LaRod Stephens-Howling: Cardinals RB Will Prove Falcons Performance Was No Fluke

David DanielsSenior Writer INovember 18, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 18:  Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals congratulates LaRod Stephens-Howling #36 after his touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on November 18, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

LaRod Stephens-Howling isn’t done astounding.

The Arizona Cardinals halfback, who made a name for himself as a special teams ace, blew up against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Not as a returner like usual, though.

He racked up 127 rushing yards and a touchdown on 22 carries nearly carrying the Cards to a shocking upset victory.

While Stephens-Howling’s success came against a mediocre Falcons front seven—one that’s ranked 25th in the NFL in yards allowed on the ground—his success won’t be short-lived.

Over the next four weeks, Arizona will play the St. Louis Rams, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions. Each one of those teams, besides the 'Hawks, is ranked in the bottom half of the league in run defense. Until the Cardinals are forced to face off against the Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers in the final two weeks of the season, Stephens-Howling will be in position to post an impressive stat line.

And if you’re only interested in him for fantasy football purposes, your season will likely conclude before Brian Urlacher and Patrick Willis come into the picture.

But poor competition isn’t the only reason Stephens-Howling will continue to make an impact on the Cardinals offense. Plain and simple, he’s a talented runner. His performance was no fluke.

In fact, every single time Stephens-Howling has received at least 20 carries in his career, he’s rushed for at least 90 yards. Of course, that sample size is quite small, but still.

Against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 7, he rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. That's the only other time in 2012 he's had that many looks. Last year, though, Stephens-Howling carried the football 21 times for 93 yards in the season finale, leading Arizona to a win over the Seahawks.

Ultimately, the greatest hindrance to the former Pittsburgh back’s efforts to eclipse the century mark again this season is Arizona’s own play-calling.


David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.