Offensive rookie of year watch: Week 10

TEMPE, Ariz. -- As the Arizona Cardinals begin the downslope of their schedule this week, rookie running back Andre Ellington finds himself in a heated race for offensive rookie of the year.

His 154 yards against the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 27 only bolstered the sixth-round pick’s stock, but he has his work cut out for him.

Last week, ESPN Stats & Research listed Ellington among five players vying for the award, joining Green Bay running back Eddie Lacy, New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith, Dallas wide receiver Terrance Williams and Cincinnati running back Giovani Bernard.

Heading into the bye week, Ellington led all rookies with 531 yards from scrimmage, but after Week 9 he’s now fourth, getting bypassed by Lacy, Bernard and St. Louis’ Zac Stacy. While Ellington leads all rookie running backs with 7.74 yards per carry, he’s made his mark as a receiver. His 333 rushing yards are fourth behind the three backs listed ahead of him. And only Bernard has more receiving yards for a running back, 267 to 198, respectively.

Ellington’s 80-yard touchdown run against the Falcons is the longest play for a rookie this season.

However, for Ellington to win the award, he needs to see the field more so one of two things can happen: He’ll either have to be given the ball more so he can have a larger impact on the game or he’ll have to break more big plays that can help the Cardinals score more points. After starting the season with no more than 27 snaps in a game, Ellington’s seen the field for 30 or more plays in the last four games.

Outside of the running backs, receivers and tight ends, two quarterbacks are in the hunt. Smith has thrown for 1,997 yards and eight touchdowns while leading the Jets to a 5-4 record. However, Tampa Bay quarterback Mike Glennon is starting to put up competitive numbers. He has thrown for 1,165 yards and eight touchdowns in just five games, all losses.

The competition is stiff and the race for offensive rookie of the year has come down to the final eight weeks of the season without a clear-cut leader.