CARDINALS CORNER

Cardinals’ Kyler Murray: Slow starting offense ‘can’t last forever’

Oct 2, 2022, 9:02 PM | Updated: Oct 3, 2022, 7:37 am

Entering Week 4, the last time the Arizona Cardinals knocked off the Carolina Panthers at home during the regular season was back in 2002.

Thirty minutes into the matchup, it looked like that streak had a real chance of being extended.

Arizona’s defense certainly looked the part early on, allowing just a field goal through a half of football. The same couldn’t be said for the offense, however, which not only lacked any kind of rhythm or execution but also accounted for the majority of the Panthers’ points through two quarters behind a Kyler Murray pick-six.

But much like their Week 2 win over the Las Vegas Raiders, the Cardinals offense took the new-half-new-me approach. Twenty-three unanswered points later and the Cardinals finally put an end to their dreadful losing streak to Carolina with a 26-16 win on Sunday.

“I know this can’t last forever,” Murray told reporters postgame. “We will figure it out. I’m not making it a thing because it’s not. We just have to execute. That’s all it comes down to is being better, everyone being better.”

“Much better feeling finally leaving here with a win, I’ll tell you that much,” the QB added. “Everything’s better when you win, let’s put it that way.”

Among the Cardinals’ biggest issues in the first half was keeping drives alive, going 2-for-9 on third down (22.2%). That all changed in the second half, with Murray and Co. going 4-for-6 (66.6%).

Along with the upped conversion rate, the Cardinals’ pace of play also saw a big boost, one that the Panthers could not contend with.

“Was just trying to get on the ball and go,” Murray told reporters postgame. “They’re one of the teams that struggle with tempo. You let them get in third downs … and do things that they want to do — give exotic looks and stuff like that. We had intended to get on the ball quick and go. We allowed them to do what they wanted to do for the majority of the first half.”

The two factors were crucial in flipping the script for the Arizona offense. After recording just 47 rushing yards in the first half, the Cardinals’ room of runners nearly doubled that mark in the second half alone, totaling 132 yards on the afternoon.

Murray also found his footing in the matchup after tossing a pick-six in the first half, recording 116 passing yards to go along with two touchdowns through the air and another on the ground over the final two quarters.

“Nobody was down, nobody was pressing or anything like that after I threw a pick-six,” Murray told reporters postgame. “I knew we’d be fine. Fought adversity, defense played a hell of a game. … Had our backs all game. We finally kicked it in gear come second half and found our rhythm, which I think is part of the problem.

“There’s no rhythm at the beginning of the game. We’re kind of just sleepwalking out there. That’s what it feels like. To finally touch the end zone, it’s been six quarters since we touched the end zone. Felt brand new to be in the end zone. It was a crazy feeling, but it was a good win.”

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