JJ Nelson Continues to Shine

Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports /

JJ Nelson continues to have an outstanding run

When a team’s season is disappointing, and they’re eliminated from the playoffs, its fans look for the small things to celebrate. That’s the case for the 2016 Arizona Cardinals. With the playoffs out of reach, it’s time to take victories where victories can be found.

One such bright spot is the play of JJ Nelson over the last several games. The wide receiver position has been in turmoil this year, outside of Larry Fitzgerald, and that’s part of why the offense hasn’t been as effective as it was in 2015.

Over the first 12 weeks of the season, Nelson averaged a paltry two receptions and 27 yards. He also had just two touchdowns that came in the same game, against the Carolina Panthers in week eight. Take away the eight catches for 79 yards in that game, and he was pretty much non-existent.

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That has changed over the past four weeks, though. It started with the Washington Redskins, recording a single catch, but it was a 42-yard game sealing touchdown. The following week, in Miami, he had one catch for a touchdown, and a 56-yard run for another score. A week ago, in a shootout with the New Orleans Saints, he five receptions and another touchdown. Then, on Saturday, he had a season high 132 yards, including an 80 yarder and his fifth score in his past four games.

Nelson’s five touchdowns is tied for the second most in the NFL behind only teammate David Johnson. The Cardinals have gone 2-2 during this stretch, but Nelson has been a spark for a team going through a tough season.

The Cardinals wide receiver corps has some major question marks going forward, and into 2017. There will likely be some changes next season, with some new faces brought in via free agency or the draft. However, with his stellar play at the end of this season, Nelson has proven he can be a valuable member of the team, and has earned a spot on the team in the future.