Kyler Murray, Cardinals surge after sluggish start, now 7-0
Conner caps blowout
If you can believe it, the Cardinals trailed, 5-0, to the Texans about 20 minutes into game action. From there, it was all Arizona, which easily scored 31 straight points while shutting down anything Houston tried to accomplish on offense. The Cardinals’ last score came via James Conner, who juked his way into the end zone from 18 yards out.
Murray, Ertz in a groove
Ertz has only been in Arizona for about a week, but he already seems to have good chemistry to his new quarterback. The former Eagles Pro Bowler has caught three passes for 66 yards against the Texans, with the highlight play being a nifty 47-yard catch-and-run score to extend the Cardinals’ lead.
Kyler Murray knows how to protect himself, rarely taking many big hits. The Texans, though, got some shots in on the quarterback, giving the Cardinals a scare early in the game.
Murray was sacked four times and hit five other times in the pocket. In addition, he took a vicious blow from Maliek Collins, who was cited for roughing the passer, and Murray was shaken up briefly on a safety when Jacob Martin got away with grabbing Murray by the facemask to keep him in the end zone.
Murray said he had a “little bruise, little dead leg for a second.”
“I took some shots today,” Murray said, via Darren Urban of the team website.
Murray went into the blue medical tent after Martin’s facemask grab, but Murray insisted afterward he has no ill effects from the illegal hit.
“For him to go in the tent, I think it brings a little awareness to everybody, a little panic,” receiver DeAndre Hopkins said. “He’s tough. He bounced right back.”
The Cardinals have a quick turnaround, playing the Packers on Thursday night. Coach Kliff Kingsbury said the Cardinals will be smart with Murray at practice this week.
He came off the line of scrimmage on first-and-10 from the Houston Texans‘ 47 with 8:08 left in the third quarter and took a hit from a Texans linebacker after about four yards before continuing his route. Ertz curled toward the Houston sideline, catching a pass from quarterback Kyler Murray that traveled 18 yards in the air.
Ertz did the rest with a little help from wide receiver Christian Kirk, who threw a late block in the final few yards, to help put the Cardinals ahead 24-5.
It was the longest touchdown of Ertz’s career and only his second receiving TD that traveled at least 15 yards in the air since 2018.
He had nine from 2013 to 2017, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Of Ertz’s 38 regular-season receiving touchdowns with Philadelphia, only one was more than 30 yards — and that was seven years ago.
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) October 24, 2021
Kyler Murray throws three touchdown passes in 31-5 rout
The information had already spread around the Cardinals Saturday night, that coach Kliff Kingsbury had one negative Covid test under his belt and a likely second one Sunday morning would get him back on the field.
So it didn’t surprise quarterback Kyler Murray to wake to the news Kingsbury would be on the sideline – “I didn’t have a party or anything like that,” Murray said with a smile – and that the Cardinals would be back to normal.
The result looked right Sunday, as the Cardinals routed the Houston Texans, 31-5, at State Farm Stadium. Murray threw three touchdown passes, so that part played out correctly, and the defense dominated – again – in shutting out the Texans (1-6) in the second half and allowing only 160 yards total. That tracked.
So did the Cardinals running their record to 7-0 on the season, equaling the 1974 team’s best start in franchise history and allowing for a chance to break it Thursday night at home against the 6-1 Packers.
Kingsbury, however, said he didn’t feel as “connected” as he usually, would have, not without the ability to call the plays he did Sunday multiple times in practice the week leading into the game.
“It just felt funky,” Kingsbury said. “Usually, I’ve called those plays over and over throughout the week. Kyler (Murray) and I have had that dialogue. That was the first time we’d even gone over them was out there.
“It just didn’t feel like the same type of rhythm, same type of comfort level. I just felt more on edge than I normally do after six days of preparation.”
Yet it didn’t matter. Sure, the Cardinals were trailing, 5-0, one play into the second quarter. A Murray run was stuffed in the end zone, leaving Murray bruised (he said he was OK) and the Texans with a safety. It was the first time the Cards had trailed in a game since the Rams took a 10-7 lead in Week Four.
But by the end of the game, Murray had thrown touchdown passes to DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk and new tight end Zach Ertz – the latter a 47-yard catch-and-run that was the longest score of Ertz’s career and made him the first player in NFL history to catch touchdowns for two different teams in back-to-back weeks. (Ertz scored a TD a week ago Thursday in his final game with the Eagles in Week Six.)
A.J. Green set up a touchdown on a perfect 41-yard throw from Murray, and the running back tandem of James Conner and Chase Edmonds combined for another 145 yards rushing.
“It felt like everything was back to normal,” said Hopkins, who had seven catches for 53 yards. “We wanted to come out and be dominant.”
Part of that was because Hopkins and defensive lineman J.J. Watt were playing against their former team for the first time. Linebacker Markus Golden said Watt gathered the team on Wednesday last week, telling the players how much this game meant to him.
Hopkins insisted he wasn’t thinking in those terms.
“This team, we’ve got bigger goals,” he said. “I didn’t want to make it a thing.”
It wasn’t for the defense, anyway. Watt didn’t get a sack – although he came within an eyelash of bringing down rookie Davis Mills before Mills somehow threw it away – but Golden had two sacks, including a forced fumble that led to a scoring drive.
The unit was perfect defending fourth downs – two more pelts on the wall – and allowed season-lows in points, total yards, net rushing yards, net passing yards and first downs. The Texans never got inside the Arizona 35-yard line.
“I think everybody is on the same page, which is Green Bay,” linebacker Isaiah Simmons said. “The win was nice, but it’s a game we felt we should’ve won, and we did. Now it’s on to the next.
“There’s not really time to enjoy it. We play in, like, 96 hours. But I never take a win for granted, because it’s hard to win.”
The Cardinals have been so good this season, it hasn’t just been the wins now but how they happen. Murray, as he is prone to do, lamented what they needed to improve upon. The first quarter, with penalties and pass protection and some inconsistent snaps from backup center Max Garcia, wasn’t pretty.
In the end, however, they were only three yards short of posting their fifth game of the season with 30 points and 400 yards. They were able to drop yet another weapon into the offense with Ertz – who made excellent catches on two of his three grabs and couldn’t help but feel excited of what is to come.
“I’ve never seen so much green grass in the middle of the field,” Ertz said.
Ertz didn’t get to meet Kingsbury in person until Sunday morning, having arrived in trade physically after Kingsbury was banished from the facility because of Covid. Finally, the Cardinals will have everyone together for whatever practice they are able to have, given the short week and the Packers game looming.
Kingsbury should feel all the way back by then. That portends well for the Cardinals.
“Our job is to execute what is called,” Murray said. “I’m sure he felt a little bit off, but we still put up 31.”
Hello, 7-0: Arizona Cardinals defense flexes in win against Houston Texans
The 1-5 Houston Texans gave the 6-0 Arizona Cardinals an injury scare and the opposing offensive line fits in the first half.
Yet, the Cardinals pulled away to win 31-5 on Sunday after they finally found a rhythm on offense following two punts and a safety on their first three drives.
Their defense had a full game of success.
It allowed one score, a 53-yard field goal that ended a 25-yard drive that began at Houston’s own 40-yard line. That made it 5-0 to begin the second quarter, but it was all Cardinals from there.
The Texans’ drives with rookie quarterback Davis Mills leading the offense went like so: Punt, punt, field goal, fumble, punt, end of half, punt, punt, punt, turnover on downs, punt and turnover on downs.
Houston put up 160 total yards. Arizona rolled up 397 on the day.
Despite taking four sacks and even more hits, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray went 20-of-28 for 261 yards, throwing touchdowns to DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk and newcomer Zach Ertz.
There was an injury scare for Murray: On Arizona’s third possession of the then-scoreless game, Murray was tackled in the end zone with 2:58 left in the first quarter, giving Houston a 2-0 lead on the safety. Defensive end Jacob Martin grabbed the side of Murray’s facemask and nearly removed the quarterback’s helmet, and Murray went into the blue injury tent briefly after the play.
It wasn’t the first red flag regarding Arizona’s offensive line.
Murray threw for two first downs on the first two offensive plays of the game but was sacked twice and landed on a bad snap at points during Arizona’s first two possessions, both leading to punts.
After the safety on the third, the Cardinals found their balance.
They put together a 14-play drive after Houston went ahead 5-0 on a field goal. The 75 yards ended with Hopkins scoring a 1-yard touchdown against his former team that traded him to Arizona before the 2020 season.
Then, Cardinals linebacker Markus Golden with six minutes before the halftime break recorded a strip-sack of Houston quarterback Davis Mills and recovered the fumble — his second sack of the day.
The Cardinals offense followed with a 49-yard drive highlighted by a 3rd-and-24 conversion on a 41-yard catch by A.J. Green and capped by a Kirk touchdown reception to put Arizona ahead 14-5.
Arizona’s defense earned another stop and with 1:37 remaining before the half drove into the red zone to close the second quarter with a 31-yard Matt Prater field goal.
Houston produced just 83 total yards of offense in the first half as Mills went 10-of-12 for 72 yards and the run game averaged 3.1 yards per pop on nine carries.
The Cardinals responded quickly in the second half, as Murray hit Ertz for a 47-yard catch-and-run before adding a fourth-quarter touchdown to seal it.
Arizona CardinalsArizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury would rather have last week’s scenario over this week’s. Kingsbury was scratched two days prior to Arizona facing the Cleveland Browns on the road because he tested positive for COVID-19. The moment he found out late that Friday, it was not ideal. “I don’t even want to get into that, […]
1. The No. 1 team in the NFL, remains the Arizona Cardinals. The franchise is 7-0 for the first time since it left St. Louis following the 1987 season, embarrassing the Browns 37-14 in Cleveland on Sunday and their 31-5 win over the Houston Texans to move to 7-0 on the season. After beating the Houston Texans, the Cards matched their 1974 brethren for the hottest start in club annals.
1a. And in the ever-evolving MVP race, Arizona QB Kyler Murray appeared to create some breathing room from the pack after totally outclassing the Browns’ Baker Mayfield, Murray’s former teammate at the University of Oklahoma and a fellow Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall draft pick. Murray matched his career high, established in Week 1 of this season, with four TD passes in Cleveland and now has 14 this season.
Kyler Murray No. 1 – Arizona Cardinals Position: Quarterback Personal information Born: August 7, 1997
Height: 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) Weight: 207 lb (94 kg) Career information High school: Allen (Allen, Texas) College: NFL Draft: 2019 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1 Career history Roster status: Active Career highlights and awards
- Pro Bowl (2020)
- NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (2019)
- PFWA All-Rookie Team (2019)
- Heisman Trophy (2018)
- Davey O’Brien Award (2018)
- AP College Football Player of the Year (2018)
- First-team All-American (2018)
- Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year (2018)
- First-team All-Big 12 (2018)
- 2× Mr. Texas Football (2013, 2014)
- 2× USA Today All-American (2013, 2014)
Career NFL statistics as of Week 6, 2021
TD–INT: 60–28 Passing yards: 9,434 Completion percentage: 67.0 Passer rating: 94.7 Rushing yards: 1,479 Rushing touchdowns: 18 Player stats at NFL.com · PFR
Kyler Cole Murray (born August 7, 1997) is an American football quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the Texas A&M Aggies and Oklahoma Sooners. He also played as an outfielder for the Oklahoma Sooners baseball team. He won the 2014 Gatorade Football Player of the Year award as a senior in high school. He started his college career at Texas A&M, only playing one season for the Aggies before transferring to Oklahoma. Due to NCAA transfer rules, he wasn’t able to play for the 2016 season. During his 2017 college season, he served as a backup to starting quarterback Baker Mayfield.
In 2018, Murray was named the starting quarterback. Murray immediately made an impact, leading his conference in passing yards and touchdowns, as well as setting a Big 12 single-season passer rating record with a 199.2 passer rating. He was named AP College Football Player of the Year and was awarded the Heisman Trophy for his performance.
Following Mayfield, Murray was drafted first overall himself by the Cardinals in the 2019 NFL Draft. He was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year after setting multiple Cardinals franchise rookie passing records. During his second season in 2020, he made the Pro Bowl. He was also drafted ninth overall by the Oakland Athletics in the 2018 MLB draft, making him the first player ever to be drafted in the first rounds of both sports.
High school career
Murray was born in Bedford, Texas, to Kevin Murray and Misun Henderson. He attended Allen High School in Allen, Texas. As a senior in 2014, he was the Gatorade Football Player of the Year. His team won three straight state championships and 43 games in a row. He missed one start during this streak and finished his career with a perfect 42–0 record as a starting quarterback.
Murray was ranked by ESPN, Scout.com, and 247Sports as a five-star recruit and the best dual-threat quarterback in his class. In May 2014, he committed to Texas A&M University to play college football and college baseball. He officially signed with them on February 4, 2015.
Year Passing Rushing Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Att Yds Avg TD 2012 153 249 61.4 2,040 17 5 188 1,370 7.3 25 2013 207 325 63.7 3,669 46 9 151 1,274 8.4 19 2014 278 433 64.2 4,713 54 8 151 1,495 9.9 25 Total 638 1,007 63.4 10,386 117 22 490 4,139 8.4 69 Source:
Murray also played baseball and was considered one of the top prospects for the 2015 Major League Baseball draft. In high school, Murray was a shortstop and a second baseman. He was the first player to ever be selected for both the Under Armour All-America Baseball Game and Under Armour All-America Football Game.
As a true freshman in 2015, Murray competed with Kyle Allen before the season for the starting quarterback position. Allen won the job, with Murray appearing in games as a backup (primarily on plays involving the wildcat formation). After the team lost two straight games in October, the competition was opened again prior to the South Carolina game, and Murray won the starting quarterback position. In his first start, Murray threw for 223 yards and rushed for 156 yards with a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown, making him and Cam Newton the only Southeastern Conference quarterbacks in the past 20 years to gain over 100 yards passing and rushing, including a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown in their first career start.
In his second start the next game against Auburn, Murray threw for 105 yards while throwing three interceptions, and rushing for 37 yards in the 26–10 loss. He rebounded from his previous game the next week against Western Carolina, throwing for 191 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, while rushing for 50 yards in the 41–17 blowout win. After the game, Allen was named the starting quarterback and Murray was sidelined for the rest of the season. On December 24, 2015, Murray announced that he was transferring to the University of Oklahoma. Per NCAA transfer rules, he had to miss the 2016 season.
In the 2017 season, Murray was a backup quarterback to Baker Mayfield. He got the opportunity to play in some games in relief of Mayfield. He made his season debut in the season opener against UTEP. In the 56–7 victory, he came into the game in the second half and finished 10-of-11 for 149 yards and a touchdown. Two weeks later, against Tulane, he hit all three pass attempts for 103 yards and a touchdown. On November 25, against West Virginia, he started the game after Mayfield had to sit out some of the game due to disciplinary actions in the previous game against the Kansas Jayhawks. In the game, he hit both pass attempts for 52 total yards and a touchdown while contributing 80 rushing yards on three carries.
Oklahoma considered Murray and Austin Kendall to start at quarterback in 2018. Murray was chosen as the starting quarterback. He threw for more than 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns in the 2018 regular season, and rushed for over 1,000 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns. In December 2018, Murray was awarded the Heisman Trophy as the best collegiate football player in the country, giving Oklahoma back-to-back Heisman winners. Murray helped lead Oklahoma to a Big 12 Championship and an appearance in the College Football Playoff. In the 2018 Orange Bowl against Alabama, he had 308 passing yards and two passing touchdowns as the Sooners fell by a score of 45–34. Murray became only the third Heisman Trophy winner to not be awarded consensus All-American honors.
Legend Led the Big 12 Big 12 record Bold Career high
Year Team Passing Rushing Cmp Att Pct Yds TD Int Rate Att Yds Avg TD 2015 Texas A&M 72 121 59.5 686 5 7 109.2 53 335 6.3 1 2016 Oklahoma Did not play due to NCAA transfer rules 2017 18 21 85.7 359 3 0 276.5 14 142 10.1 0 2018 260 377 69.0 4,361 42 7 199.2 140 1,001 7.2 12 Total 350 519 67.4 5,406 50 14 181.3 207 1,478 7.1 13
Murray opted out of the MLB draft after deciding to attend Texas A&M. He was initially set to play as an infielder for the Texas A&M Aggies baseball team in the 2016 season until he announced his departure from Texas A&M on December 17, 2015.
Murray played for the Oklahoma Sooners baseball team in 2017 as a left fielder. He had a .122 batting average and six runs batted in (RBIs) in 27 games. After the 2017 season, he played collegiate summer baseball for the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod Baseball League. In 2018, playing as a centerfielder, Murray batted .296 with 10 home runs, 47 RBIs, and 10 stolen bases.
Despite Murray’s reported intention to continue his football career, the Oakland Athletics selected Murray with the ninth overall selection of the 2018 MLB draft. He signed a contract with the Athletics which included a $4.66 million signing bonus. Prior to his junior year with the football team, Murray said that he would report to spring training in 2019 to begin his professional baseball career. However, following his Heisman Trophy-winning 2018 season, he would forgo his senior year and enter the NFL Draft. The A’s retain his rights, should he return to baseball.
Some believed that Murray’s pursuit of a football career at the expense of a potential one in baseball was a mistake because of his limited stature relative to a typical NFL quarterback. At the NFL Combine, Murray was not expected to match his listed height of 5’10”, because colleges often exaggerate measurements to make players more attractive to professional teams. Murray’s final measurements were 5’10 1/8″ and 207 pounds, similar to that of Seattle Seahawks starting quarterback Russell Wilson. Despite not taking part in individual drills at the combine, many saw Murray’s draft stock improve because of his greater-than-expected measurements. In contrast, NFL Network reporter Charley Casserly said that Murray had “the worst report I’ve ever heard on a top-ranked quarterback from the interview part of it”, though Murray’s agent disputed this report. Gil Brandt also questioned the veracity of Casserly’s assertions. He was ranked as the best quarterback prospect available by multiple outlets and sports websites
Pre-draft measurables Height Weight Arm length Hand size Wonderlic 5 ft 10+1⁄8 in
20 All values from NFL combine
Murray was drafted first overall by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2019 NFL Draft, becoming the shortest quarterback drafted in the first round (Johnny Manziel was 5’11” 3/4″). When leading Texas Tech‘s football program, Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said that he would hypothetically spend the draft’s top selection on Murray. The pick made Murray the first player to be drafted in the first round of both the NFL and MLB drafts, the first time that two quarterbacks from the same university have gone in the first round in successive seasons after Baker Mayfield was selected first in the 2018 NFL Draft and the first quarterback under 6 feet selected number one in an NFL draft. On May 9, 2019, Murray signed his four year rookie contract, worth $35.2 million with the Cardinals
Murray played his first NFL game on September 8, 2019 against the Detroit Lions, finishing with 308 passing yards, two touchdowns, and an interception as the game ended in a 27–all tie. Murray led the Cardinals to a comeback in the fourth quarter from a 16-point deficit, joining Jake Plummer as the only Cardinals rookie quarterbacks to throw for 300 yards and two touchdowns since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. During Week 2 against the Baltimore Ravens, Murray finished with 349 passing yards as the Cardinals lost 17–23. In Week 4 against the Seattle Seahawks, Murray threw for 241 yards and a pick-six and rushed four times for 27 yards and his first NFL rushing touchdown in the 27–10 loss. In the next game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Murray threw for 253 yards and rushed for 93 yards and a touchdown in the 26–23 victory. During Week 6 against the Atlanta Falcons, Murray threw for 340 yards and three touchdowns and rushed 11 times for 32 yards in a narrow 34–33 victory. He was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance. In Week 10, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he had 324 passing yards, three touchdowns, and one interception in the 30–27 loss. In Week 11 against the San Francisco 49ers, Murray threw for 150 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 67 yards and a touchdown in the 36–26 loss.
In Week 16 against the Seattle Seahawks, Murray threw for 118 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 40 yards before exiting the game due to a hamstring injury. Without Murray, the Cardinals won the game 27–13. Before the regular season finale against the Los Angeles Rams, Murray was listed as a game time decision with a hamstring injury and ultimately played in the game despite being hurt. During the game, Murray threw for 325 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions during the 31–24 loss. Afterwards, Cardinals’ head coach Kliff Kingsbury said that “It’s the most proud I’ve been of him all season.”
Murray finished his rookie season with 3,722 passing yards, 20 passing touchdowns, and 12 interceptions to go along with 544 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns on 93 carries and was named a Pro Bowl Alternate. At the NFL Honors on February 1, Murray won the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award for his performance during the season.
In Week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers, Murray finished with 230 passing yards, one passing touchdown, an interception to go along with 91 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown in the 24–20 win. In Week 2 against the Washington Football Team, Murray passed for 286 yards, one passing touchdown, and one interception to go along with eight carries for 67 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in the 30–15 victory. During Week 5 against the New York Jets, Murray finished with 380 passing yards, 31 rushing yards, two total touchdowns, and one interception as the Cardinals won 30–10. On October 14, 2020, Murray was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance in Week 5. In Week 7 against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday Night Football, Murray completed 34 of 48 passes for 360 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception plus ran 14 times for 67 yards and scored a rushing touchdown as the Cardinals beat the previously undefeated Seahawks 37–34 in overtime. Murray was also named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance in Week 7. In Week 9, against the Miami Dolphins, he had 283 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, 106 rushing yards, and one rushing touchdown in the 34–31 loss.
In Week 10 against the Buffalo Bills, Murray passed for 245 yards, one passing touchdown, and one interception to go along with 11 carries for 61 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. He helped the Cardinals mount a comeback win in the final seconds; down 26–30, the Cardinals drove down to the Buffalo 43-yard line with 11 seconds to go before Murray scrambled out of the pocket and connected with DeAndre Hopkins, who was surrounded by three Bills defenders, on a Hail Mary pass. The resulting touchdown, dubbed the “Hail Murray” by the media, allowed Arizona to win 32–30 and take the division lead in the NFC West. In Week 15 against the Philadelphia Eagles, Murray threw for 406 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception and rushed for 29 yards and another touchdown during the 33–26 win. He later earned the NFC Offensive Player of the Week award for his performance.
During Week 2 against the Minnesota Vikings, Murray finished with 400 passing yards, 31 rushing yards, two interceptions, and four total touchdowns as the Cardinals narrowly won 34–33 due to the Vikings missing a field goal with three seconds left in the fourth quarter. He was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his Week 2 performance.
NFL career statistics
Year Team Games Passing Rushing Sacks Fumbles GP GS Comp Att Pct Yds Avg TD Int Rtg Att Yds Avg TD Sck SckY Fum Lost 2019 ARI 16 16 349 542 64.4 3,722 6.9 20 12 87.4 93 544 5.9 4 48 309 5 2 2020 ARI 16 16 375 558 67.2 3,971 7.1 26 12 94.3 133 819 6.2 11 27 176 9 4 2021 ARI 6 6 144 195 73.8 1,741 8.9 14 4 116.2 37 116 3.1 3 12 107 6 0 Career 38 38 868 1,295 67.0 9,434 7.3 60 28 94.7 263 1,479 5.6 18 87 592 20 6
Cardinals franchise records
- Most games started by a rookie quarterback – 16
- Most pass completions by a rookie – 349
- Most pass attempts by a rookie – 542
- Highest completion percentage by a rookie (at least 2 completions) – 64.4%
- Most passing yards by a rookie – 3,722
- Most passing touchdowns by a rookie – 20
- Highest passer rating by a starting rookie – 87.4
- Most yards per game by a rookie – 232.6
- Most wins by a rookie quarterback – 5
- Most rushing yards by a rookie quarterback – 544
- Most rushing touchdowns by a rookie quarterback – 4
- Most rushing yards per game by a rookie quarterback – 34.0
- Interception percentage in a career – 2.2
Murray is a Christian. Murray’s father, Kevin Murray, was a quarterback at Texas A&M from 1983 to 1986. His uncle, University of Texas alumnus Calvin Murray, is a former professional baseball player for the San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, and Chicago Cubs. Murray is a third-generation Korean American, with his maternal grandmother being a South Korean national.
Resilient Cardinals get by Texans, set up Thursday showdown vs. Packers
The NFL is unforgiving and unpredictable. The hardest games to win are the ones that look the easiest. The most dangerous opponents are often the bad teams that are still playing hard.
The Arizona Cardinals encountered and escaped both on Sunday. But not without some scar tissue and flop sweat.
Their 31-5 victory over the Houston Texans provided the essential outcome. The Cardinals have been the NFL’s only unbeaten team since Week 4 and keep winning despite a growing target on their backs. It also sets the stage for a home showdown against the 6-1 Green Bay Packers, easily one of the biggest games in the history of Thursday Night Football.
After a head-scratching first quarter Sunday, the game was yet another showcase for Kyler Murray, who ignited his team with an array of exquisite passes and dazzling footwork. He solidified his reputation as the league’s most dangerous player, especially on third-and-long and fourth down conversions.
Murray was also harassed, abused, sacked and hit more often than at any point in the season. Once, he was crushed for a safety. Once, he disappeared into the medical tent. Twice, he took blows to the helmet. Twice, he laid motionless on the field, scaring the wits out of the fan base.
The game illustrated Murray’s toughness. It was further testament to his emotional maturity, a player no longer marginalized by his own frustrations.
Still, the pounding he absorbed was exactly what the Cardinals wanted to avoid. Let’s hope he shows no lingering physical effects from this performance, especially with the Packers on deck.
“We didn’t protect as well as we would’ve liked,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “But he had a good look in his eye the entire game …”
Still, the Cardinals offense shouldn’t have struggled so mightily. Not with the return of Kingsbury, who was cleared to return at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday and admitted feeling “funky” and as “disconnected” as he’s ever felt on the sidelines. And not with the debut of Zach Ertz, who is already a fan favorite, whose 47-yard touchdown reception on Sunday was the longest of his career.
But there was a fear a pass-catching tight end might negatively impact the Cardinals’ sturdiness upfront, at the point of attack. Coincidence or not, that certainly happened on Sunday, when the offensive line flopped and slogged, particularly guard Josh Jones.
Fortunately, the Texans offense posed no real threat, especially with Golden on a tear and Isaiah Simmons fast becoming a legitimate menace. The Arizona defense has allowed only 40 points in the second half all season, which speaks to coordinator Vance Joseph’s ability to make the necessary tweaks and adjustments.
“I don’t see a weak link anywhere on our defense,” Simmons said.
In the end, this victory speaks to internal resiliency.
Arizona’s worst performances of the season have come against two bottom-feeding teams, the Jaguars and Texans. And yet they eventually won both of those games by comfortable margins: 12 and 26 points, respectively.
Here’s more good news: The Cardinals have been at their very best against the very best, demolishing the Titans, the Rams and Browns on the road. And now comes the toughest test of all, a home game that might feel like a road game against the NFL’s reigning MVP.