Kyle Murray’s very first NFL playoff turned into a devastating loss for the Arizona Cardinals.
Murray is certainly a dynamic QB, though, unfortunately, he got off to a terrible start during Monday Night’s game against the Rams. The Cardinals ended up losing the NFC wild-card game 34-11. The Cardinals were still far behind at 21-0 halfway through the second quarter, even by the time they got their initial first down.
“We didn’t even make it a game,” said Murray in a recent interview. During the game, he received two interceptions and only completed 19 of his 34 passes. In the team’s first four possessions, the Cardinals were three and out, which was the very first time that’s occurred during a game in the playoff in ten seasons.
Many note that right off the bat, Murray was under pressure. In the game’s first half, he was sacked two times. In the second quarter, he threw what fans saw as an extremely unwise pass, which the Rams’ David Long intercepted and returned for a touchdown.
When it came to passing downfield during this game, Murray couldn’t find the success he was looking for. Even with eight long pass attempts over 15 yards, he was only able to successfully complete one. The 11 successful passes were not past the line of scrimmage.
Coming into this tenth game, the Cardinals were rushing 122 yards on average. Cardinals’ coach Kliff Kingsbury noted that the offense was “out of sync” very early one, and there were a “couple of things” they could have done to alter the outcome of the game much earlier on.
The only touchdown the Cardinals received was halfway through the third quarter after a 75-yard drive. James Conner got lucky with his two-yard run into the endzone. Unfortunately, that 75-yard drive was the only time the Cardinals were able to get midway through the field.
Christian Kirk said how difficult it was to get out of the funk after having “negative play after negative play.” Though the team began picking up steam and getting it together by the second half of the game, it was already too late.
This kind of loss is nothing new for the Cardinals under Kingsbury. For the past few seasons, the team has been off to incredible starts, only to slowly collapse as each game stretches on. This season, Arizona was able to take home the first seven games, marking the last team in the NFL without losses. For a while, the team was an NFC favorite.
Before losing four out of five of their final regular-season games, they had a Western two-game lead and an NFC best record. J.J. Watt, the Cardinals’ defensive lineman who recently came back from injured reserve, noted that the team was “capable of doing more” and showed it in the first few games. However, the season is now over for the Cardinals, and hopefully, they can finish off much stronger next year.
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