Updated Oct 7, 2013 - 3:57 pm
Cardinals head coach pleased with running back duo of Andre Ellington and Rashard Mendenhall
After combining for just 18 yards on eight carries through the first two quarters, the Cardinals' backfield duo of Andre Ellington and Rashard Mendenhall completely flipped the script coming out of the half.
On Arizona's first touchdown drive of the second half, Ellington ripped off a key 12-yard run, while Mendenhall rushed for 19 yards, including a one-yard scamper into the end zone.
And when the Cardinals needed to burn some time off the game clock up six in the fourth quarter, Ellington and Mendenhall were once again happy to take control of the offensive load.
On Arizona's 11-play scoring drive that took six minutes and 23 seconds of game action, the two backs combined for 17 yards and had a big hand in setting up Jay Feely's 50-yard field goal.
All and all, their head coach left University of Phoenix Stadium very impressed with the ground game.
"I thought [Mendenhall] was better," Bruce Arians told Arizona Sports 620's Bickley with Marotta Monday. "There were times he thought about bouncing some plays instead of sticking it in there for three or four yards. I thought he looked better to me playing the game."
Mendenhall's 43 rushing yards were his most since Sept. 15 against the Detroit Lions and came just a week after Arians challenged him to practice harder in the days leading up to games.
As for Ellington, the sixth-round pick continues to look like one of the biggest late-round steals of the 2013 NFL Draft.
In the Cardinals' 16-point victory, the former Clemson standout finished with seven carries for 52 yards and four catches for 31 yards.
But as he reiterated during both his weekly radio segment and Monday's press conference, Arians doesn't plan to increase the rookie's responsibilities as the season progresses.
"I think that's his workload," said Arians of Ellington's 11 total touches in Sunday's game. "He's not that body type. If you're going to stand and hand it to him 30 times, he'd probably play two weeks. You have to be smart with these guys.
"He's a space player and a really good one. As he continues to find his niche he's only going to get better and better."
The 95 rushing yards Ellington and Mendenhall amassed Sunday were a season-high for the Cardinals.
Dave Dulberg, Web Content Editor - ArizonaSports.com
- Arizona Cardinals linebacker Larry Foote says defense is good enough to overcome Darnell Dockett injury
- Notes from the Nest: Aug. 22, 2014
- Arizona Cardinals' DE Calais Campbell: Dockett injury 'sucks,' others need to step up
- A game-time decision, Jonathan Cooper going through learning experience with Arizona Cardinals
- Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington bulks up in anticipation of harder hits this season
- Peter King, SI.com senior NFL writer - Friday August 22Peter King thinks Carson Palmer could have a big year for the Cardinals.
- Michael Floyd, Cardinals wide receiver - Friday August 22Michael Floyd says he thinks he can be the best wide receiver in the NFL.
- Jared Veldheer, Cardinals tackle - Friday August 22Jared Veldheer talks about his road from a Division II college to the NFL.
- Bob McManaman- Arizona Republic senior sportswriter - Friday August 22Bob McManaman believes that Jay Feely is in danger of getting cut from the Cardinals.
- Andre Ellington- Cardinals running back - Friday August 22Andre Ellington looks forward to a break out year with the Arizona Cardinals.