Early Doucet, playing for an injured Anquan Boldin, rumbles with one of his four catches during Sunday's 41-21 win in Chicago.
CHICAGO – Early Doucet finally got into a game Sunday, as Anquan Boldin finally sat.
With Boldin's ankle injury still lingering, coach Ken Whisenhunt decided to inactivate his Pro Bowl wideout, in large part because the coach felt the Soldier Field grass was "thick and loose" prior to the Cardinals' 41-21 victory.
Fearing it would be easy for Boldin to twist his ankle again, Whisenhunt opted for caution with division games against Seattle and St. Louis upcoming. Boldin hadn't missed a game this season despite playing with both hamstring and ankle maladies.
That got Doucet into the lineup, where he made four catches for 41 yards, including a couple on the bubble screens with which Boldin has been so effective.
"The time I sit out, I look at Anquan and everything he does and I try to pick his brain," Doucet said. "That's something I said from day one, he's been a great teacher. It was juts exciting for me to get out there and just finally play. It didn't matter what the role was."
Boldin was not happy with sitting out. Asked if he felt he was OK to play, Boldin quickly responded "It wasn't a feel or anything like that."
"It was the best I've felt in three weeks," Boldin said, adding that his locker was cleaned out – standard operating procedure for inactive players, to pack up early for the trip home – when he came back in after warming up.
"If it were up to me, I would have been out there," Boldin said. "I would have probably felt better had somebody been man enough to walk up to me and tell me what the situation was, but I had to walk back in the locker room and find all my stuff gone."
Whisenhunt said the decision came down to the moments before each team was required to turn in their inactives. He said he seriously considered using both Boldin and Doucet, making six receivers active. But with starting linebacker Gerald Hayes (back) sitting out and reserve defensive lineman Kenny Iwebema playing with a sore knee, "I needed that extra spot" for another defender, Whisenhunt said.
LUTUI TAKES PUNCH, HARRIS EJECTED
The game changed early Sunday when, on the Cards' fourth play from scrimmage, Bears Pro Bowl defensive tackle Tommie Harris slugged Cardinals guard Deuce Lutui in the head after a Tim Hightower run.
Harris was given a 15-yard penalty and ejected. Lutui insisted he didn't know why Harris hit him.
"It happened so quick," Lutui said. "Next thing you know, he's off to the sidelines."
Lutui said there was no history between the two men. He wasn't starting when Harris and the Bears last played the Cardinals in 2006.
"He looks very good on film and he's a guy not to take lightly," Lutui said. "Like I said, it's crazy it happened that way. One thing led to another and he was ejected."
Harris didn't talk to the media afterward. Harris did get a hit in on quarterback Kurt Warner on the second play, forcing an incompletion. On Warner's first completion, Harris was on the ground and Lutui knocked him down as he tried to get up. Bears safety Danieal Manning told the Chicago Sun-Times Harris apologized and "he got caught second," Manning said, implying Lutui had started the skirmish. UPDATE: Harris apologized Monday.
With the Cardinals ahead, 34-14, Whisenhunt put backup quarterback Matt Leinart for some work. Leinart lasted just four plays.
After an incompletion that was wiped out because of a defensive pass interference call and then two Beanie Wells runs, Leinart attempted to beat a blitz by throwing long to Larry Fitzgerald. But Fitzgerald ran a post on the left side and Leinart threw toward the sideline, giving Bears cornerback Zack Bowman an easy interception. Bowman ran the ball back to the Arizona 28-yard line, setting up a touchdown and making the game uncomfortable for a few minutes.
"We had a chance at a big play and we just missed that," Whisenhunt said. "It was designed to go against a zero blitz (no safety back) and we picked it up. We took the shot because we were anticipating (the blitz) in that situation and in fact, we called the play hoping to get that."
Fitzgerald said he wasn't sure what happened on the play, only that he knew he was supposed to run a post. The Cardinals brought Warner back in the game for their next series.
The Cardinals reported no new injuries in the game. …
The Cardinals have scored a touchdown on their first possession in five of eight games this season. …
Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie blocked a field goal Sunday, the Cards' third blocked field goal of the season. The ball floated short of the goalpost, where safety Antrel Rolle caught it and returned it 59 yards – barely missing a touchdown return when Bears kicker Robbie Gould tripped up Rolle.
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