GLENDALE, Ariz. — Few players have caused as much consternation amongst fans as Rashard Menenhall.
The Arizona Cardinals’ running back has split carries with rookie Andre Ellington, though many would just as soon not see the veteran receive any touches at all.
Sunday, in a 40-11 win over the Indianapolis Colts, Mendenhall had arguably his best game since Week 1, rushing for 54 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. He also caught one pass for 24 yards, showing speed and a burst that had been lacking for most of the season.
“Rashard looked like himself,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said after the game. “He looked healthy like he did back in training camp. I was really glad to see that, and no better time.”
Sunday, Mendenhall got carries on the first two plays of the game and picked up 18 yards on the runs. It got the offense started on the right foot, and the Cardinals went on to score their first touchdown of the game.
Thirty-nine of Mendenhall’s yards came on four first-quarter carries, with his performance paving the way for what was to come.
“I’ve been feeling pretty good these last few weeks, continuing to grow and get better,” Mendenhall said.
The game puts Mendenhall’s season numbers at 130 carries for 391 yards and five touchdowns — no doubt totals that are below what he and the Cardinals were hoping for when he signed a one-year deal in March.
But Mendenhall, combined with Ellington and Stepfan Taylor, formed a trio that rushed for 114 yards on 28 carries Sunday, helping the Cardinals to their most complete offensive effort of the season.
“I think we are finding balance on offense from our base offense,” Mendenhall said. “I think we have a good mix of things going, and it’s starting to show.”