Hightower rides highs and lows to Super Bowl

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TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- It's been a long season for Tim Hightower, and it's not over.

Hightower replaced Edgerrin James as the starting running back before fading down the stretch.

After losing his job to James in the playoffs, Hightower came up with three of the biggest plays in Arizona's NFC championship victory over Philadelphia.

Since then, Hightower has been too absorbed preparing to face the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl to reflect on the season. But he said he appreciates the journey to this point.

In a reserve role, Hightower ran for a score in the playoff opener against Atlanta, then rushed for 76 yards and caught a touchdown pass in the second-round victory over Carolina.

Then came the NFC championship, when Hightower etched his name in Cardinals history.

He made three of the biggest plays in the 14-play, 72-yard march that produced the decisive score in Arizona's 32-25 victory over the Eagles.