Kyler Murray goes off in 2nd half as Cardinals stun Eagles
Dec 31, 2023, 1:57 PM | Updated: Jan 1, 2024, 9:18 am
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray turned in his best stretch of football in 2023 on Sunday.
After struggling in the red zone and failing to find paydirt in the first half, the dam broke wide open for the quarterback in the second in Arizona’s 35-31 comeback win over Philadelphia.
The switch came completely on for Murray and the rest of the offense in the final two quarters of action on Sunday, with the QB throwing for three touchdowns and 133 yards on 13-of-14 passing across the 60-minute stretch.
“I think he was in a rhythm,” Gannon told Cardinals sideline reporter Paul Calvisi postgame. “Give credit to the O-line, that’s a really good front and they kept him upright. He made plays with his legs, he was accurate to receivers, made plays, catch and runs. Hats off. I thought No. 1 was lights out today.”
It really was a tale of two halves for the signal caller and the Cardinals.
Despite looking like the far superior team outside the 25-yard lines, Arizona was anything but inside of them, coming away with just two field goals in three straight trips.
The other possession was about as worse as it could get with Murray throwing a 99-yard pick-6.
Just like that, it was 21-6 at halftime.
Then things began to fully click.
Led by Murray and a dominant run game, the Cardinals came out of halftime with their hair on fire, ripping off three touchdowns on three straight drives of at least eight plays and 75 yards.
“That’s what he do, he’s a professional, came to play and got us huddled up,” running back James Conner told Calvisi postgame. “He was executing and dishing today and marched us down the field multiple times.”
The QB’s first taste of paydirt came on a six-yard touchdown to running back Michael Carter, who saw his role increase on Sunday.
It was Murray’s next touchdown strike that got fans talking, though.
Capping off another lengthy drive, Murray escaped the pass rush before throwing one Conner’s way. The running back did the rest behind the one-handed five-yard touchdown snag.
KYLER MURRAY AND JAMES CONNER MAGIC.
— NFL (@NFL) December 31, 2023
Then came the fourth quarter, where Murray again found the end zone behind a five-yard touchdown strike to rookie Michael Wilson.
The two linked up once more on the two-point conversion to tie things up at 28-28.
Cardinals tie it up with 5:26 left in Philly!
— NFL (@NFL) December 31, 2023
Murray’s third score and the ensuing defensive stand that resulted in an Eagles field goal would clear the path for Conner and the Cardinals.
Stringing together one more seven-play drive, highlighted by a massive 36-yard catch by wide receiver Greg Dortch, Conner put the exclamation mark on the afternoon with a two-yard touchdown to seal the 35-31 win.
“JG actually told me go win it, which I mean, he didn’t even need to say it,” Murray told reporters postgame. “At that point it was — that’s just the killer instinct you’ve got to have in this sport. Not only this sport, just in life for me as far as to try and make the most of every moment coming into the building. Obviously, a great team to go and win it, and the guys, they played well. They played great today.
“We executed and we did our thing. It’s good. It’s good to feel that. Obviously with everything that’s happened, a lot of disappointment this year, a lot of tough losses, but trying to finish the season off the right way.”
Murray finished the day completing a season high 80.6% of his passes for 232 yards and the three touchdowns to one interception.