ARIZONA CARDINALS

Visual: Kyler Murray’s efficiency, deep ball has fallen off in 2022

Oct 31, 2022, 2:51 PM
Kyler Murray's passing ratings by zone for 2022 (NextGenStats) Kyler Murray's passing ratings by zone for 2021 (NextGenStats) Kyler Murray's passing ratings by zone for 2020 (NextGenStats) Kyler Murray's passing ratings by zone for 2019 (NextGenStats)

For a few reasons, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray’s 2022 season hasn’t gone as planned.

In the first year since signing a quarter-billion-dollar extension, Murray has dealt with a rotation of receivers due to suspension and injuries.

Arizona (3-5) is almost halfway through the 17-game schedule, and many of its quarterback’s efficiency numbers have regressed back to or fallen below the statistics from his rookie season in 2019.

A huge part of that is the lack of the deep ball.

Murray hasn’t completed a pass of 40 or more yards to this point. Forty-two quarterbacks in the 32-team NFL have at least one such play.

Last season, Murray hit on nine of those plays. A year prior, he tied for the NFL lead with 14 in a season. Even as a rookie, Murray struck gold on 10 plays of 40 or more yards.

“We haven’t been able to connect on the deep ball like we had previously,” Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury told Cardinals sideline reporter Paul Calvisi on Sunday after the Cardinals fell to the Minnesota Vikings.

“That’s been one of our strong points and so whatever the rhythm is, we’ve got to keep working at it. We need to be able to push the ball down the field and hit some of those and try to stretch defenses moving forward.”

Murray has 23 passing plays of 20 or more yards, a middle-tier stat for starters to this point. He finished last year at 49.

Still, his passer ratings on plays of 20 or more yards are abysmal compared to the average and his past seasons. In the left, center and right zones of at least 20 yards down the field, Murray’s passer ratings are respectively 17.2, 42.5 and 42.9.

The league averages range from 78.4 to 85.6 to 79.2 in those zones.

It’s surprising considering Murray through three prior seasons and three zones in each of those seasons — nine total zones — had never posted a passer rating below 75.9. The next-worst passing zone for a season came in at 95.8. That’s how good he was at connecting on deep shots before this season.

That and an overly lateral offense has many of his passing statistics down this year.

Kyler Murray’s passing by the numbers

48.4

As of Monday before the final game of Week 8, Murray’s quarterback rating of 48.4 is 19th in the NFL but well below his previous worst from his rookie year, when it was 57.7. Last season he set a career-high at 63.2.

85.3

The quarterback’s passer rating (85.3) is a few ticks below his rookie-year number (87.4) and far below last season’s 100.6.

16

Drops are up for the Cardinals, meaning it’s not all on Murray. According to Football Reference, there have been 16 drops on Murray passes, which equals last season’s total through 17 games and is one off the 17 drops by receivers in all of 2019.

65.3%

Murray’s on-target percentage of 65.3% is the worst of his four seasons. His previous worst came in his rookie season, when it was 73.5%.

4.4

That’s the average completed air yards per passing attempt, according to Football Reference. It’s a full yard below his previous worst average from his rookie season of 5.4.

Additionally, Murray’s 6.7 intended air yards per target is a career-worst by 0.7.

2.53

Murray’s time to throw is 2.53 seconds, the lowest number of his career, which could be due to the offense more than pressure. Per Pro Football Focus, Murray has faced 96 pressures this year, about right on pace for the total from the past three years when it landed from 172 to 183.

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Visual: Kyler Murray’s efficiency, deep ball has fallen off in 2022