Edgerrin James was glad to break a two-month losing streak, but there was still a bit of an edge to the Edge on Sunday.
James set his Cardinals high with 96 yards rushing in a 17-10 victory over Detroit, although he was a typical carry short of reaching his personal goal for every game, 100.
The Cardinals killed the final 4:35 with eight running plays, including five by James for 24 yards, before Matt Leinart took a knee on the final two scrim--
“We got to take a knee after the 100-yard mark,” James said with a winner’s laugh, his gold-capped teeth flashing.
“Winning is always first. But for me, I’d like to get 100 yards. It’s a personal thing. I haven’t had one in forever. That’s the downside of taking a knee. It is kind of bittersweet. But you have to get a ‘W.’ We needed that ‘W’ badly.
“Close don’t count. I’m still waiting for that 50th.”
James has 49 career 100-yard games but has not hit that goal since Dec. 4, 2005, a span of 11 games. He had 58 yards on 11 carries at the half and finished with 22 carries.
Emmitt Smith is the last Cardinal to reach 100, on Oct. 24, 2004, against Seattle.
James credited the retooled offensive line with creating space. New father Deuce Lutui made his third start at right guard, while free agent Milford Brown made his first start at left guard, the Cardinals’ sixth line combination in 10 games.
It is a combination the Cardinals will stick with the rest of the season, coach Dennis Green said.
“For a while, it has been like a Rubik’s Cube. Something different every week,” James said.
“We’re just trying to find that perfect match. We are getting better each week. It comes down to, we simplified the game plans and the runs. They knew exactly where to go, and they hit their guys right in the mouth.”
Green said, simply: “We opened up some running lanes.”
Lutui, whose wife delivered their second child about 9 a.m. Sunday, said the Cardinals saw a few things on film they believed they could exploit, both schematically and in matchups.
“We knew we could run on them. It was knowing what we had on the field and how to use it,” Lutui said.
While James gained the great majority of the Cardinals’ rushing yards, Marcel Shipp’s 7-yard run around left end on third-and-3 gave the Cardinals their final first down, at the two-minute warning.
It was Shipp’s third carry of the year; his first two were for zero and minus-1 yards.
“I’m getting the ball?” Shipp joked about replacing James on that third-down play.
“I wanted to say, ‘you sure?’ ”