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Arizona Cardinals

Updated Oct 27, 2013 - 6:31 pm

Cards running back Ellington shines in first career start

Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington, left, breaks free for a touchdown as Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Paul Worrilow (55) defends during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Since getting a glimpse of rookie running back Andre Ellington's playmaking ability, Arizona Cardinals fans have clamored for the backup to get more touches and take over the starting role from Rashard Mendenhall.

Those fans got their wish on Sunday with Mendenhall out because of a lingering toe injury, and Ellington may have exceeded even the loftiest of expectations.

The 5-foot-9, 200-pound speedster from Clemson rushed for 154 yards on 15 carries, including an 80-yard touchdown scamper that showcased Ellington's lateral quickness and blazing speed.

"He's so talented ... he's always making the first man miss," Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. "He's really versatile. He's somebody that can be on the field all three downs."

Ellington had struggled with pass protection and the auxiliary responsibilities of being an NFL running back like most rookies do. But Ellington said he's finally 100 percent healthy.

But Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said he'll "see how everything goes" once Mendenhall is able to return to action, and added that while Ellington started the game, the number of reps he received didn't increase significantly.

Still, Ellington proved capable of handling even a slightly increased workload.

"He scared me one time when he went down," Arians said. "But we tried to keep him in space as much as possible."

About the Author


School: University of Akron, University of Arizona When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: Sept., 2013 Favorite sports memory: Tie between flying from Akron, Ohio to Phoenix to be at the 2008 NFC Championship and being at Game 7 of the 2001 World Series Favorite all-time athlete: Jim Thome Favorite sports movies: Tin Cup, Major League, The Waterboy Most crushing sports moment: Santonio Holmes' go-ahead touchdown in Super Bowl 43

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