Cardinals running back David Johnson added another big game to his resume in Sunday's loss to the Saints.
Following a big performance, the Cardinals' public relations staff will generally take a star player and direct him to a postgame interview room equipped with a podium, which adds a certain panache to the proceedings.
Larry Fitzgerald knows this well, so when he saw running back David Johnson throw on a white, long-sleeved shirt and prepare to answer questions in front of his locker on Sunday, the veteran wideout halted it.
The star, Fitzgerald said, needed the star treatment.
With Fitzgerald's urging, Johnson made his way to the podium to discuss the latest in his long line of standout games, and again there was plenty to talk about.
The second-year back continued his assault on the record books in Sunday's 48-41 loss to the Saints, most notably becoming the first player in NFL history to surpass 100 yards from the scrimmage for the 14th straight game to open a season.
"As impressive a stat as that is, I kind of expect it," quarterback Carson Palmer said. "He's that good of a player. "
Johnson surpassed the mark on a toss to his right in the third quarter, a run that gained five yards. He capped the drive with a 7-yard touchdown, and after some quick mental math, the second-year star had a feeling the record was his.
It wasn't long ago that Johnson was still at Northern Iowa, deemed not talented enough to play for a major conference college. Now he's a full-blown superstar, lauded as an MVP candidate by veteran teammates like Palmer, Fitzgerald and center A.Q. Shipley.
"If he's not the best player in the NFL, he's one of them," Shipley said. "I've been in this league for eight years and I've played with a lot of good players. You don't get the opportunity to play with guys like him very often."
As he stood at the podium, Johnson took a moment to reflect on all the success and praise.
"I had to come a long way," Johnson said. "Seriously. I was a third-rounder, maybe not even supposed to be drafted (by the Cardinals). Just the way I ended up getting here was crazy. And going to a small school, a lot of stuff has happened. It means a lot to hear it from those guys."
Johnson finished the game with 12 carries for 53 yards and two touchdowns as well as four catches for 55 yards. The two scores increased his total to 17 on the season, tying a franchise record set by John David Crow in 1962.
Johnson also broke the team's yards from scrimmage record – passing Ottis Anderson – as he is up to 1,938 on the season with two games left. He played wide receiver regularly in the game, becoming a bigger threat in the passing attack after this week's release of Michael Floyd.
Johnson hadn't split out wide that much since he actually played the position as a freshman at Northern Iowa, but the Saints weren't taking any chances.
"We were talking about that this week going into the game, that they might bracket me, or double team, especially if it was two linebackers, or put a safety on me," Johnson said. "We talked about it, and I wasn't surprised. They did it a lot more than I thought, though. I was surprised about that."
In a lost season, Johnson's emergence has been a huge bright spot. He didn't have a ton of touches early on against New Orleans, which forced coach Bruce Arians to reconsider his play calls.
"I was on the sidelines saying, 'Man, I've got to get David the ball,'" Arians said.
There is one other record Johnson would love to attain. After Sunday, he is 200 yards shy of hitting 1,000 yards receiving on the season. If he can get there, Johnson would join Marshall Faulk and Roger Craig as the only three players in NFL history to amass both 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same year.
He's averaging 57.1 receiving yards per game and would need to increase that to an average of 100 over the final two to hit it. A slight smirk spread across his face when Johnson was asked if that seems like a steep hill to climb.
"Hey," Johnson said. "Anything can happen."
Images from the Week 15 game at home against the Saints