Arizona Cardinals rookie TE Trey McBride rings in 2023 with best game as a pro

Jan 1, 2023, 4:36 PM | Updated: 8:03 pm
Arizona Cardinals tight end Trey McBride (85) is hit by Atlanta Falcons safety Richie Grant (27) du...

Arizona Cardinals tight end Trey McBride (85) is hit by Atlanta Falcons safety Richie Grant (27) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

It was officially Trey Day in Atlanta on Sunday.

Week 17 was a big one for Cardinals rookie tight end Trey McBride, who set new career marks across the board in Arizona’s 20-19 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

Totaling seven catches on 10 targets for 78 yards and his first career touchdown, on top of building some chemistry with quarterback David Blough, McBride paced Arizona’s pass catchers. He was the only Cardinal to find pay dirt Sunday.

“He’s getting better,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury told reporters postgame. “I knew with the more reps it would expedite his progress. He’s got a long way to go, but the skillset is there. I think he needs a full offseason and things will really slow down for him.

“If you can get (Zach Ertz) and him on the field together in that (12-personnel) package, it could be a good weapon for us.”

McBride’s play of the game came early on in the second quarter following an Atlanta turnover deep in its own territory.

Arizona wasted little time cashing in, with James Conner running the rock for four yards before the rookie slid his way in for six, regaining a three-point lead in the process.

“It was a play we had in for a long time and I was just waiting for that perfect opportunity to run it,” McBride said of the touchdown. “When I got outside, it wasn’t as pretty as I would have liked. I caught the ball and I think I was just so excited to score my first touchdown, I kind of slid in there, looked to see if I was safe or out by the umpire.

“But it was a lot of fun to score my first touchdown. It was something very special and something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”

Since taking over for the injured Zach Ertz as the team’s primary starting option at tight end in Week 10, McBride has caught 23 balls for 200 yards and the TD.

It’s a pleasant sight to see for Arizona, which continues to search for consistency amid poor play and a rash of injuries.

For the fourth-straight week, the Cardinals rolled out a different starting quarterback, leaving little expectations for an offense that hasn’t found any sort of consistency over the course of the season.

After turning to Kyler Murray in Week 14, Colt McCoy in Week 15 and Trace McSorley last game, Blough was given the keys to the offense on Friday. For the most part, he did what was asked of him over four quarters of play.

Completing 24 of his 40 passes for 222 yards and a touchdown — his first score since 2019 — the quarterback executed Kingsbury’s offense well outside of taking a sack on the second play from scrimmage and having a few bad throws mixed in.

“I’m confident in David,” McBride said of his QB. “I think he’s a great player, he was very prepared and knew exactly what to do. … Obviously, it’s a little different with a different quarterback, but I was comfortable with David and I was confident in everything he was doing.”

In addition to Blough finding some success through the air, Arizona also made sure to get Conner involved as a rusher and pass catcher behind 110 scrimmage yards.

Unfortunately, the running back wouldn’t make it a full four quarters, exiting in the second half with a shin injury. He did not return to action. Kingsbury is hopeful the running back won’t need surgery moving forward.

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Arizona Cardinals rookie TE Trey McBride rings in 2023 with best game as a pro