Cardinals QB Kyler Murray stays sharp in big win over Rams

Oct 3, 2021, 6:42 PM | Updated: 6:42 pm
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray throws during the first half in an NFL football game aga...

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray throws during the first half in an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray continued his accurate start to the season in the team’s Week 4 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams.

Murray entered the contest with back-to-back games completing at least 80% of his throws, a franchise first. And while Sunday’s performance wasn’t quite that, the signal caller was on the money more times than not in the 37-20 win. When it was all said and done, Murray completed 75% (24-of-32) of his throws for 268 yards and two touchdowns.

He’s the first Cardinal in franchise history to record a completion percentage of at least 75% in three straight games.

“I was pretty confident coming into this game with the game plan we had, the week of practice we put together, probably the best game plan that I think personally that we’ve had since I’ve been in the league,” Murray told reporters Sunday. “With that, being confident in all the guys, this team, I was just confident in going out there and letting it ride. The guys did the same and I can’t be more proud of them.”

After an opening three-and-out, Murray responded with a perfect 4-for-4 drive, capped off by a 41-yard touchdown shot to wide receiver A.J. Green. The score marked Green’s second as a Cardinal. Green finished with a team-high 50 yards on four catches to go along with the touchdown.

“I truly believe A.J., the first couple of weeks, was still adjusting to how we play and not huddling,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury told reporters after the game. “It’s a lot until you’ve really done it. … Now, I feel like he’s acclimated to it. The game’s slowing down for him, he’s not thinking as much. They had a great rapport in camp and now you’re starting to see it come through on Sundays.”

Murray improved those numbers even more during the team’s third drive of the day.

Going 7-for-7, Murray diced up Los Angeles’ defense. He finished off the drive with a 14-yard touchdown strike to tight end Maxx Williams. The tight end caught all three of his first-half targets for 32 yards and the score.

Murray’s hot start only opened up Arizona’s rushing attack, which was leaned on greatly following a Rams fumble.

While the signal caller didn’t complete a pass on the ensuing drive, throwing just his third and fourth incompletions of the half, the Cardinals still found pay dirt thanks to James Conner’s physical running. The rusher needed just two touches before finding the end zone on a one-yard run.

Conner finished the half with a team-high nine carries for 31 yards and the touchdown. He also made two catches for two yards.

Murray’s final drive of the half was one of his least effective of the day, going 5-of-9, but still resulted in points thanks to a 23-yard Matt Prater field goal.

Through the first 30 minutes of action, the signal caller completed 17-of-24 of his passes for 186 and two touchdowns. Murray also rushed three times for 34 yards.

Two of Arizona’s touchdowns were direct results of an opportunistic defense that came away with an interception and fumble.

Murray’s second half may not have been as fruitful as his first, but the quarterback effectively played with the lead.

While he failed to find the end zone in the second half, Murray didn’t give the ball back once in the win. It was the first time all season Murray did not toss an interception.

“He’s playing well, he’s been great. … His presence, his level of calm,” Cardinals center Rodney Hudson told reporters after the game Sunday. “He’s getting better every day, working really hard.

“I think that brings a certain energy to the huddle when your quarterback is feeling good and playing the way he’s playing. It makes our job easier. And that’s part of our job to make his job easier. … He’s playing really well.”

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