Jets quarterback Brett Favre looks downfield Sunday as Cardinals linebacker Clark Haggans tracks him down during New York's 56-35 win.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Brett Favre lofted his last pass to tight end Dustin Keller on fourth down, a 24-yard touchdown toss that not only gave the quarterback a career-high sixth touchdown pass, but also underscored the nightmare of a day for the Cards' defensive backs.
Favre, the Packers-legend-turned-Jets-savior, still can play. But the Cardinals insisted after Arizona's 56-35 loss he shouldn't have been allowed to play that well.
"I am not surprised (at Favre), but I am surprised with the way we played," safety Antrel Rolle said. "We gave him five of those six touchdowns."
Favre threw two TD passes, including the final one, on fourth down plays.
"He still has arm, but we're not going to make him into a hero here," cornerback Eric Green said. "We pretty much beat ourselves."
Favre's first two drives ended in three-downs-and-done, including a throwback attempt to Laveranues Coles that linebacker Chike Okeafor intercepted.
He carved up the Cards after that. Coles caught three touchdowns and Jerricho Cotchery two before Keller's record-setter. One to a wide-open Coles came when Green went down after bumping knees with Coles, prompting Green to say "I could have thrown that for a touchdown."
"Throwing six touchdown passes was awesome," Favre said. "That had nothing to do with the way I felt I played. I just think it was just one of those days."
Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said Favre's success in the second half came because the Cards were selling out to stop the run with their 34-0 deficit, and four of Favre's TD passes did come in the final two quarters.
"It's nothing we didn't work on in practice," Rolle said. "I need to communicate better. We need to be on the same page. There were a few times we weren't on the same page and it cost us."
Whisenhunt acknowledged after the loss he understood why people would question the team's decision to remain on the East Coast for the week between the Redskins' and Jets' games.
"That's fine," Whisenhunt said. "I thought our play when we stepped on the field today was good. We started faster in my opinion. It is disappointing because we did put a lot of work into it. But any time you lose a game it's disappointing."
Warner waved off questions about what the week away meant in the game.
"The bottom line is we didn't play well and we didn't want to lose two games on the road and we did," quarterback Kurt Warner said. "We didn't play our best football and that's the disappointing part. It's just execution. You have to be able to eliminate distractions and execute on the football field. It has nothing to do with traveling or not traveling, coming in late or being tired, that stuff doesn't matter. You have to find a way to play football for three hours."
WARNER'S MIXED RESULTS
Warner helped rally the Cardinals with his passing, completing 40-of-57 passes for 472 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw three interceptions and lost three fumbles (fumbling one other time).
Coach Ken Whisenhunt said the Cardinals didn't protect Warner well enough, and tackle Levi Brown said the Jets clearly decided to bring heavy pressure with lots of blitzing "to get pressure on Kurt, try and put him in bad situations."
"I think in that first half, we didn't give him enough time," Brown added.
Warner shredded the Jets in the second half, and three Cardinals – Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston – had at least 119 yards receiving. Whisenhunt dismissed any idea that he would bench Warner.
"We had a lot of success in the second half," Whisenhunt said. "You have to temper today's game (and the turnovers) with that."
"It's a game," Warner said, admittedly distracted by Boldin's injury late in the game. "I'll bounce back and play better next week."
A CHOICE FOR TWO
The Cardinals went for two-point conversions twice – making one – in their quest to come back. But the Jets also went for two, after Favre threw his sixth touchdown and the Jets held a 54-35 lead with less than two minutes left.
Whisenhunt was asked about the decision.
"You have to ask (the Jets) about that," Whisenhunt said.
THE END OF THE HALF
After falling behind 31-0, the Cards got the ball with 10 seconds left in the first half at their own 20-yard line. Instead of running out the clock, Warner dropped to pass, and was stripped by Jets defensive end David Bowens. The Jets recovered and kicked a field goal on the final play of the half.
"We had a play we thought we could get it down the field," Whisenhunt said. "We had three timeouts. We thought we could get it down the field and get it in range where we could put it up in the end zone."
Whisenhunt brought up the Hail Mary Larry Fitzgerald caught last season against San Francisco.
"When you are down 31-0, you are trying to get points on the board any way you can get it," Whisenhunt said. "Three points, I don't think it made a difference in the game."
PACE SAYS HELLO
Jets linebacker Calvin Pace, who left the Cardinals to sign a free-agent contract with New York, had a sack, forcing a fumble on the play. He also recovered Warner's final fumble, ending Cardinals' hopes with three minutes left.
Safety Adrian Wilson (hamstring) ended up missing the game. Wilson injured his hamstring during the week of practice in Washington, D.C. ...
In addition to the 100-yard trio of receivers, wide receiver Jerheme Urban had his first receptions of the year, catching five for 50 yards and a touchdown. Urban did drop a key third-down throw with the Cards trailing, 14-0, forcing a punt. …
The Cardinals converted yet another onside kick during their third-quarter rally. They recovered a second, but Ralph Brown was flagged for grabbing the ball at nine yards instead of 10.
Contact Darren Urban at email@example.com. Posted 9/28/08.