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Pittman Carries the Load

October 09, 2000|From Associated Press

TEMPE, Ariz. — Michael Pittman never complained when he was replaced as Arizona's starting running back before the start of the season by first-round draft pick Thomas Jones. He simply waited for another chance.

On Sunday, Pittman was back, and so was the Cardinals' running game.

The power back with the bulging biceps rushed for 107 yards in 16 carries as Arizona rallied from a two-touchdown deficit to beat the Cleveland Browns, 29-21.

"Just give me a chance, baby," Pittman said. "That's all I ask."

In the two full games he has had as an NFL starter, Pittman gained 133 yards in a victory over Detroit last season and 107 in Sunday's triumph over the Browns.

"Michael is an emotional player, and emotional players are contagious," Arizona Coach Vince Tobin said.

Jake Plummer, in his steadiest game of the season, completed 17 of 30 passes for 171 yards, including touchdown passes of 53 and five yards to Frank Sanders. He was not intercepted. Plummer, who had 24 passes intercepted last season, hasn't thrown any in his last two games.

"There have been some real bonehead plays that I'm trying to eliminate," he said. "I'm just trying to play quarterback the way you are supposed to play it."

Cary Blanchard added field goals of 36, 47 and 28 yards as the Cardinals (2-3) scored on five consecutive possessions in the second and third quarters to take a 26-14 lead.

Cleveland (2-4) lost its third in a row.

Rookie Travis Prentice, starting in place of injured Errict Rhett, rushed for 97 yards in 28 carries and scored all of the Browns' touchdowns on runs of one, one and six yards. Prentice had 56 yards in 13 carries in the first quarter.

Arizona entered the game ranked 30th in rushing out of 31 NFL teams. Cleveland was 28th. But the Cardinals outgained the Browns on the ground, 146-104.

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