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Cardinals’ Byron Murphy, defense bringing MNF confidence vs. Seattle

Arizona Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. (33) breaks up a pass attempt intended for Dallas Cowboys' Cedrick Wilson (11) in the second half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

The Arizona Cardinals have made some noise defensively through the first six games of the season, highlighted by allowing the second-fewest points per game.

In the primetime matchup with the Dallas Cowboys, the Cardinals defense turned up the dial to a higher frequency, forcing four turnovers while recording 3.0 sacks, eight QB hits and seven pass deflections. They limited an offensively sound Cowboys team — albeit one without their star quarterback Dak Prescott — to just 10 points and 344 total yards.

The Cardinals had difference makers all over the gridiron in the 38-10 win, with linebacker Haason Reddick recording two sacks, safety Budda Baker doing just about everything possible — a sack, interception, forced fumble — and defensive back Byron Murphy registering eight tackles and two pass defections.

“Yes, definitely think that was one of my biggest games,” Murphy told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta on Wednesday. “That type of game, Monday Night Football, I had to come to play. One of the biggest games for sure and I just got to keep that going, keep that mindset and keep that confidence going.”

That brewed-up confidence from Arizona’s fourth win of the season will no doubt need to be on display when Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks come to town Sunday.

While the Seahawks defense has been as dreadful as the Cowboys this season, their offense hasn’t missed a beat.

Wilson’s 1,502 yards and 19 touchdowns (first among NFL signal callers) on 72.8% passing has not only kept Seattle afloat but atop the NFC West with a perfect 5-0 start to 2020.

“You know we’re excited for the challenge. The challenge is always something we look forward to,” Murphy said. “Playing against this team undefeated, [Russell Wilson] is playing at a different level, which is great for us. We’re going to have opportunities out there but also just knowing going into the game that it’s going to be a good matchup so we’re going to come in and have to play.

“This is the type of game we got to come ready to play, knowing that they have playmakers, knowing who’s back there at quarterback. It’s just going to give a bigger chip on our shoulder to get ready for Sunday’s game.”

Seattle’s QB play compared to Dallas’ is on different levels since Prescott went down with a fractured ankle. The wide receivers room, however, are quite similar with the playmaking abilities in both.

Second-year wideout D.K. Metcalf has been Wilson’s go-to guy for the big play all season, catching 22 of his 39 targets for 496 yards and five touchdowns (third among NFL receivers). He has eight plays of at least 20 yards or more, pacing the team.

But fellow wide receiver Tyler Lockett isn’t far behind his teammate, with 30 (38 targets) receptions for 342 yards and four scores. David Moore has also been in the mix, hauling in 10 of his 14 targets for 173 yards and two touchdowns.

“Matchup-wise, coming into this game, just like last week, [the Cowboys] got a good receiving corps, the [Seahawks] have a good receiving corps this week,” Murphy said. “We just got to come in, get that game plan ready, lock into that game plan and just come Sunday use what we practiced throughout the whole week and … just figure out what type of [looks] we’re going to get this week with knowing that they’re a good wide receiving corps.”

Sunday afternoon’s billing will be the Cardinals’ ultimate test by far. They missed out on one potential MVP candidate on Monday Night Football. The same can’t be said in Week 7.

The Cardinals defense will need to harness that confidence and keep it locked in throughout the contest. Murphy believes his team is ready for the challenge.

“As a unit we have a standard. We always hold each other to that standard, which is being great,” Murphy said. “That’s gonna help us out a lot, confidence level-wise. Coach Vance Joseph’s making sure we come in there prepared every single week.

“We have a great unit looking out for our guys and always helping each other out. The energy level’s always great with us. Just as a whole unit, we always stick together and we always compete to reach that standard.”


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