first_img TEMPE, Ariz. — Let’s get this out of the way: Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson received a game ball for his performance on Monday Night Football.Rushing for 111 yards and three touchdowns on the NFL’s No. 2 ranked run defense deserved some recognition, which Johnson received, finally, from head coach Bruce Arians.“He did give me a little bit of praise, but also at the same time,” Johnson said. “He let me know that I did have that ME (mental error) on the safety coming through the middle” untouched to hit Carson Palmer in the second half. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo The only numbers Johnson cares about, however, are wins and losses.Still, it’s pretty impressive what Johnson, and really the entire Cardinals running game, has accomplished thus far, especially recently. In back-to-back weeks, the offense has rushed for better than 170 yards. No Cardinals team has done that since 1988.“Obviously, it’s blocking,” Johnson said, again deflecting credit. “Like you saw on that long run (58-yard touchdown vs. the Jets), you saw Fitz (Larry Fitzgerald) who always blocks, John Brown always blocks. You saw Earl (Watford) who’s outrunning me almost. All those guys are always blocking down the field. They’re making my ability to run the ball a lot easier. It really just comes down to me being able to be patient and being able to read my holes (running lanes).”With another solid performance this week, in another primetime appearance, against the Seahawks on Sunday Night Football, Johnson will exceed his rushing total from all of last season, when he gained 581 yards over 16 games, including five starts.He’s already matched his rushing touchdowns total as a rookie.Johnson, a third-round pick, the 86th overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, would like nothing better than to keep the Cardinals’ ground game on the attack. It won’t be easy, however, against Seattle. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Top Stories Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) stiff arms Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Alterraun Verner (21) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)center_img 4 Comments   Share   Aside from that, though, Johnson played very well in the 28-3 win over the New York Jets, a game the Cardinals had to have, not only to get back to .500 but also to re-establish themselves within the division and the entire NFC.That’s two straight games now in which Johnson has reached the 100-yard rushing mark, a first for his career. He also extended his franchise record for consecutive games with 100-plus yards from scrimmage to open a season.Because his past two efforts have come in primetime in front of a national television audience, Johnson is garnering more attention.“It’s been pretty good, but I still got to focus on my job, my responsibility for the team and make sure I’m ready for the game (against Seattle),” he said, surrounded by reporters at his locker following practice on Thursday.And it’s not just the media that wants a piece of the Cardinals’ second-year star. It’s family, it’s friends — either calling or texting — all with pretty much the same message.“Most of them mention fantasy somehow, someway,” he said, referring to his popularity among fantasy football league owners.Through six games, Johnson ranks third in rushing yards (568, behind Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott and Buffalo’s LeSean McCoy), first in rushing touchdowns (8) and first in all-purpose yards (833); all important numbers in fantasy football. “That is a tough defense,” he said. “What makes them so good is they’re physical, they’re explosive, they’re fast, they’re just a relentless defense that goes for all four quarters.”The Seahawks rank third against the run, allowing 74.6 yards per game. They have held each of their last two opponents, the Jets and the Falcons, under 60 yards.Seattle’s run defense has been even more impressive when playing at University of Phoenix Stadium. In their last three regular season games in Arizona, the Seahawks have held the Cardinals to 30, 29 and 27 total yards on the ground.The goal Sunday is to do better — a lot better — according to Johnson.“A lot of guys don’t get 100 yards on them. It’s very tough to do that,” he said. “That would mean a lot just to continue the success of us running (the ball).”And 100 rushing yards would probably mean another game ball for him, right?“I would hope so, especially for the o-line for sure,” Johnson said, adding one more deflection of praise. “I think they deserve one anytime I do well, any time any other running backs do well. They definitely deserve it. The linemen, the tight ends, the receivers, they all deserve a game ball.” Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Follow Craig Grialou on Twitterlast_img read more