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Arizona Cardinals’ Ellington: ‘I don’t know what a catch is nowadays’

Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington (38) can't make the touchdown catch as San Francisco 49ers cornerback Rashard Robinson (33) defends during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
LISTEN: Andre Ellington, Cardinals Running Back

Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington appeared to have a touchdown grab in the second quarter of the Cardinals 18-15 overtime win against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. 

With the Cardinals facing a third down and goal, Palmer looked right, stepped up into the pocket and threw a strike right into Ellington’s hands.

The call on the field was a touchdown and replays appeared to show Ellington got both feet in bounds.

Even Mike Pereira, the former Vice President of Officiating for the National Football League and current rules analyst for Fox Sports, thought Ellington had control of the ball.

“The ball can move a little bit but he had control first,” Pereira said after the touchdown was overturned. “Clear and obvious to overturn? No way do I see that.”

But the initial call of a touchdown was overturned. The Cardinals won the game in overtime, but Ellington said he is not sure what the rules are anymore.

“I don’t know what a catch is nowadays,” Ellington told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station. “It was the best throw. Carson put it on me where I could catch it. I thought I pulled it in and secured it. I thought I had pretty good control of it. If I can remember correctly, after I caught it and stood up, (I) threw the ball to the referee.”

Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said he sends plays the team disagrees with to the league office and seemed to indicate the Ellington touchdown that wasn’t would be one of them.

“If I were a betting man, that will be one of ’em that’s sent in,” Keim told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 F.M., Arizona’s Sports Station.

That particular call did not prevent Ellington from having the most productive day of any Cardinals skill position player. Ellington caught nine passes, the most of any Cardinal targeted by Palmer, for 86 yards.

In addition, since Week 2, Ellington leads running backs in pass routes with 101, targets with 26 and is fifth with 157 receiving yards, according to Pro Football Focus.

At this point in his career, Ellington said he prefers to show off his skillset in open space and his skills have been on display — both on east-rest runs or as a pass catcher on slant or crossing routes.

Ellington said as the game wore on, as a result of the 49ers’ commitment to shut down Larry Fitzgerald, he became more of a factor in the pass game — but that was not necessarily the game plan.

“That is really how the game went,” Ellington said. “Everyone has an opportunity of getting the ball at any time based off how the defense is playing. I was able to find those zone lanes for Carson and he was able to get me the ball.”

A foot injury may have derailed Ellington’s 2014 season, but his performance Sunday reminded him of his rookie season in 2013.

In 15 games (one start), Ellington averaged 5.5 yards per carry on 118 attempts and 9.5 yards per reception on 39 catches.

“I’ll say during the game I felt like was in 2013,” Ellington said. “But after the game, I felt like I was in 2013.”

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