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James Conner Proves Value Again; Cardinals Hope He's OK For Playoffs

Running back leaves with ribs injury as team hoping for multiple players to return

Running back James Conner dives into the end zone for one of his two touchdowns during Sunday's 38-30 loss to the Seahawks.
Running back James Conner dives into the end zone for one of his two touchdowns during Sunday's 38-30 loss to the Seahawks.

James Conner understood the assignment for an injury-riddled offense like so many times this season.

And once again, the running back was more than dependable Sunday in the 38-30 loss to the Seahawks.

The Cardinals are hoping they are going to be able to depend on Conner next week in Los Angeles for the playoffs.

Conner had 93 total yards and two touchdowns, but had to leave the game early in the fourth quarter when he hurt his ribs and didn't return.

"He means a lot," quarterback Kyler Murray said. "I'm not sure what he's got, but I hope for the best for him. But he means a ton for this team."

Conner's most electrifying play came early in the third quarter when Conner caught a pass from quarterback Kyler Murray near the 20-yard-line, broke one tackle, then leap-frogged over another defender before reaching the end zone.

The play marked Conner's 18th touchdown this season, the second-most in franchise history behind former Cardinals running back David Johnson.

Moments later, after safety Jalen Thompson intercepted Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, Conner reached the end zone again with a one-yard touchdown.

Conner's health will be crucial. Coach Kliff Kingsbury said fellow running back Chase Edmonds, who missed the game with ribs and toe injuries, is going to be day-to-day this week. And a third running back, Jonathan Ward, left the game with a knee injury.

And running back isn't the only position getting hit.

The secondary already is missing cornerbacks Marco Wilson and Robert Alford, and fill-in Kevin Peterson suffered a concussion early Sunday.

Russell Wilson took advantage of the situation by throwing for three touchdowns. Wideout Tyler Lockett benefited with 98 yards on five receptions and two touchdowns. DK Metcalf added 58 yards and five catches. Two of the Seahawks touchdowns came on blown coverages in the secondary.

Kingsbury said he hopes Wilson can be back this week.

"I'm not sure how he'll progress this week, but he made some strides last week, and we need some depth at that position right now," Kingsbury said.

Thompson understands how depleted the Cardinals are in the secondary, but he did not want to use that as an excuse for the secondary's performance on Sunday.

"It really shouldn't because it's next man up," Thompson said. "No excuses for that. We just got to play harder and play better."