At age 30, Chris Johnson has exploded back onto the scene this season. His 814 yards is good for 4th in the league and 151 yards more than his whole 2014 season with the Jets. He was signed to 1-year $2 million contract in the offseason and wasn’t even guaranteed to make it past the last round of cuts in the preseason. But head coach Bruce Arians saw enough in the aging RB to keep him on the team.
The stats say that was obviously a great decision. Johnson has been a top 5 back all season since he took over the starting job early in the year. Johnson was a frontrunner to win comeback player of the year (CPOY) before this injury. Johnson suffered a broken tibia in Sunday’s win over San Francisco. In the second half, the Cardinals lost their other playmaker out of the backfield, Andre Ellington, as well. Ellington has been diagnosed with turf toe which could be week-to-week or in some severe cases, season ending. There will be more on Ellington as the week goes on.
With these two backs out, the Cardinals will turn to the rookie out of Northern Iowa, David Johnson. This season David Johnson has had 35 carries for 149 yards and 4 TD’s. David has also hauled in 19 receptions for 241 yards and 3 TD’s. While the rookie does have some upside, the Cardinals run game has been vastly downgraded with this pair of injuries. If Ellington is out for a significant period of time, the Cards Super Bowl hopes could be depleting fast. One dimensional offenses don’t work if you want to win a ring.
The Cardinals are 3 games up on the Seahawks for the division with 5 games left, so they will still win the division more than likely. But as of now, it would be difficult to win a playoff game against any of the playoff teams in the NFC without Johnson or Ellington.
Arizona is only up by 1 game on Minnesota and 2 up on Green Bay for the #2 seed and a bye in January.
Arizona Cardinals remaining schedule.
Week 13 @ Rams (4-7)
Week 14 vs Vikings (8-3)
Week 15 @ Eagles (4-7)
Week 16 vs Packers (7-4)
Week 17 vs Seahawks (6-5)