Cardinals QB Hundley has validating moment in win over Seahawks

Dec 23, 2019, 1:58 PM
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Brett Hundley (7) reacts after making a 14-yard run on a keeper play ...
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Brett Hundley (7) reacts after making a 14-yard run on a keeper play during the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Brett Hundley played three snaps for the Arizona Cardinals during an October blowout against New Orleans. Before that, the backup quarterback hadn’t appeared in a game since New Year’s Eve 2017 as a member of the Green Bay Packers.

So when Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray’s hamstring injury took the starter out early in the third quarter against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Hundley got thrown into action.

“We told him we got his back and let’s play ball. Coming off of the bench at any point of the game other than the first few minutes is tough,” right guard J.R. Sweezy said of Hundley, who like the quarterback made the move from Seattle to Arizona as an offseason free agent.

The Seahawks’ 2018 backup quarterback, who never appeared in a game for Russell Wilson, led Arizona to a decisive 27-13 road win over his former mentor.

It mattered to Hundley considering how long he’d been waiting to play important snaps.

“It was sort of some validation (of) everything that I’ve been doing and confirmation to the work I’ve been putting in,” Hundley told Bickley & Marotta on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “For me, it really was just going out there and having fun. That’s been my mindset from Day 1 since I left Green Bay: I want to make sure when I step in between the white lines I’m just having fun. There were times back then when I wasn’t having fun and I felt like I was in a bubble.”

He didn’t look it for his first meaningful action as a Cardinal.

Arizona’s defense deserves a bit of credit, of course.

The Cardinals began the second half with a forced fumble and got two three-and-outs from the Seahawks — one before and one after Hundley’s first drive that stalled.

For his second time out on the field, Hundley and the offense burned five minutes off the clock on a 10-play drive, but a blocked field goal attempt had the momentum shifting in favor of Seattle. The Seahawks got a field goal out of the special teams gaffe to pull within 20-10, but that’s when Hundley led Arizona on an impressive drive.

He found tight end Maxx Williams for a 28-yard throw on the run and combined for three scrambles that amounted to 32 yards, including one near the goal line where the quarterback cut back to juke an out-of-control defender, picking up a 12-yard gain.

More than anything, Hundley looked in complete command of the offense. He finished the game completing 4 of 9 passes for 49 yards with six rushes for 35 on the ground.

“He’s a guy that takes a lot of pride in his preparation,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “He knows what he likes each and every week in the gameplan. He literally hadn’t gotten one rep as far as gameplan type stuff in four months.

“To see him go out there and execute some of those plays and really just kind of will the team to win, running around, making plays with his feet, it wasn’t always pretty but he found a way. You can see our guys believe in him.”

Extra points

— Kingsbury on if he likes the sound of calling his offense, which is second at 5.06 yards per rush this year, the “Ground Raid”: “Not particularly.”

— As Chandler Jones attempts to build on the Cardinals’ franchise single-season sacks record, he’s also plucking the ball out of opposing quarterbacks’ hands. Said Kingsbury: “He’s going for the ball first. He has a real knack for doing that and targeting that elbow. That’s something that Coach (Bill) Davis preaches and practices, and he puts it too use.”

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