What are traits that NFL head coaches like out of their third-string running backs? Hard work, versatility and knowledge of the playbook are all fine answers.
But when you have the depth and success of the Arizona Cardinals, dream big.
Bruce Arians is doing just that with rookie running back David Johnson, who in place of the injured Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington, scored the team’s first three touchdowns in the Cardinals’ 40-17 win over the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday night.
Johnson finished the evening rushing 29 times for 187 yards, an 8.6-yards per carry average. He’s the first Cardinal back to score three times since Beanie Wells did so in Week 15 of the 2012 season. Additionally, he’s the first in franchise history to go for more than 140 yards and three touchdowns since Willie Crenshaw did so in 1968.
After rushing for a 1-yard score early on, Johnson uncorked a 47-yard touchdown around, through and past a majority of Philly defenders.
Johnson evaded two would-be tacklers in the backfield and got caught in traffic before finding a crack and outrunning two more Eagles along the sideline.
Here’s another angle that better illustrates Johnson dropping two Eagles in the backfield.
David Johnson disappears into a pile of bodies and reappears on the other side pic.twitter.com/TE6tqI3m1D
— The Cauldron (@TheCauldron) December 21, 2015
It wasn’t the only productive run.
Johnson, who was a third-round pick out of Northern Iowa, had accumulated 112 yards and two scores on 14 carries in the first half. He exited to the locker room prior to the end of the first half after banging his knee on an Eagles player’s helmet but returned to the bench in the second half.
The rookie also caught four passes for 42 yards.