The Arizona Cardinals’ already embattled ground game has taken a severe blow with the announcement that running back Ryan Williams is out for the season with a left shoulder injury that will require surgery.
The Cardinals already are without Beanie Wells until at least late November because of a severe turf toe injury.
The hard-luck Williams missed all of his rookie season a year ago with a torn patella tendon. He injured his shoulder on a hard hit during Thursday’s loss at St. Louis.
Arizona is left with running backs LaRod Stephens-Howling, William Powell and Alfonso Smith. Stephens-Howling missed the last two weeks with a hip flexor.
The Cardinals are 4-1 despite their virtual lack of ground game. They rank 31st out of 32 teams in yards rushing per game at 63.4. Only Oakland’s 60.8 is worse.
Williams, a second-round draft pick from Virginia Tech in 2011, had moved into the No. 1 running back spot after not taking an NFL snap last season. So far this season he had gained 164 yards in 56 attempts, an average of just 2.8 yards per carry.
NEXT UP, SEATTLE’S D
The New England Patriots, who face the Seahawks on Sunday at CenturyLink Field, are on track to shatter the NFL record for first downs in a season with a balanced offense that ranks first in the league.
The Patriots are averaging 30.2 first downs a game and would finish with 483 if they maintain that pace.
New England also is averaging 439.4 yards per game, 11 more than the team record it set last season.
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan says “right now it looks good” that Robert Griffin III will be able to play Sunday against the Vikings a day after he suffered a concussion in a loss to the Falcons. … Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel sustained a concussion in the game against Baltimore and is unlikely to play in next weekend’s game at Tampa Bay. … Authorities say a Chicago fan, 42-year-old William C. “Chris” Pettry, who came to Jacksonville, Fla., for the Bears-Jaguars football game, had his throat fatally slashed inside a bar.… Browns cornerback Joe Haden acknowledged he tested positive for the stimulant Adderall, leading to his four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on banned substances. The league also suspended New York Giants rookie safety Will Hill for using the same drug. He won’t be eligible to return to the Giants’ active roster until Nov. 5. … Steelers safety Troy Polamalu will miss Thursday’s game against Tennessee after aggravating his strained right calf, and linebacker LaMarr Woodley is doubtful with a mild right hamstring injury. … Bengals running back Bernard Scott will miss the rest of the season with an injured left knee. … Vikings strong safety Harrison Smith won’t be punished further for his shove of an official that drew a 15-yard penalty and automatic ejection from Sunday’s game against Tennessee. … Tennessee quarterback Jake Locker, a former University of Washington star, will miss his second straight game with an injured left shoulder.