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Cardinals' Running Game Magic Vanishes In New Orleans

More injuries mount as Chase Edmonds leaves the game

Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds (29) carries the ball against  Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore (23).
Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds (29) carries the ball against Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore (23).

NEW ORLEANS – The Cardinals' Run Raid ran out of gas on Sunday against the Saints.

After a magnificent three-game stretch, the rushing attack couldn't get anything going against a stout New Orleans defense, amassing only 40 yards on 11 carries in the 31-9 loss.

Wide receiver Christian Kirk (19 yards) and quarterback Kyler Murray (13) were the team's leading rushers, as running backs Chase Edmonds and Zach Zenner combined for only eight yards on eight carries.

"They're a very good defense," coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "That's all I can say. I thought they had a good plan defensively and did a nice job taking that away. They kept us in third-and-long most of the game, which made it difficult."

While the inefficiency wasn't ideal, even worse is the team's health situation at the position. Edmonds injured his hamstring in the third quarter and didn't return, and coach Kliff Kingsbury said there is "definitely concern" he could miss Thursday's game against the 49ers.

Starting running back David Johnson (ankle) and third-stringer D.J. Foster (hamstring) were inactive against the Saints and also may not be ready to play against San Francisco.

"We don't have a back that's been with us (for more than a week)," Kingsbury said.

Zenner, who was signed on Tuesday, was thrust into a fulltime role after Edmonds' injury, and Murray had to help him get lined up on multiple occasions.

"The coaches did a nice job helping me out throughout the week, and the quarterbacks gave me a little extra direction in order to get me in the right places," Zenner said.

Edmonds ran for 126 yards and three touchdowns in last week's win over the Giants but couldn't find much room at all against the Saints, finishing with seven carries for eight yards. Kingsbury gave him the ball on a crucial fourth-and-1 from the Arizona 30 in the third quarter and Edmonds was stuffed short.

"They did a good job of getting in every gap and shooting the gaps," Edmonds said. "I've got to find a way to get that yard, though."

Edmonds said he is hoping to play against San Francisco, but didn't feel good enough to return against New Orleans. The Cardinals were more one-dimensional than they had been in awhile and the Saints were able to take advantage.

"It's tough when you lose Chase and then (use) a guy that hasn't been here for but a couple days," Murray said. "It's tough with Dave out as well, but we've got to find a way."

There was a report on Saturday that Johnson would be held out against the 49ers, but Kingsbury did not confirm that, calling his star running back day-to-day.

Running back Alfred Morris, who was also signed on Tuesday, was inactive against the Saints, but if Edmonds, Johnson and Foster are all out, he could suddenly become the primary ballcarrier.

Although the short week is tough as Zenner and Morris try to learn the playbook in a hurry, Edmonds is confident in them if the regular trio is sidelined.

"Alfred had, what, a 1,600-yard season and two 1,200-yard seasons?" Edmonds said. "Zach's a great player, smart, intelligent. We'll be fine."

Images from the Week 8 contest in New Orleans

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