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Andre Ellington returns, Cardinals divvy up RB touches against Lions

Arizona Cardinals running back Chris Johnson (23) is chased by the Detroit Lions defense during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Fantasy football owners likely find it hard to predict which of the three main Arizona Cardinals running backs will have a big day.

Sunday, in a win against the Detroit Lions, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians made all fantasy owners of Andre Ellington, Chris Johnson and David Johnson happy — or at least satisfied. Each played big roles in the Cardinals’ 42-17 victory.

Ellington, the starter to begin the year, returned from a PCL injury in his knee only to receive two rushes for no yards before garbage time officially began. There, in the fourth quarter with Arizona already leading 35-10, he took his third carry for a 63-yard touchdown run. Ellington’s small workload of three carries for 63 yards was capped after his score.

Chris Johnson, who took over for Ellington as he recovered from his injury, again acted as Arizona’s main back, rushing for 103 yards on 11 carries. His 25-yard burst in the first quarter — and the facemask penalty on Detroit when he was tackled — ignited the Cardinals’ offense. Four plays later, the Cardinals recovered from a 7-0 deficit to tie the game and would score 28 points in the second quarter.

Johnson also erupted for a 40-yard run that followed up a deep catch by John Brown that got the Cardinals off their own 1-yard line. Arizona would close out the 99-yard drive with a touchdown, giving it a 21-7 lead in the second quarter.

They never looked back.

Rookie David Johnson acted as the goal-line running back, taking three carries for six yards and scoring two touchdowns in the process. Then came Ellington’s turn.

The issue moving forward will be how Arians finds enough touches for three productive — but different — backs.

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