Rapid reactions: Arizona Cardinals knock off Raiders with overtime win
After a dismal first half, the Arizona Cardinals came out looking like a different team in Las Vegas.
Coming back from down 20-0, the Cardinals are leaving Sin City with an overtime victory spurred by the play of quarterback Kyler Murray.
Through the air and on the ground, Murray provided the spark needed to get the team back into things. Linebacker Isaiah Simmons and cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. finished it off with a fumble-turned-touchdown to seal the overtime victory.
Following the win, Arizona Sports reporters, editors and hosts reacted to the Cardinals’ impressive midgame turnaround:
John Gambadoro, co-host of Burns & Gambo: This was the type of win that can absolutely propel a team to bigger and better things. A gut check win of epic proportions. The Cardinals were down and out and looked lifeless when it was 20-0. But give them all the credit in the world for never giving up, fighting their way back to force overtime and then winning the damn game. I’m not a win probability guy but I’m guessing the Raiders’ chances of winning this one was very high. The road success continues!
We have to start with Kyler in breaking this down. The leadership he showed was exactly what everyone has been waiting for. No sulking, no pouting on the sidelines, no quitting. He calmly led the Cardinals to a touchdown with a five-yard pass to Greg Dortch that made it 20-7 early in the third quarter — a nice 11-play, 79-yard drive in which he completed two huge third-down plays. Then after the defense — and I will talk about them in a minute — forced a FG, he drove the Cardinals to the Las Vegas 11-yard line where a drive stalled on a 4th-and-1 that was incomplete. That may have been the game but the Cardinals defense quickly forced a three-and-out and Murray drove the Redbirds nine plays and 54 yards in 3:54 and brought them within 23-15 after a big pass play to Hollywood Brown. That gave the Cards the ball at the 1-yard line and Darrel Williams scored from a yard out. Add in the incredible, scintillating two-point conversion run by Murray in which he at one point on the play was at the Vegas 22-yard line and Arizona somehow was within one score at 23-15.
The Cardinals’ defense again stepped up, forced a punt and Arizona went on a back-breaking 18-play drive that culminated in a three-yard touchdown run by Murry on fourth and goal and an ensuing two-point conversion throw to A.J. Green that forced overtime with no time left in regulation. After a turnover on downs when Brown dropped a fourth-and-one pass in overtime, the Raiders took over on their own 36-yard line and drove to the Arizona 39 but Isaiah Simmons made the play of his young career and forced a fumble, this after Jalen Thompson almost intercepted a pass and Zaven Collins forced a fumble that the Raiders recovered. Simmons knocked the crap out of Hunter Renfrow fighting for yards and Murphy picked it up and returned it for a touchdown.
Murray gets the lion’s share of the credit here and Kliff Kingsbury too with some creative play calling, but the defense stepped up big time and kept the Raiders out of the end zone in the second half and overtime. Look at the Raiders after halftime, three-and-out, field goal, three-and-out, five-and-out and a turnover to give the offense a chance to get this win. Las Vegas had 90 yards in the second half — total! Lots of standouts defensively for sure but Simmons’ forced fumble was the defensive play of the game. Great win.
Vince Marotta, co-host of Bickley & Marotta: Truth be told, I asked the editors if I could just give my Rapid Reaction at halftime. I’d seen this movie just last week; a lifeless Cardinals team on both sides of the ball going through the motions in a loss to an AFC West opponent.
I didn’t do it (thank goodness, because re-writing anything sucks) and watched in absolute disbelief as the Cardinals bounced back from a 20-0 deficit to force overtime and then beat the Raiders 29-23 in the most improbable way imaginable.
What we saw from Kyler Murray in the second half of the game was legendary. Murray looked rattled in the first half — quick to bail on plays that had broken down. After the break, he was the exact opposite. His two-point conversion run with 8:13 to go in the fourth quarter was the fourth-year QB at his best. Murray scrambled around the backfield for 20.8 seconds before finding a lane and outrunning the Las Vegas defense to make it a one-score game.
With five seconds left, Murray scrambled for a three-yard touchdown to make it a two-point game. After a terrible delay of game penalty before the two-point conversion to tie the game, Kyler uncorked a laser beam in the back of the end zone to A.J. Green (who finally held onto a ball) to tie it and force overtime.
On the Cardinals’ possession in overtime, Raiders safety Duron Harmon made a great tackle on a third down and then knocked away a deep pass on fourth down that looked like a sure reception by Hollywood Brown. Las Vegas took over and converted on a third-down pass to Renfrow, who fumbled but Las Vegas recovered in the shadow of field goal range. Oh well, a valiant effort all for naught, right? Wrong.
On second down from the Cardinals’ 39 yard-line, Derek Carr hit Renfrow again near the sideline, but the ball was stripped by Isaiah Simmons (who didn’t play a lot), picked up by Byron Murphy and returned 59 yards for a touchdown. But even then, it wasn’t quite over — the play was reviewed to see if Murphy tossed the ball out of bounds in celebration before he crossed the goal line. It was close, and the play stood, resulting in the most unbelievable win I’ve witnessed in my 35 years of watching this team in Arizona.
Major credit also goes to the Cardinals’ defense, who held Las Vegas to 66 yards and three points after halftime. A banged-up secondary did a great job on Davante Adams, who had just two catches on seven targets for 12 yards. Renfrow had fumbled only 9 times (losing) two on 219 career touches but was forced into two fumbles in three plays in OVERTIME.
Major credit to the Cardinals’ offensive line, who really didn’t allow the duo of Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones to turn into factors. Crosby had the Raiders’ only sack, but it was in the first half.
After such a flat Week 1 performance, the Cardinals needed to find themselves in Las Vegas, and even though they endured another listless first half, they may have happened Sunday.
Tyler Drake, ArizonaSports.com Cardinals reporter and co-host of the Cardinals Corner podcast: Wow. Just wow.
Arizona looked out of sorts once again through two quarters of play on Sunday. Sure, they handed the green dot over to Zaven Collins in an effort to change things up defensively, but for a half of football, that didn’t help one bit. Isaiah Simmons saw himself on the sideline more times than not and the Raiders had little trouble moving the football.
I was very close to start my reaction when the two teams went into the locker room. It was that bad.
Then the second half happened. Or should I say, Kyler Murray happened.
After a lifeless showing on both sides of the ball, Murray sent a shockwave through Arizona thanks to a handful of plays — and a pesky two-point scramble — that sent Las Vegas into a tailspin. These are the exact moments that make his contract extension valid in my eyes. Colt McCoy — or anyone else for that matter — isn’t going to pull off that kind of trickery in that amount of time.
Right there with Murray was Arizona’s defense, which resurrected itself from the dead to limit the Raiders to just three points and a time of possession of just 9:56 in the last two quarters of play.
And although Simmons lost his play-calling duties for at least one game, he turned out to be the driving force behind the team’s overtime victory after knocking the ball out of Renfrow’s hands, allowing Byron Murphy Jr. to scoop-and-score on the 59-yard return.
The Cardinals needed something to happen in a big way Sunday afternoon, especially after laying an egg in the season opener. They got just that — albeit after another terrible first-half showing.
This is the type of win that momentum can be built off of. Now, it’s about finding that consistency over a full game.
Kevin Zimmerman, ArizonaSports.com lead editor: Let me get this straight: The Cardinals went from banking on Isaiah Simmons to be the Derwin James of this defense to taking him almost entirely out of the game plan in their first two games. A.J. Green and Hollywood Brown dropped catches too many times to make you feel good about life without DeAndre Hopkins. But then Green makes a wild catch, Simmons makes the game-winning forced fumble leading to Byron Murphy’s fumble recovery touchdown return and the Cardinals pull off a win after being down 20-0.
There is definitely a lot of Raiders-gonna-Raider energy in that result, but perhaps the Cardinals on both sides of the ball snapped into the gear they need to at least be competitive as they try to get healthy.
Kellan Olson, ArizonaSports.com editor: After six terrible quarters of football and the defending champ Los Angeles Rams looming in Week 3, the season’s lifespan had diminished rapidly. Kyler Murray looked pedestrian, you needed a reminder Hollywood Brown was on the field, both line groups were getting dominated, the Isaiah Simmons experiment failed spectacularly and Kliff Kingsbury’s timeout usage was almost as bad as his team’s preparation. Even though it was two games against two good teams, it was nearly impossible to exaggerate how bad it was. I was googling 2023 NFL Draft prospects in the second quarter on Sunday.
So, for a goofy and gritty comeback to follow, it feels like a lifeline was extended to this season. Now it’s a matter of what the Cardinals can do with it. Murray showed he still has the magic that would make him a superstar if he produced it consistently, Greg Dortch is ready to be a real part of the offense and the defense + Murray didn’t show any quit. Those are the only three positive takeaways I’m allowing for a game that easily could have come down to Kingsbury’s timeout/play clock gaffes or Brown’s drop after all the hard work to get back in it.
Let’s see if they can use this momentum to substantially improve and show some real qualities of a good football team.
Erik Ruby, Arizona Sports contributor and co-host of the Cardinals Corner podcast: Well hello to the Arizona Cardinals! It’s nice to see you guys!
Wow, what a tale of two halves.
I started writing my rapid reaction in the first half and let me tell you it was not pretty. Here’s a taste:
“Whoever the Cardinals play appear as if they are playing the easiest mode on Madden so they can learn which button does what.”
So yeah, the first half was about as bad as it possibly could be.
Derek Carr and the Raiders did absolutely anything they wanted to the Cardinals on both sides of the ball. The outlook was bleak.
But then a completely different team showed up in the second half.
The Cardinals showed life for the first time in the season. After a horrendous start, they began looking like a professional football team. A couple of touchdown drives, including an immaculate grab from Marquise “Hollywood” Brown leading to a Kyler Murray classic of a two-point conversion, put a little glimmer of hope in fans’ eyes across the Valley. K1 flashed his big-money talent multiple times and Arizona turned the tides quickly. I simply cannot illustrate how polar opposite the game was in the second half.
The game of course was not without negatives, though.
The bad: This defense is going to be tested every single week. The floor for this unit is not pretty. However, they showed ENOUGH today that as long as Kliff, Kyler and the rest of the offense click and put 20+ on the board, they can win football games.