Receiver Anquan Boldin is crunched between Jets' Kerry Rhodes (left) and Eric Smith late in Sunday's game against New York, sending Boldin to the hospital. Click here for a Monday update of Boldin's condition.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The news, even before the Cardinals took off on their charter flight back to Arizona, was encouraging.
Anquan Boldin was doing well. He was alert. He was staying behind at a Manhattan hospital -- just to make sure the crunching hit that forced his body to fall limp to the ground at the tail end of Sunday's 56-35 loss to the New York Jets wasn't serious.
Owner Bill Bidwill and team president Michael Bidwill stayed behind with Boldin, as did Boldin's fiancée. The quartet was able to leave New York later Sunday
night, flying home aboard Michael Bidwill's plane.
Before then, though, he scared his teammates.
He was crunched, hit simultaneously by safety Kerry Rhodes from behind and safety Eric Smith from the front, Smith's helmet coming underneath Boldin's facemask and crushing Boldin's jaw.
"When that happened, I thought, 'Dude, it can't get any worse, I am ready to get on this plane and go home,' " cornerback Eric Green said. "I told Antrel (Rolle), 'He's out.' Because his arms just flew out just dead. I had tears in my eyes."
It was a disturbing sight. Quarterback Kurt Warner, who threw the pass on which Boldin got hammered, was noticeably shaken afterward. It was Warner who led a group of players in prayer on the field while doctors tended to Boldin.
Forgetting what led up to the play was easy.
The Cards had the start they wanted. They stopped Brett Favre twice. They drove down the field with ease on their first drive, reaching the Jets' 9-yard line. That one ended first when Warner fumbled to lose 23 yards, and then when Boldin fumbled the ball away on the next play.
Chike Okeafor's interception gave the ball back to the Cardinals' 16. That ended when Neil Rackers' field-goal attempt was blocked.
The Cardinals couldn't have dealt with a worse sequence.