ARIZONA CARDINALS

Kerwynn Williams gives life to Cardinals facing 16-0 deficit

Dec 3, 2017, 3:53 PM | Updated: 6:18 pm

(AP Photo/Ron Schwane)...

(AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

(AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Without running back Adrian Peterson and down 16-0, Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians did what nobody expected.

He went to the run.

The Los Angeles Rams were aided by two first-quarter interceptions thrown by Cardinals quarterback Blaine Gabbert, and so the Arizona head coach called Kerwynn Williams’ number.

It worked, at least for a quarter in the 32-16 loss at University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday.

After two punts and two picks — all on drives that included just three touches for Williams — the Cardinals called on the 26-year-old. The team’s fifth possession of the game included five Williams runs, including those of five of seven or more yards.

That set up a one-yard touchdown run by big back Elijaa Penny, pulling Arizona within 16-7 with 7:38 to play in the second quarter. On the next possession, a six-play, 70-yard drive capped by a 15-yard pass to Larry Fitzgerald, Williams ripped off a 25-yard run to push Arizona into Los Angeles territory.

Peterson’s neck injury sidelined the veteran back and elevated Williams to the Cardinals’ starting running back spot.

Williams entered the game with 28 attempts and 69 rushing yards on the season.

But at halftime, Williams’ 11 carries had produced 86 yards and a 7.8-yards per carry average as Arizona trailed 19-13.

The run-favoring play-calling didn’t last. Williams would only take five carries in the second half to finish with 97 yards on the ground.

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