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Cardinals' Hightower perfect in short yardage

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
The earlier item on Tim Hightower's role in the Cardinals' offense sparked discussion about the nature of his rushing attempts.

Hightower has averaged 3.0 yards per carry this season. No running back can keep a starting job with that type of average.

Hightower isn't a starter, though, so we shouldn't measure him as one. We need to look at him situationally. The chart shows every NFL running back with at least six carries on third-and-1 or fourth-and-1. Hightower has a league-leading 10 rushes in these situations. He has converted every one of these situations.

Hightower carried four times on first down against Dallas in Week 6. The Cardinals were trying to run down the clock in the final 2 minutes of regulation on the last of these carries. The Cowboys stopped Hightower after a 1-yard gain on that final carry. Hightower averaged 4.3 yards per carry on his previous three first-down carries. That is good enough.