The injury concerns go from bad to worse on offense for the Arizona Cardinals. In the early part of the first quarter against the San Francisco 49ers, running back Chase Edmonds hurt his ankle and never returned.
That was a sign of things to come.
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According to NFL insider Ian Rapoport, Edmonds is believed to have suffered a high-ankle sprain. Normally, an injury of that magnitude will force an injured reserve list stint.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed that further testing will be revealed for Edmonds on November 8.
A few hours later, Schefter confirmed tests “revealed a high ankle sprain.”
Whether it’s COVID or injury-related, the Cardinals seem to have had the worst luck imaginable. Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green, J.J. Watt, Maxx Williams, Rodney Hudson and even their head coach Kliff Kingsbury have all received their brunt of the long football season.
This only adds to the “next man up” mentality for the 8-1 Cardinals. After Edmonds left the game, Arizona’s offense soared with backup quarterback Colt McCoy and 1B running back James Conner, who accumulated 173 scrimmage yards and three touchdowns.
The lead-back is expected to miss three-four games according to Rapoport, but a Week 12 bye will help him.
With Edmonds’ absence, this paves the way for a local fan favorite.
Depth Continues to Make Huge Difference
The team battled through enormous injuries and remained resilient, beating the San Francisco 49ers on the road 31-17. Guys who don’t normally get the playing time stepped up and fought through adversity.
Conner’s been the classic goal line, short-yardage back for Arizona and has been a bulldozer in that role this season. He took it up a notch when given the lead-back role, rushing for 96 yards and 77 receiving yards.
So who else stepped up? Their third running back on the depth chart, Eno Benjamin.
The 22-year-old and former local Arizona State Sun Devil scored his first NFL touchdown in his career. Benjamin ran for 21 yards and trucked former Cardinal CB Dre Kirkpatrick during the process.
Benjamin was drafted in the seventh round of the 2020 NFL draft. He credited a fellow teammate on the TD run.
“We also had Antoine Wesley come and crack one of the linebackers which kind of sprang it open and put me on the corner being Dre, which led to the touchdown on that run,” said Benjamin.
Benjamin finished the day with 39 yards. With Edmonds likely out several weeks, Eno will see a bump in playing time. He was on the field in almost 25% of snaps after Edmonds’ injury on the first play.
The former Sun Devil has also seen time at kick return duties, but this is a new challenge for the two-year back.
“The opportunity was there and presented itself and was up to me to run with it,” said Benjamin after the game. “I felt real comfortable. I get a lot of work with this offensive line. We talk plays and I understand the plays that are being called. So with that, it kind of makes it much easier to go out there and play.”
Both performances show how impactful Arizona’s depth pieces truly are.