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Cardinals’ Kyler Murray sacked once, learning to be ‘smarter’ with football

(AP Photo/Gary Landers)

One of the biggest knocks on Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray this season has been his ability, or lack thereof, to get the ball out of his hands when the defense is bearing down.

Through four games, the QB had been sacked a total of 20 times, leading the league.

It was a different story Sunday afternoon.

“Today was a huge step for Kyler,” Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones told reporters after the game. “I preach this all the time, I’m Kyler’s biggest fan and today he showed a lot of poise. He seemed more calm and confident in the pocket.”

Looking like he had taken what he learned over the first four weeks, the rookie was much more aware of his surroundings, getting the ball out when nothing was there while taking one sack in a 26-23 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

“I needed to be smarter in the past couple of games and trying not to take negative plays,” Murray told reporters after the game. “Every Sunday is an opportunity for me to get better in any facet of the game and I think I did that today as far as throwing the ball away.”

Before the one-sack outing, Murray’s lowest sack total was three (Week 2), with his highest being at eight (Week 3).

“My two favorite plays were where one screen he threw away and then [another] he threw away,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury told reporters. “That’s progress. I think you see not nearly as many negative plays, we had some penalties that really hurt us on big plays, but not many sacks and he was throwing the ball away. So if we can stay on schedule with that it’s going to be big.”

It wasn’t just Murray’s awareness either as the offensive line had one of its better showings of the season.

The rushing attack exploded with the Bengals’ defense having to play Murray honestly.

The combination of David Johnson (91), Chase Edmonds (68) and Murray (93) combined for 252 yards and two scores on 35 touches, helping dictate much of the game.

“I saw it early on, he can really scoot,” wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said of Murray. “That’s what he looks like, he’s scooting.”

“Kyler’s elusive, man,” Johnson added. “He’s fast, he’s quick and it showed off.”

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