A teammate describes Andre Ellington as "lightning in a bottle."
In his first NFL start, the former Clemson running back put on a show on Sunday, as he rushed for 154 yards on 15 carries and propelled the Arizona Cardinals to a 27-13 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.
Ellington's highlight was an 80-yard touchdown run, in which he picked his way through traffic behind a pair of blocks and then outran Atlanta's secondary to the end zone.
“When you have a running back and a running game, it helps the quarterback tremendously,” said Cardinals coach Bruce Arians. “You find long runs in the oddest places. Two great blocks by Larry (Fitzgerald) and Michael (Floyd) sprung him out the back door, and with his speed no one is going to catch hm. That’s the one thing he brings to the table.”
Ellington got his starting chance when Rashard Mendenhall was sidelined with toe injury. The two running backs have split carries in recent weeks.
Ellington said he'll have no problem if things return to status quo when Mendenhall returns. “Not at all,” he said. “Rashard is our bell cow. He’s a leader in that room. He’s earned that.”
But, as columnist Dan Bickley noted in AZCentral, "low-drama wins are rare and wonderful in Arizona. So are running backs that can take a handoff and race 80 yards for a touchdown."
While Ellington was having his breakout performance, former Clemson backfield mate C.J. Spiller was held out of the Buffalo Bills' game against New Orleans with an ankle injury. Spiller has been slowed by the injury for the past two games, and did not practice last week.
Safety Chris Clemons recorded 10 tackles for Miami in the Dolphins' 27-17 loss to New England.
Defensive tackle Brandon Thompson had four stops, including a quarterback sack, in Cincinnati's 49-9 rout of the New York Jets.
Andre Branch had two tackles for the Jacksonville Jaguars in their 42-10 loss to San Francisco.
Jarvis Jenkins made one stop for Washington in its 45-21 loss to Denver.
Da'Quan Bowers had a tackle in the Tampa Bay Bucs' 31-13 loss to Carolina.