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Cardinals RBs Johnson, Edmonds provide vs. Seahawks

Running back David Johnson #31 of the Arizona Cardinals runs with the ball in the first half of the NFL game against the Seattle Seahawks at State Farm Stadium on September 29, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — It didn’t lead to points, but if the Arizona Cardinals wanted to take something positive out of a 27-10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, dynamic running back play would first come to mind.

Starting with the first snap from scrimmage, Arizona made it clear that David Johnson and backup Chase Edmonds would be involved Sunday.

Edmonds, who had eight touches in the first three weeks of 2019, lined up as a receiver and took a sweeping handoff for eight yards.

By the end of the night at State Farm Stadium, he and Johnson would account for 176 of the Cardinals’ 321 total yards of offense.

“We’ll continue to do whatever it takes to move the football,” Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “Those two guys can present problems to defenses when they’re both in there. I thought it was a pretty solid package for us today.”

The Cardinals missed two field goals on prolonged drives and went 1-for-3 in the red zone against Seattle, continuing a problematic trend through a 0-3-1 start.

But combined with shifty quarterback Kyler Murray, who rushed four times for 27 yards and a score against the Seahawks, the running backs provided balance.

With starting receiver Damiere Byrd out due to injury, their skillsets were even more necessary against Seattle.

Edmonds had six carries for 37 yards. Johnson led the Cardinals with 11 carries for 40 rushing yards and added eight catches for 99 yards.

“(The Seahawks) were really soft as far as dropping out of there when they knew it was a pass,” Murray said of Johnson’s productive pass-catching.

“The linebackers were dropped 10, 15 yards down the field. I could have checked the ball down to him the whole game. Some of those plays, just give him the ball, let him do his thing.”

For the second week in a row, drop coverage limited the deep passing game for Arizona. But Johnson hit the Seahawks for several explosive plays to somewhat make up for it.

“I think it just opens up everything because David is running flares and angles and things like that,” receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. “It helps us over the top when David is doing what he’s doing in the passing game.”

That, obviously, is a promising sign for Arizona, which knew from Johnson’s 2016 season that he can be as deadly as a receiver as a running back.

Throw in Edmonds’ development, and the Cardinals might have something more to work with as they continue searching for their best personnel groupings and answers in the red zone.

“Chase has earned playing time,” Kingsbury said. “We wanted to get him involved in the game plan. We just felt like it was time to expand his role.”

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