Kyler Murray posts 3 TDs, makes sensational plays in Cardinals win
Kyler Murray was a gamechanger for the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday and it was the difference-maker in a 30-15 win over the Washington Football Team.
Murray was 26 of 38 throwing the ball for 286 yards and one touchdown, but for the second straight week, he made the biggest impact on the ground.
The second-year quarterback continues to look like a young signal-caller who trusts his legs more. Murray rushed eight times for 67 yards and two touchdowns.
Through two games, Murray has 158 rushing yards and three touchdowns. It’s the first time in league history that a quarterback has posted those rushing numbers through two games, and he’s on pace to set the rushing record for a quarterback.
Pro Bowl wideout DeAndre Hopkins illustrated after the game why Murray’s running ability affects defenses so much.
“He adds a different dynamic to this offense when he can go and score from 20, 30 yards out,” he said. “It’s something that is hard for defenders to be able to attack when you have a quarterback like that that’s looking to score, not just get the first down.”
Murray put it rather succinctly himself.
“That’s the dynamic that we have in this offense because I’m able to move. It’s a blessing to be able to move fast,” he said.
That type of play Hopkins mentioned was Murray’s second touchdown of the day from 21 yards out.
In the fourth quarter with Arizona up 20-3, Murray scrambled out to the left side of the field and had the daylight to move straight up the field to get vertical.
That’s pretty much curtains for almost any defense, as Murray put on display when he froze Washington’s Troy Apke with some quick feet to find the endzone.
“Once I got a guy 1-on-1, I like my chances,” Murray said.
His first score on the ground wasn’t too shabby, either. At the close of the first quarter, it looked like Murray was going to run out of room near the first-down marker.
Instead, he exploded through a small hole that emerged, making Apke once again look like he had absolutely zero chance of making a tackle.
Murray said all year long during his rookie season that he needed to be able to assess defenses more before he felt good enough to be more mobile, and it certainly looks like he’s reached that threshold.
“It’s more comfortable for me to make something happen,” he said.
While the consistency of that playmaking is something new in a Cardinals uniform, head coach Kliff Kingsbury is more than used to it.
“I’ve watched that since he was 15 years old, and that was a part of his game last year that he was feeling out,” he said. “He’s running more aggressively, he’s getting vertical more.
“That was a point of emphasis for us, because he is one of the most dangerous people probably in the league when he’s in the open field like that.”
Sounds pretty enjoyable for a head coach to watch unfold, right? Not for Kingsbury. Well, at least not in real time.
“I’m always just saying, ‘Get down get down get down get down get down get down,'” Kingsbury said. “So I can’t even enjoy it honestly. The next day I enjoy the runs.”
Murray made big plays with his arm too. He found Andy Isabella for 54 yards, and also Christian Kirk for another 49.
Murray’s first touchdown of the day was to Hopkins, who the Football Team lost in red zone coverage early, an early indicator they were not positioned well for success on Sunday.
Arizona scored the first 20 points of the game and held a 20-0 lead at the half. While the Washington offense did find some semblance of a rhythm in the second half, that cushion was enough for the Cardinals to start the year 2-0.
The cushion, though, was necessary because the Cardinals offense certainly left opportunities on the board. Kingsbury went as far as to call it a “work in progress” for Murray.
Considering what the end result still was, that’s gotta be a terrifying reality for the teams the Cardinals will face the next few weeks.
“I feel like we’re not really scratching the surface yet,” Murray said. “I feel like there’s a lot of work to be done.”