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Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury explains David Johnson’s lack of touches vs. 49ers

Kliff Kingsbury, David Johnson, Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals jumped out to an early 16-0 lead over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, but the lead evaporated by the third quarter, and the 49ers ended up coming away with a 36-26 win.

Perhaps the Cardinals would have had a better chance if David Johnson touched the football. Like, at all.

For the first time in his NFL career, Johnson did not log a single touch on Sunday afternoon, with Kenyan Drake taking over the role as the team’s top running back and carrying the ball 16 times for 67 yards while catching six passes for 13 yards in the loss.

Afterward, Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury explained his reasoning for essentially benching Johnson, who played just seven snaps in the first half and none in the second.

“It’s not as much what [Johnson’s] not showed us,” said Kingsbury, according to Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk. “K.D. played really well against them the first game, if you remember, so we wanted to get him going again in this game versus them.”

It should be noted that this was Johnson’s second game back from an ankle injury that had kept him sidelined since Week 7, and last weekend, he carried the ball just five times for two yards and tallied one catch for eight yards.

It seems obvious that Drake, whom the Cardinals acquired in a trade with the Miami Dolphins before the Week 8 deadline, has passed Johnson on the depth chart, and Kingsbury is right: Drake did play very well against San Francisco in the first meeting between the two clubs in Week 9, racking up 110 yards and a touchdown off of 15 carries and snaring four balls for 52 yards.

Regardless, it’s odd seeing a former All-Pro halfback in Johnson fading into irrelevancy.