Cardinals CB Byron Murphy stuffs stat sheet in win over Jaguars
Sep 26, 2021, 3:38 PM
(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Fool me twice, shame on me.
Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill caught Arizona Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy looking with a flea flicker over the top to the tune of 39 yards in Week 1.
After watching the ball sail over his head in the season opener, Murphy wasn’t about to let the same thing happen twice.
So when the Jacksonville Jaguars turned to the trick play Sunday, Murphy was more than ready.
With time winding down in the third quarter and Jacksonville finding it’s legs in the running game, the Jaguars looked to swing momentum squarely back in their favor with the flea flicker attempt.
Instead, rookie Trevor Lawrence was greeted by an intense Cardinals pass rush before throwing the ball near the sideline. Murphy had a read on it the whole time, not only making the interception, but taking it to the house to give Arizona the lead for good.
“I knew a shot was gonna come,” Murphy told Cardinals reporter Paul Calvisi on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station after the game. “I saw the ball in the running back’s hand, he pitched it back and I just turned my head and ran. Thank God the ball came to me, got the pick, but … had to make up for the last one I gave up.
“I saw the end zone, house call,” Murphy added.
It was undoubtedly a turning point for the Cardinals, who bounced back from a rough first half on their way to the 31-19 road victory.
“That was huge, you could feel the momentum change on that play,” Kingsbury told reporters Sunday. “We had our hands on balls earlier and we weren’t able to put them away and that really changed everything. I think everyone felt like we had it under control at that moment.”
Murphy’s pick-six may have been one of the biggest highlights of the afternoon, but it wasn’t the cornerback’s only big play over the course of 60 minutes Sunday.
Five plays into the second quarter, Murphy came up big with the Jaguars driving deep into Cardinals territory. Looking to tie things up at 7-7, Lawrence went to the air in hopes of finding tight end Jacob Hollister on the other end. The pass was on target, but Hollister was met by linebacker Jordan Hicks, who jarred the ball out of the tight end’s hands. Murphy was there to seize the opportunity with an interception.
Murphy proved to be Arizona’s defensive catalyst in the comeback win, recording the two picks to go along with four tackles and two passes defensed.
The corner is the first Cardinal to record two interceptions in a game since Antoine Bethea did so against the New York Giants in 2017.
It was a stellar showing from Murphy, who feels he’s still ascending in his young NFL career.
“I would say yes, right now [I’m playing the best football of my career right], but I could still do better,” Murphy said. “Still got a lot in the tank, just gotta keep going and stay locked in.”