LaRod Stephens-Howling returns a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown in Tennessee Sunday, a play that helped him win the NFC special teams player of the week award.
The Cardinals ended up coming up short, but LaRod Stephens-Howling didn't.
The rookie running back turned a spectacular game in Tennessee into NFC special teams player of the week honors, even though the Cards fell to the Titans, 20-17.
Stephens-Howling delivered a momentum-changing 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown – becoming the first Cardinals' rookie to accomplish the feat since Roy Green in 1979 – that got the Cards back to within 13-10 after Arizona had allowed an 85-yard Chris Johnson run.
But Stephens-Howling, who is making a darkhorse push for a Pro Bowl despite not being on the official fan ballot, also downed three of Ben Graham's punts deep in Tennessee territory, at the 5-, 2- and 1-yard line. And he made an impressive tackle in kickoff coverage on the Titans' Michael Griffin.
Stephens-Howling has 18 special teams tackles in 11 games, failing to get at least one in a game just once.
Stephens-Howling becomes just the third Card to win NFC weekly honors after a loss. Quarterback Neil Lomax and running back Ottis Anderson each did it in 1984.
He becomes the fifth Cardinal to win an NFC weekly honor this season. Defensive end Calais Campbell won it for special teams against Jacksonville in Week 2, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Houston, Week 5) and safety Adrian Wilson (Giants, Week 7) won it for defense, and quarterback Kurt Warner (Chicago, Week 9) won it for offense.
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