Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 11/27/11
Remember all that chatter about Arizona Cardinals runningback Beanie Wells' lack of toughness? Remember all the complaints that he wasinjury-prone? The latter assumption may be true, but it doesn't matter because the formerassumption is officially dead after a banged-up Wells set a career-high andfranchise record with 228 rushing yards in the Cardinals' 23-20 win at St.Louis on Sunday. The total eclipsed LeShon Johnson's previous record of 214 yards, set at NewOrleans in 1996. Wells' effort included runs of 71 and 53 yards. Unfortunatelyfor him, neither of those ended in the end zone, which led Arizona coach KenWhisenhunt to rib his emerging star. "He keeps telling me how fast he is," Whisenhunt said smiling. Wells took it in stride. "I'm just excited we got the win," he said. Wells has played most of the season with an undisclosed knee injury that hasshelved him for Wednesday practices and limited him in Thursday practices as hetries to rest it just enough to go on game days. Every week, Whisenhunt goes out of his way to praise Wells for even being onthe field. Before every road game, the Cards raise concerns about potentialswelling from long flights, leading to speculation that the injury is serious. Wellsis wearing a brace to protect whatever juice he has left in the knee. None of that mattered Sunday in St. Louis. Playing on that same gimpy knee, Wells shredded the Rams with a combination ofpower and burst that were vital, given backup quarterback John Skelton'sstruggles for a second consecutive week in place of injured starter Kevin Kolb. "After a slow start the past couple of weeks, myself and the offensiveline were challenged by coach (Whisenhunt)," Wells said. "We wantedto prove we were a good football team and capable of competing." Wells answered any lingering questions about his desire to compete early in thefourth quarter. On the Cards' third series of the period, Wells was tackled andtwisted his knee awkwardly. As he hit the ground, the ball popped loose and wasruled a fumble although his back appeared to hit the ground before the ballcame out. The Cards were so concerned with their star running back that the coachingstaff never bothered to challenge the ruling. Many of Wells' teammates huddledaround him on the field as he grabbed his leg in obvious pain. St. Louis used the turnover to tie the game on Brandon Lloyd's 16-yard TD catchand that was enough to get Wells' adrenaline going on the bench. Four offensive plays later, he burst through the line on a 53-yard run to theSt. Louis 9-yard line to set up Arizona's game-winning field goal. "Two words: Paul Pierce," said Whisenhunt, referencing the BostonCeltics star who returned from an injury in the 2008 NBA Finals to lead histeam to victory. "It just goes to show you that Beanie has grown up a bitand is a tough-minded guy. The way he responded today even when he got bangedup a little bit to come back and still do it. That is what we have beenstriving to get Beanie into for a couple of years now and it is great to seehim do that." The Cards were ready to take a knee with the late lead before they realizedWells needed one yard to break the franchise's single-game record. Mediarelations vice president Mark Dalton informed the coaching staff after LaRodStephens-Howling converted a third down. Arizona didn't have Wells on the fieldat the time so it took a delay of game penalty to get him one more carry. On that carry, Wells gained 14 yards to shatter the old mark. He averaged 8.4yards on 27 carries, and he carried the Cards offense to victory. "What injury?" receiver Larry Fitzgerald joked. "Beanie hasshown his toughness throughout the year with dings here and there, but hestayed and fought for us. For him to go out there and to have a dominatingperformance running the ball and to put the team on his back was reallynice."
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