ARIZONA CARDINALS

Christian Kirk throwing a pass for the Cardinals was years in the making

Nov 9, 2021, 11:48 AM
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk (13) runs against the San Francisco 49ers during the...

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk (13) runs against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

(AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

In 2018, the Arizona Cardinals had a double pass play drawn up for then-rookie wide receiver Christian Kirk.

Kirk, though, was injured against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 16 when Arizona finally called the play.

Larry Fitzgerald in relief caught a screen pass, rolled to his right and fired a strike down the field to running back David Johnson for a 32-yard touchdown.

“I was sitting on the couch and I knew when they broke the huddle I’m like, ‘Oh, my gosh, of course they call this play,'” Kirk told reporters Tuesday.

After three years of waiting, Kirk finally got his chance to throw the ball in an NFL game Sunday at the San Francisco 49ers.

Quarterback Colt McCoy pump faked to his left and flipped the ball on a reverse to Kirk who was in motion from the slot.

Kirk kept rolling to his right and then fired a deep ball down the field on the run. The ball placement was perfect for receiver Antoine Wesley to grab it before going out of bounds at the 49ers’ 1-yard line.

“I felt like people were kind of asleep on my arm ability,” Kirk joked. “I always knew I could throw … but finally got my chance to do it.”

Kirk’s throw gained 33 yards, one more than Fitzgerald’s but one shy of six points.

He said he was disappointed to not get Wesley his first career touchdown. But running back James Conner punched the ball in one play later to give Arizona a commanding 14-0 lead in the first quarter.

To bring Kirk’s NFL passing career full circle, the play Arizona ran Sunday was not designed for him.

McCoy said postgame that it was intended for wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to throw to A.J. Green. Hopkins was out Sunday with a hamstring issue and Green was, and still is, on the COVID-19 reserve list.

“Earlier in the week, we kind of had to mess around with where I was aligned pre snap, just so I could get the ball quick enough to really sell as if we were running a reverse,” Kirk explained. “I think cutting my split down a little tighter to the offensive line really helped. I was able to get the ball in my hand and keep it in my hands for a lot longer to keep the defense honest.”

The timing could have been better for Kirk, who said he hyper-extended his right thumb on the previous play. The fourth-year receiver thought about saying something, but he knew this was a golden chance to do this for the first time as a pro.

So he muscled through it.

His hurting thumb evidently did not affect the throw.

Kirk pointed out that he’s no stranger to passing in games, as he did so twice at Texas A&M and 11 times at Saguaro High School, according to MaxPreps.

He completed 7 of 11 throws in high school, but he went 0-for-2 in college. Kirk said that was not entirely his fault, though, pointing to one throw from a 2016 game against Mississippi.

“Unfortunately the ball wasn’t caught, but it was it was pretty good ball,” Kirk said. “If you could ask people who saw, they would say they would agree as well.”

Comments

Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona Cardinals

An Arizona Cardinals helmet on the grass during Arizona Cardinals training camp on July 30, 2021 at...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals sign 6 players to roster following tryouts at rookie minicamp

The Arizona Cardinals signed and released six players following tryouts at rookie minicamp, the team announced Monday.
18 hours ago
Arizona Cardinals' Keaontay Ingram (30) runs drills at the NFL football team's rookie minicamp, Fri...
Wills Rice

Cardinals RB Keaontay Ingram excited to prove himself on the field

Cardinals RB Keaontay Ingram said he is ready to prove that the running back position is still the engine of the team.
2 days ago
Running back James Conner #6 of the Arizona Cardinals rushes the football against the Houston Texan...
Wills Rice

PFF’s Cole: Cardinals’ James Conner is a fantasy football post-draft winner

The Cardinals added to their offensive arsenal in the 2022 NFL Draft, but PFF thinks RB James Conner came out as the fantasy football winner.
2 days ago
San Diego State Aztecs defensive linemen Cameron Thomas (99) celebrates a sack during a college foo...
Wills Rice

Cardinals rookie Cameron Thomas models his game after J.J. Watt

Arizona Cardinals defensive end Cameron Thomas is excited to work with his role model J.J. Watt during his rookie campaign.
2 days ago
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - SEPTEMBER 11: Nick Grant #1 of the Virginia Cavaliers defends a pass intended...
Wills Rice

Report: Cardinals sign DB Nick Grant to deal after rookie mini-camp

The Cardinals have reportedly signed cornerback Nick Grant to a deal after rookie mini-camp, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
2 days ago
Colorado State Rams tight end Trey McBride (85) celebrates his third quarter touchdown against Wyom...
Sam Graveline

Landing with Cardinals a ‘dream come true’ for rookie TE Trey McBride

For Cardinals rookie tight end Trey McBride, he couldn't be more jacked up to land in the Valley and learn from those in his position room.
2 days ago
Christian Kirk throwing a pass for the Cardinals was years in the making