Andre Ellington has had to patiently wait his chance to make a contribution for the Arizona Cardinals.
That's not an easy role for a player who lost his starting job after suffering a knee injury in the season opener that would sideline him for three games. Backup Chris Johnson took advantage of the extra playing time to earn the starting spot, relegating Ellington to five carries or fewer in five straight games.
Still, with the Cardinals clinging to a three-point lead and facing a pivotal third down near third down with just over two minutes to play, coach Bruce Arians decided to put the ball in Ellington's hands.
Article continues below ...
With Seattle coming on a blitz, Ellington took a handoff on a draw play and burst down the left sideline for a 48-yard clinching touchdown run.
“We liked that play,” Arians told reporters. “We ran it earlier with a bubble screen instead, and at that point in time, we were going to try to get their last time out and punt it down there. But we really liked the play, and Andre just hit it perfectly against the blitz. A lot of people were saying, ‘Get out of bounds,’ and I'm saying, ‘Stay in bounds. Go score.' “
Ellington was critized for failing to stay inbounds in the waning minutes of a Week 6 victory over the Baltimore Ravens, so his goal on the play was rather modest – until he saw a path to the end zone.
“All I thought was ‘I have to get the first down,’ ” Ellington said. “Once I cleared the corner and saw the end zone – and I saw (wide receiver) Britt (Golden) with the block, I saw I could score.”