give that all up for this week.”
The gloom of the Cardinals’ 30-27 overtime loss to the St. Louis Rams at Sun Devil Stadium was brightened a little by Boldin’s continuing rise to fame. The lone receiver that opponents must watch for, Boldin still found openings for six catches and two touchdowns.
He had a 42-yard reception that set up the Cards at the St. Louis 9 (Arizona failed to score) and a scintillating 54-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown, knocking down Rams safeties Aeneas Williams and Adam Archuleta in the process, on the final play of the third quarter. His second score was on third-and-goal from the 3 to tie the game early in the fourth quarter.
“He embodies the fight this football team has,” coach Dave McGinnis said. That’s why Boldin, who also had a pair of runs for 28 yards, was so down afterward.
“The end result is that we lost and that is real frustrating,” Boldin said.
After the Rams blitzed the Cards all day in the teams’ first meeting, the Cardinals changed up their offensive strategy Sunday, using some no-huddle and a lot of one-back, three-receiver sets.
“We talked about it all week, and the offensive coaches and group did a great job,” McGinnis said. “It was a very good concept.”
After gaining just 161 yards in their first meeting, the Cards had 358 Sunday. But it didn’t help the team’s red zone offense. Four times the Cardinals reached the red zone and only once did the Cards get a touchdown. Twice the Cards had the ball inside the St. Louis 5 and stalled, once coming away with no points.
“You come away feeling like you let the team down,” guard Cameron Spikes said. “But it’s football, and (the field) is 100 yards, not 80.”
BULGER’S THE GUY
Rams coach Mike Martz was exasperated after the game when asked repeatedly about quarterback Marc Bulger’s status. Bulger had struggled the previous two weeks and Martz had admitted he almost replaced Bulger with former MVP Kurt Warner both times. Bulger had four interceptions and lost a fumble Sunday.
“Marc. Bulger. Is. Our. Quarterback,” Martz said slowly and with emphasis. “If I was going to do anything I’d have done it in this game and I didn’t do it,” Martz added. “Marc Bulger, and this is the last time I am going to say this, is our quarterback.”
Backup quarterback Josh McCown said earlier in the week he needed to take advantage of his opportunities when he played. That didn’t happen Sunday. McCown was forced into the game when starter Jeff Blake hurt his knee midway through the fourth quarter with the score 24-24. After a handoff, McCown scrambled around on third-and-4 and then threw an ill-advised pass that was nearly intercepted by Rams linebacker Tommy Polley. Blake returned on the next series. . . .
Marcel Shipp lost his 100-yard day when he took a 5-yard loss on the Cards’ final possession of the game. . . .
It was close, but the Rams are now 28-0 in the regular season when Marshall Faulk runs for 100 yards. He had 100 exactly. . . .
Former Arizona State star Archuleta, on the fact that many of the 42,089 in attendance were wearing Rams jerseys: “It was pretty cool, dude.”