Cardinals RB Kenyan Drake reveling in ref’s compliment
Kenyan Drake drew a compliment from a ref, but it wasn’t for his fourth-quarter touchdown.
The Arizona Cardinals running back gained attention from refs and the San Francisco 49ers defense for a block that led to a 25-yard run by Kyler Murray on 3rd-and-17 in the third quarter of Arizona’s win on Sunday.
“After that play, the ref actually came to me on the sideline the next break and was like, ‘Yeah 41, that’s a great play. That’s going on our teaching tape at the end of the season,'” Drake said.
Creating space and time for Murray to throw or run has been key emphasis for the Cardinals. With a quarterback who can move, the team had been focusing on scramble drills throughout training camp for situations exactly like this one.
“I turned around to try to find a block and I remember at that moment what we talked about in camp about how they were really making an emphasis on blocking back toward our own line of scrimmage,” Drake said.
“So at that moment, I kind of just turned my back to create a wall for Kyler as he uses his obvious great ability to escape the pressure and get the first down.”
What fueled that moment was chippy banter between Drake and 49ers star defensive end Nick Bosa in the previous play after Drake had a false start.
“Bosa was kinda like ‘Oh you want to be in such a hurry to try and chip me or whatever’ and I was like ‘Yeah, cause I was gonna put it on you.’ I guess he kind of took offense to that,” Drake said.
During the next play, Bosa came right for Drake instead of rushing for the tackle.
“Obviously (it) was advantageous for myself because now he’s trying to focus on me instead of trying to get into the backfield,” he added.
Drake shook off Bosa and held off two other 49ers as Murray ran for the first down.
While Drake’s block may or may not end up on NFL refs’ training footage, it will always be a memorable moment for him.
“I guess that’s pretty cool,” he said with a laugh. “I’ve never had a ref come and congratulate me on a play in the middle of a game.”