EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Chase Edmonds played college at Fordham University in New York, not far from where he had his best game as a pro Sunday.
That meant something, with 15 or so family and friends watching live and many more watching back at the school.
But it was one of Edmonds’ more recent friends – fellow running back David Johnson – that Edmonds thought about the most Sunday, after Edmonds stepped up in the steady rain at MetLife Stadium, rushing for a career-best 126 yards and three touchdowns in a 27-21 win over the New York Giants.
Johnson, dealing with a sprained ankle, started Sunday and had one carry. But coach Kliff Kingsbury never planned to play him much – “an emergency-type situation” Kingsbury said, even with only two running backs active -- and Edmonds wanted to make sure he would hold up for Johnson’s sake.
“Me and him, we knew there was no way he was playing the running back position in the NFL game the way it was today,” Edmonds said. “I told him, ‘I’m going to hold it down and carry the load’ and hopefully we’ll have him back for New Orleans (next week) because we’ll need all hands on deck.”
The Cardinals (3-3-1) won their third straight for the first time since 2015. The defense did their part, with Chandler Jones coming up with a career-best four sacks among the eight the Cards had as a team, harassing Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones into two lost fumbles and the Cardinals’ first interception of the season – from linebacker Jordan Hicks.
Cornerback Patrick Peterson topped off his first game of the season with a strip-sack himself on a blitz, all but ending the Giants’ hopes late in the fourth quarter, the weather causing a mess. Giants running back Saquon Barkley only had 72 yards on 18 carries, and only 8 yards receiving.
The best running back on the field Sunday was Edmonds – although he kept coming back to Johnson.
Early in the game, Edmonds threw up on the sidelines right before a Cardinals’ possession – Edmonds said he didn’t know why, and it was just water – and Johnson, who had played just three snaps, went in. But before the TV timeout ended, Edmonds came out. Johnson tried to wave him off, but Edmonds insisted.
“I want to look out for his career and his future,” Edmonds said. “He’s so selfless. Dave would go out on one leg if he has to. I told him before the game, ‘Bro, I know what type of guy you are, I know what type of player you are, just think of the future.’
“In a society and a world where players get criticized for contract talks or whatever the case may be, Dave earned all the money and all the fame he really has. I just didn’t want to see all that taken away.”
The last time Edmonds ran for 100 yards, he had 185 yards for Fordham in a game in the Bronx in November of 2017, just a few months before the Cardinals made him a fourth-round draft pick. Sunday, Edmonds had already set his NFL career-high with 84 yards rushing. His touchdown runs of 20, 20 and 22 yards buoyed an offense that, in large part because of the weather, never was going to be able to count on Kliff Kingsbury’s “precision passing.”
“That went out the window,” Kingsbury said.
“It was ugly football at times,” he added. “That rain never stopped. I don’t know if I’ve ever been in one where it constantly poured.”
Kingsbury might’ve relied on Edmonds a bit much – the running back’s totals shrunk late in the game because the Giants got him for multiple big losses expecting the run, and Kingsbury took the blame for some bad playcalls – but the coach also said last week he knew he wanted to get Edmonds more touches.
“He had some extra juice,” Kingsbury said. “Before the game I could tell, him bouncing around, he was going to have a day.”
Quarterback Kyler Murray only had 104 yards passing, completing 14-of-21 passes. He took a bad sack early in the game, leading to the Giants blocking a punt for a touchdown. But Kingsbury praised Murray, saying in such a situation to come out without a turnover “won us the game.”
That’s because the Cardinals were harassing Jones with their own Jones, plus friends. Joining Chandler Jones and Peterson in the sack column were Corey Peters, Brooks Reed and Terrell Suggs.
“As a defense we did what we needed to do,” Peterson said. “Hopefully we can build on this and we’ll see what happens.”
The Cardinals, once up 17 for a second straight game, let the Giants cut it to three points but never lost the lead. Now they go to New Orleans next week pushing to surpass their win total for all of 2018.
“They all know what’s been said about this team,” Kingsbury said. “We started with some tough losses, but they stuck together. … We’ve got a long way to go, but there is great leadership in that locker room.”
Images from the Week 7 matchup in New York