Green Had Planned to Run More

Cardinals coach Dennis Green said he planned to run the ball more on Sunday, but ‘changed my mind' and decided throwing it nearly every down gave the Cardinals the best chance to win.

The Cardinals tied an NFL record Sunday by rushing the ball just six times. Running back Edgerrin James, who signed a four-year, $30 million extension last spring, had just four carries against Minnesota, including one in the second half.

He spent the fourth quarter on the bench as the Cardinals went exclusively to the pass. Marcel Shipp and Obafemi Ayanbadejo were the third-down backs, even though James is a decent receiver and is good at picking up the blitz.

"I don't know what to say, man," James said after the game. "We were passing the ball on every down, I guess."

James gained 15 yards, including a 14-yard run, and he lost a fumble. That had little to do with the Cardinals' decision to pass, however. They came into the game with that mind-set and went to the air almost exclusively in the second half, when they had just two carries, which included a scramble by quarterback Matt Leinart.

"We expected to come in and throw," receiver Anquan Boldin said, "but we didn't expect to throw that much."

Receiver Larry Fitzgerald caught 11 passes for 172 yards, while Boldin had nine receptions for 140 yards. Leinart passed for 405 yards, an NFL rookie record.

The six rushing attempts ties an NFL record, set by the Chicago Cardinals in 1933 and tied by the Patriots in 2004.

Minnesota has the No. 1 rushing defense in the league, but coach Dennis Green had said last week that it would be a mistake for the Cardinals to abandon the run. That's exactly what they ended up doing.

"Changed my mind," Green said after Sunday's game. "I felt we could move the ball passing."

NOTES

  • RB J.J. Arrington made his first big play of the season, returning a kick 99 yards for a touchdown. Arrington hasn't done much as the kick returner this season, and he's been demoted to the No. 3 running back slot.

    Arrington said people take for granted how hard it is to return a kick for a score.

    "You have to have everybody working real hard at one time to do that," he said. "Out of 32 teams in the league, there are only going to be 10 or 12 that are going to have kickoff returns back to the house during a season."

  • TE Adam Bergen was called for a crack-back block in the third quarter, a penalty that helped end the Cardinals' chances of scoring a touchdown on the possession.

    It was a questionable call because Bergen was on the back side of the play, wasn't lined up wide and simply attempted to block the legs of a defender.

    "I don't know how they (call) ‘crack back' on anyone when I didn't crack anyone," he said.

  • WR Larry Fitzgerald had his biggest day as a pro in front of a hometown crowd. He grew up in Minneapolis and worked as a ball boy for the Vikings for several years.

    "It was nice seeing every one," he said, "but it would have been nice to return to Arizona with a victory."

  • QB Matt Leinart set a NFL rookie record by passing for 405 yards against the Vikings. The record was held by former Cardinal Jake Plummer, who had 388 against the Giants in 1997.

  • SS Adrian Wilson now has two 99-yard returns for touchdowns this season, and the Cardinals lost both games. He returned an interception against the Falcons and a fumble Sunday against Minnesota.


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