Gameday leftovers: INTs aside, Cardinals’ Kyler Murray’s accuracy on point

Sep 27, 2021, 11:57 AM | Updated: 12:15 pm
Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates a rushing touchdown by James Conner #6 (not pic...
Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates a rushing touchdown by James Conner #6 (not pictured) against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the fourth quarter at TIAA Bank Field on September 26, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray has found his mark more times than not in 2021.

Sunday’s game was a prime example.

Murray completed a career best 82.3% of his throws (28-of-34) for 316 yards as the Cardinals bounced back after a sluggish first half to knock off the Jacksonville Jaguars 31-19 for the team’s third straight win to start the season.

The performance marked the second time in two games Murray completed at least 80% of his passes, a franchise first.

That’s not to say there isn’t some throws the signal caller would like back.

Despite his accurate start to 2021, Murray has turned the ball over four times through the air. Only rookies Zach Wilson and Trevor Lawrence have more interceptions on the year with seven apiece.

Cardinals CB room holding up well through 3 games

Following Malcolm Butler’s departure just before the season started, Arizona’s cornerbacks room was left to pick up the pieces.

Through three games, the cornerback’s absence from the secondary has gone largely unnoticed with Byron Murphy and Robert Alford leading the charge.

So far this season, the pair have answered the questions that surrounded them this offseason.

Murphy is ninth in coverage among cornerbacks with a grade of 77.4, per Pro Football Focus. Alford is 24th at 71.5.

Murphy is showing he can play with the best of them, inside or out, and is taking on a bigger leadership role, while Alford is proving effective after returning from back-to-back season-ending injuries.

Sunday’s win over the Jaguars proved just that.

Murphy turned in his best game as a pro, snagging two inceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown in the victory. He also recorded four tackles and four pass deflections.

Murphy — along with rookie CB Marco Wilson — played 100% of the defensive snaps (68) in Week 3. Alford was on the field 75% of the time (51 snaps).

As a unit, Arizona’s secondary gave up just one passing touchdown Sunday to go along with Murphy’s two picks and four passes defensed among the team’s corners.

New additions A.J. Green, James Conner making their presence felt

Cardinals general manager Steve Keim went out this offseason on a mission to add physicality and more weapons for Murray to work with.

With what James Conner and A.J. Green have done early on in their Cardinals careers, Keim hit his mark.

For the first time in Cardinal red, Conner found the end zone in the third quarter of Arizona’s win over Jacksonville. He hit paydirt once more in the fourth quarter and recorded 43 yards on 11 carries, team highs. He also made one catch for 10 yards.

Green took a noticeable step forward in the offense on Sunday, catching five of the six targets that came his way for a team-leading 112 yards.

“Yeah, just like I said, it’s a learning curve for me,” Green told reporters Sunday. “I just got to keep learning every week. We got great guys in our room, C Kirk [WR Christian Kirk], Rondale Moore.

“For me, man, [I have to] just keep working, make the plays when my number’s called, keep this thing rolling.”

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Gameday leftovers: INTs aside, Cardinals’ Kyler Murray’s accuracy on point