Shipp Comes In for the Cardinals

From Associated Press

Marcel Shipp is not running like a backup, behind Emmitt Smith or anyone else.

The Arizona running back, the starter since Smith broke his left shoulder blade a month ago, rushed for 141 yards in 29 carries Sunday in the Cardinals' 17-14 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Shipp became the first Cardinal in 11 years to have consecutive 100-yard rushing games. The fourth-year pro from Massachusetts gained 165 yards last week in Arizona's 16-13 overtime victory over San Francisco.

That's 306 yards in two games.

"I belong in this league, and I can play with anybody that lines up against us," he said.

Smith, the NFL's career rushing leader who was assured the starter's job when he signed with Arizona, should be back in a couple of weeks, and it will present Coach Dave McGinnis with a tough decision.

"Marcel right now is the starting running back. That's where we are," McGinnis said. "I'd say he's played pretty well the last two weeks."

Shipp has said the right things since Smith arrived, but his performances will make it hard for the coaching staff to sit him down.

"It would be disappointing because I want to be out there at all times," Smith said. "Like I said, it's the coaches' decision, and I have to live with whatever they decide."

Jeff Blake completed 18 of 28 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns. For the second week in a row, he had no passes intercepted.

Jon Kitna was 21 for 38 for 218 yards and one touchdown for Cincinnati. He was intercepted twice. Cincinnati managed only 47 yards rushing.

"We didn't stop the run, we didn't run the football offensively, and we didn't play very good in the special teams area," Coach Marvin Lewis said.

Corey Dillon, still bothered by a groin pull, carried seven times for five yards and didn't play in the second half.

The Bengals (3-5) led, 14-10, at the half, but Arizona dominated with its ball-control style in the second half.

The Cardinals (3-5) took the second-half kickoff and went 80 yards in 13 plays. They converted three third downs, including Blake's seven-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin.

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