The Consensus Week 3: Cardinals nudge up after close loss in Baltimore

Sep 17, 2019, 6:05 PM
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals talks with quarterback Kyler Murray #1 of the A...
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals talks with quarterback Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals against the Baltimore Ravens during the second half at M&T Bank Stadium on September 15, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

For the second straight week, the Arizona Cardinals made things interesting late, but ultimately couldn’t secure their first win of 2019.

Trailing 20-9 in the fourth quarter, rookie QB Kyler Murray guided the Cardinals on a four-play, 79-yard touchdown drive that was capped off with a two-point conversion to pull Arizona to within three.

After Baltimore added a field goal, the Cardinals had two possessions to win the game, but couldn’t do anything with them and settled for a 23-17 loss.

For the second straight week, Murray threw for more than 300 yards, becoming just the second NFL quarterback to do that in his first two career games.

The loss didn’t do much to sink the optimism the Cardinals were showered with after a furious Week 1 comeback against Detroit. In fact, the Cardinals’ average ranking in The Consensus this week actually rose to 25.6.

High Ranking: 25 (Bleacher Report, Sporting News, Yahoo!)

Low Ranking: 28 (ESPN,, Pro Football Talk)

Week 3 Average Ranking: 26.5 (Up from 27.3 in Week 2)


Week 3 NFL Power Rankings – 1-32 poll, plus the most pleasant surprise for each team

This Week: 28 

Movement: ▲1

Comment: Pleasant surprise: Zane Gonzalez. The kicker has been perfect through two games this season, going 7-for-7, which leads the NFL for most field goals made. While the Cardinals’ offense hasn’t been able to score touchdowns in the red zone, Gonzalez has been steadily putting points on the board. He already has matched his season total of made field goals from last season, which he reached in five games, and is almost halfway to the 15 field goals he made his rookie season in 2017. Gonzalez has the pedigree and skills to keep up this type of efficiency throughout the season, saving the Cardinals whenever they need it.


NFL Power Rankings, Week 3: Cowboys hit top five; Saints sink

This Week: 28 

Movement: ▲2

Comment: Two weeks in, and it’s safe to say Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray won’t be barnstorming across America with an unstoppable, paradigm-shifting offensive attack. There’s no shame in that, of course. That was always presented as an unlikely, best-case scenario for Cardinals faithful. But you want to see more consistency from the unit, and a lot better execution in the red zone. Murray took the Cardinals deep into Ravens territory three times in the first three quarters on Sunday, but Arizona had to settle on field goals of 22, 21 and 21 yards. In a game decided by six points, that hurts. Kingsbury seemed reluctant to trust his running game when the Cards got close to the end zone, instead preferring to run fades to Larry Fitzgerald. In fact, Arizona ran the ball just twice in 10 red zone plays during those stalled field goal drives. Mix it up, boss.


NFL Power Rankings Poll Week 3: Cowboys, Niners and Bills (!) on the Rise

This Week: 28 

Movement: ▼2

Comment: Again, Kyler Murray showed some second-half flair, and Larry Fitzgerald went over 100 yards. They might not win much this year, but the Cards are interesting to watch.


NFL power rankings: Cowboys, Packers join Patriots in top five after Week 2

This Week: 26

Movement: —

Comment: Doubtless one of the strangest sights of the 2019 season will be the image of OLB Terrell Suggs playing in Baltimore while wearing an Arizona uniform.


NFL Power Rankings: Without their star QBs, how far do Saints and Steelers fall?

This Week: 25

Movement: ▲3

Comment: Kliff Kingsbury kicking three field goals from inside the 5-yard line isn’t what you’d expect from someone who is hailed as a young, dynamic offensive mastermind. Those conservative decisions stung in a six-point loss. Kingsbury hopefully is learning that 22-yard field goals won’t win many NFL games.


NFL Week 3 Power Rankings: Cowboys climb into the top five, Steelers tumble after losing Ben Roethlisberger

This Week: 26

Movement: —

Comment: Kyler Murray rolled up some big numbers against the Ravens, but he has to be better in the Red Zone. He is improving.


PFT’s Week Three power rankings

This Week: 28

Movement: —

Comment: So far, so good for Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury — record notwithstanding.


NFL Power Rankings: B/R’s Consensus Rank for Every Team Entering Week 3

This Week: 25

Movement: —

Comment: Through their first two games, the Arizona Cardinals have shown signs of life—and given fans of the team cause for at least some optimism about the future.

The problem is the Cardinals haven’t been showing those signs of life until the fourth quarter, once they’ve fallen behind.

Rookie quarterback Kyler Murray came up just shy of 350 passing yards, but he failed to throw a touchdown pass. The Redbirds made it inside the 10-yard line four times Sunday in Baltimore, but they didn’t find the end zone until the fourth quarter.

Murray’s been fun to watch, and both Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald topped 100 receiving yards against the Ravens.

But the Cardinals aren’t a good enough team to rebound from so many squandered red-zone opportunities.

Until Arizona becomes more efficient in that regard, victories are going to be hard to come by.


NFL power rankings: Seahawks, 49ers, Bills surge; Steelers, Saints tumble in Week 3

This Week: 25

Movement: —

Comment: Kyler Murray kept the Cardinals competitive in another game but ran into a more polished Heisman-winning sensation on the road. The offense has makings of success with Kliff Kingsbury’s exuberance and Larry Fitzgerald’s experience, and the improved defense makes Arizona a trap opponent for everyone, especially when Patrick Peterson returns.



NFL Power Rankings: Ravens keep rolling in Week 2; NFC South opens up as Panthers, Saints plummet

This Week: 26

Movement: —

Comment: When we first started trying to imagine what Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid offense would look like in the NFL, we thought of stats like Kyler Murray throwing for 349 yards (his second consecutive week with more than 300 passing yards) and multiple 100-yard receivers. We never imagined it would include three chip-shot field goals after drives stalled at the 4-, 3- and 2-yard lines. Talk about a buzzkill.


Week 3 NFL Power Rankings

This Week: 27

Movement: ▲4

Comment: The Cardinals look feisty! They won’t garner many wins this season, but they will be a fun team to watch, and that’s all AZ fans ask for after last year.

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The Consensus Week 3: Cardinals nudge up after close loss in Baltimore