Cardinals offense ‘not sharp,’ defense keeps Mahomes at bay in loss to Chiefs

Aug 20, 2021, 10:30 PM | Updated: Aug 24, 2021, 7:24 am
Linebacker Zaven Collins #25 of the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of the NFL preseason ga...
Linebacker Zaven Collins #25 of the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of the NFL preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys at State Farm Stadium on August 13, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals saw a good majority of their starters take the field Friday night in the team’s 17-10 preseason loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The results, however, left much to be desired, especially on the offensive end.

Despite getting in a full quarter of work, quarterback Kyler Murray and Co. couldn’t quite find a rhythm, stringing together three three-and-outs before heading to the sideline. The first team was held without a first down and was negative in total yardage (-1).

The signal caller completed just one of his four pass attempts for two yards and was sacked twice. He added another eight yards on his lone carry of the evening.

Wide receiver A.J. Green was targeted just once in his first showing as a Cardinal, while Chase Edmonds and James Conner combined for four yards on three carries.

Wideout DeAndre Hopkins was in uniform but did not play. Fellow starters Maxx Williams (illness) and Justin Pugh (COVID list) also missed Friday’s preseason action.

“Not real sharp offensively, but that happens,” Kingsbury said. “[The Chiefs] played good defensively and we got a lot to work on this week.

“Thought we had a really good week of practice, didn’t execute at a high level tonight, but we’ll take each game week to week,” the head coach added.

Rookie wide receiver Rondale Moore, who again flashed his playmaking abilities with four touches for 24 yards, shared a similar sentiment as Kingsbury.

“I think it gives us something to look forward to on Monday,” Moore said. “Obviously we didn’t execute like we wanted to. Luckily we get to go to the drawing board and figure it out.

“I think it’s inevitable to hold yourself accountable and then go figure it out and see what you can do as a player to help this team, whether that be missed assignments or slipping … you just got to get the job done.”

Despite a rough showing from the starting offense, there were some positive takeaways from the first-team defense against an extended preseason look at Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ starters.

While Mahomes completed 10 of his 18 pass attempts for 78 yards, the signal caller was held out of the end zone over the course of a quarter and a half of football.

Mahomes’ best chance at finding pay dirt came in his final drive of the night. After using 12 plays to get down to the Cardinals’ five-yard line, Mahomes had one last shot at finding the end zone.

But instead of finding a Chief, a scrambling Mahomes found cornerback Byron Murphy, who made an impressive toe-tapping sideline interception to give the Cardinals the ball back.

“It was a great play,” Murphy said. “I just saw the quarterback get out the pocket, knew he was going to roll out to our right and I knew a receiver was either gonna be on the front pylon or the back pylon. I just followed him, he threw the ball and I just made a great play.”

Along with the pick, Murphy finished with three tackles and a pass defensed.

Budda Baker chipped in two tackles in his first preseason action of the year. Inside linebackers Zaven Collins and Isaiah Simmons each had four tackles.

“I thought they played hard,” Kingsbury said of the starting defense. “We were out there way too many plays, obviously when we were going three and out offensively, but I thought the guys battled and to keep that group out of the end zone is pretty impressive.”


– Cardinals safety Shawn Williams led all defenders with seven tackles. Rookie cornerback Tay Gowan was second with six tackles.

– Along with Murphy, safety Charles Washington came down with an interception Friday night, picking off Shane Buechele early in the fourth quarter.

– Quarterback Chris Streveler found tight end Ross Travis on a 20-yard pass play in the fourth quarter for the Cardinals’ lone touchdown of the evening.

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