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Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury: ‘We’re a work in progress’

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 17: Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Arizona Cardinals watches from the sidelines during the first half of the NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on November 17, 2019 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The Arizona Cardinals lost their fourth game in a row on Sunday, a 36-26 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

It’s the second time the Cardinals have lost to their NFC West rivals in three weeks. The 49ers won the previous matchup on Halloween, 28-25.

And if it wasn’t for a San Francisco scoop-and-score on the final play of the game, both defeats would’ve been by a combined seven points.

“As a coach, you’re always going to disappointed when you don’t find a way to win — just critical moments,” Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury told 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Bickley & Marotta on Monday.

“We haven’t made the plays and the other teams have and that’s something we have to figure out going into these last five (games) and I think the bye comes at a good time, even though we want to get back out there after a tough loss and play again. It gives us a time to detach and self-scout and see where we’re at and try to make improvements going forward.”

Seven of Arizona’s 11 games this season have been decided by one-score or less, going 3-3-1 in that span, four of which were on the road.

Three of those games were against the 49ers (twice) and Baltimore Ravens, who have a combined record of 17-3 on the 2019 campaign.

“It’s all three phases,” Kingsbury said. “We’ve had opportunities on offense to put teams away and haven’t got it done.

“We’re a work in progress and if I had the answer, we would’ve got that done already. But we’re going to continue to work and learn how to finish games and learn how to win games. I’m excited about these last five (games) to see how good we can be.”

The biggest improvement and bright spot for the Cardinals this season has been rookie quarterback Kyler Murray. No doubt. It’s noticeable. He jumps off the TV screen with his ability to elude pressure and extend plays with his speed.

But what’s been so impressive about the No. 1 overall pick is not only can he make plays at a high level, but Murray’s decision making this season has been impressive for a rookie. He has only thrown five interceptions this year, the same as Tom Brady and Lamar Jackson, and one less than Deshaun Watson.

Perhaps that has to do with the fact that Murray ranks 24th and 25th in air yards per attempt (3.6) and air yards per completion (5.5), respectively, meaning Kingsbury’s scheme has his quarterback throwing shorter passes more often than not.

“I’m comfortable (with it) as long as we win the game. I don’t look into too much of that. Had a huge pass interference call on a big gain, had a big one across the middle that was dropped that would’ve been a huge gain,” Kingsbury said of Sunday’s game against the 49ers.

“I thought that he took care of the football. I thought he got it out of his hand, which against that team with that rush, that was the plan — to try and stop negative plays and score touchdowns. I thought he was very efficient. I thought he ran the ball well and made good decisions most of the day.”

The Cardinals will head into their Week 12 bye at 3-7-1 with five games left in 2019, the next three of which will be at home before ending the season on a two-game road trip.

And with this being Kingsbury’s first season as an NFL head coach, he was asked what he’ll do during the extra week off now that he’s no longer a college coach.

“It’ll be nice to not be tweeting or texting recruits, I can say that,” Kingsbury said. “That’ll be a good changeup. Other than that, I’ll get away for a couple days and try to get ahead of the Rams and do some self-scout and just try to be better when we come back.”

Arizona returns to action on Sunday, Dec. 1, as the Cardinals will host the division rival Los Angeles Rams at State Farm Stadium.

You can catch all the action on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

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