Cardinals RB LaRod Stephens-Howling has 'the hot hand'

Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

The Cardinals running back could be emerging as the team's top ball carrier after a breakout game in Week 7.

Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt has has been sticking with a running-back-by-committee rotation in the team's backfield thus far in 2012, but acknowledged that LaRod Stephens-Howling has "the hot hand" in comments made during an interview with Doug and Wolf of KTAR in Phoenix.

Via SportsRadioInterviews.com:

"We went in planning to have a rotation like we normally do, but LaRod had the hot hand. We had a good running plan, felt like it was going to be able to get some runs in there. ... He had a nice day and it was good for us that he was able to run the ball that way."

Stephens-Howling received the lion's share of the carries in the Cardinals' 21-14 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 7. The fourth-year back out of Pittsburgh rushed for a season-high 104 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries, while catching four passes for 45 yards. He hadn't gotten more than 11 carries or rushed for more than 22 yards in a game for Arizona this season.

The Cardinals (4-3) have dropped three consecutive games heading into Monday night's crucial NFC West showdown against the division-leading San Francisco 49ers (5-2). San Francisco downed the Seattle Seahawks, 13-6, last Thursday night, and are the four-point favorites heading into Monday night's contest.

Kickoff for Monday night's game is slated for 5:30 p.m. PT and the game will be televised on ESPN.

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