Cardinals’ Johnson turns limited touches into major production

Rookie David Johnson scored his 13th touchdown in Arizona's 38-8 win on Sunday.
Matt Kartozian/Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie running back David Johnson had a relatively quiet day in the Arizona Cardinals' 38-8 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. 

That's not to say Johnson did not have a major impact on the outcome. Making his fourth career start, Johnson rushed for 39 yards and a touchdown on nine carries and added three receptions for 88 yards as the Cardinals ran their winning streak to nine games.

The lopsided result allowed Arizona to give some much-needed rest to Johnson, who had 70 carries in his first three starts since he was elevated to the No. 1 back and was coming off a monster effort the previous week at Philadelphia, rushing for 187 yards and three touchdowns.

“It should help him a bunch,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said of Johnson's diminished workload. “He’s had a lot of touches here in the last three weeks, and Andre (Ellington) needed the work.”

All three of Johnson's catches came in the first half, including a 44-yarder on a dump-off pass out of the backfield in which he made multiple defenders miss before breaking down the sideline.

“He continues to amaze me with the different things he does,” Cardinals general manager Steve Keim told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM on Monday morning. “The ball he caught out of the backfield, he almost looked like a slalom skier the way he had a double jump-cut, changing directions and hiss ability to bend his knees and laterally explode.”

Johnson helped put the game out of reach with a 14-yard scoring run early in the third quarter to extend the lead to 24-0. It was his 13th touchdown – eight rushing, four receiving and one kickoff, prompting Arians to say he should be “in the top three” for NFL Rookie of the Year.

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