Cardinals' running game stuck in neutral - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Cardinals' running game stuck in neutral

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Posted: Sunday, October 26, 2008 8:51 pm | Updated: 11:45 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -  The Cardinals had 425 total yards in their 27-23 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

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The running game produced 50 of those yards, and 30 came on an Anquan Boldin reverse on Arizona's first drive. Running backs Edgerrin James and Tim Hightower rushed 13 times for 20 yards, an average of 1.53 yards per carry.

But when coach Ken Whisenhunt was asked if the offense might have been too skewed to the passing game - Kurt Warner threw the ball 49 times - he had a simple, one-word answer.

"No."

He elaborated when pressed with a follow-up question.

"Well, we had 400 yards of offense and scored 24 points against the No. 3 defense in the league," Whisenhunt said. "I'll take that any week. ... If we operate the way we operated today, we're going to win football games. That's what this is all about."

There's no question the Cardinals are more efficient throwing the ball than they are running it. But at some point this season - particularly in cold-weather road games at Philadelphia and New England - aren't they going to need some semblance of a running game?

And what if Warner gets hurt? Is it realistic for Matt Leinart to come in and throw it 40 times?

"I don't think you ever go into a game expecting to throw that much," Warner said.

Warner said the Panthers put an extra man on the line of scrimmage, thus making it difficult for Arizona to run the ball. But, he added, the Cardinals came into the game thinking they'd have success throwing it against Carolina's secondary.

That they did, with Warner throwing for 381 yards and two touchdowns.

"We have played some monsters this whole year and by far, throwing the ball, they really have it," Panthers linebacker Jon Beason said.

But the Cardinals became so one-dimensional that from the 6:05 mark of the third quarter, they threw the ball 25 times and ran it just once. They didn't attempt a single running play in the fourth quarter.

"Me being a fullback, and a blocking fullback, you know I'd like to run the ball a little more," fullback Terrelle Smith said. "You got to bring the pound cake sometime."

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