When starting running back Chase Edmonds limped off the field in the first half, the Arizona Cardinals knew that they would have to turn to James Conner. What Kliff Kingsbury and his staff didn't predict was the massive day that the 26-year-old would conjure up.
Conner had a career day on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, scoring three touchdowns in the first three quarters to give the Cardinals a multi-score advantage. He'd also already racked up 164 yards from scrimmage with over nine minutes left in the fourth quarter, making for one of the best games of his career.
Conner struck twice in the first quarter, both times on the ground to give the Cardinals a 14-0 advantage. He then caught a 45-yard touchdown pass out of halftime to slow down the Niners momentum and extend his team's lead back to 17 points.
Among those that was impressed by Conner's showing was J.J. Watt. The Cardinals pass-rusher, who's out for the year with a shoulder injury, was clearly watching his teammate shine on Sunday because he took to social media to celebrate the running back's huge day.
"James Conner IS THAT DUDE!!!" Watt
James Conner IS THAT DUDE!!!
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) November 7, 2021
">wrote on Twitter Sunday evening.
With his two rushing touchdowns on Sunday, Conner is now tied for the league-lead with Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry. Both players have scored 10 times on the ground this year and lead the NFL in total touchdowns scored by skill players with 11.
Most importantly for the Cardinals, Conner helped contribute in a major way to the offensive outburst even without starting quarterback Kyler Murray under center. The 26-year-old running back, along with some other unlikely players helped take the burden off of back-up Colt McCoy in Sunday's game against the Niners.
The Cardinals are well on their way to advancing to a league-best, 8-1.