Cardinals RB Kenyan Drake’s first 1,000-yard rushing season within sight

Jan 1, 2021, 2:49 PM
Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake (41) eludes the tackle of San Francisco 49ers middle li...
Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake (41) eludes the tackle of San Francisco 49ers middle linebacker Fred Warner (54) during the first half of an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Heading into the final game of the regular season, Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake is eyeing more than just a spot in the playoffs.

The five-year veteran has recorded 919 rushing yards on the season, and hopes to add 81 more against the Los Angeles Rams to finally reach a 1,000 rushing yard season for the first time in his career.

“I’ve hit a thousand total yards for the third straight year but reaching that threshold of 1,000 yards rushing, it’s something that’s important to everyone that’s involved in the running game, not just myself,” Drake told reporters via Zoom on Friday.

The running back has surpassed 81 yards in just three games this season, the last time being 100 yards against the Buffalo Bills, and is averaging 4.0 yards per carry.

If Drake, who currently ranks 10th among league rushing leaders, breaks his 1,000-yard goal, he’ll be the sixth running back to reach the target in 2020.

However, it will be a fierce battle against a Rams defense that ranks third in the league in least rushing yards allowed (94.1).

In the Week 13 matchup between the two teams, Drake was held to 49 yards on 10 carries and one touchdown.

“Obviously Aaron Donald is, it goes without saying, the type of athlete that he is and how disruptive he is on that D-line,” Drake said. “So we’re going to have eyes and hands on him at all times no matter where he is in the defensive formation.”

As his own worst critic, watching game film and seeing the fumbles and yards left on the field this season has bothered Drake, but not deterred him from finishing the season strong. He said even the Cardinals linemen are pushing for him to break 1,000.

Having the support of his teammates has helped push out the noise from doubters and critics as he focuses on the most important part of his job: getting a win.

“Obviously, the most important stat that we want is a win and to be 1-0 at the end of this week,” Drake said. “But I’d definitely be lying if I said that it wasn’t important to me, wasn’t important to the guys in front of me that work their ass off to get us to that milestone.

“Not a lot of players and teams can say that they have a 1,000-yard back and I feel like the guys in front of me probably honestly want it more than I do. So we’re going to go out there and focus on the game plan and do the things that we need to do and let everything kind of handle itself from there.”

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