It would be a difficult task, and one beyond me, to put a positive spin on the Arizona Cardinals' Week 1 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
It started off ugly with an easy drive down the field capped off with a Travis Kelce touchdown, and it never got pretty after that.
Handing out grades to position groups so soon after the loss will probably result in some overly negative takes, so bear with me and keep in mind that the pain is still very fresh.
Cornerbacks - C-
The cornerbacks went into the game understrength with new addition, Trayvon Mullen, out with a toe injury and Antonio Hamilton still recovering from bad burns.
Still, they were somehow not the worst position group on defense. They did not play well by any stretch of the imagination, but Marco Wilson did finish with two passes defensed and a forced fumble that make the stat line look a bit better.
Blown assignments from Byron Murphy and Wilson resulted in touchdowns, and the cornerbacks showed that they still need veteran help.
Safeties - C
Through Week 1, Budda Baker is fifth in the NFL with 13 combined tackles. He seemingly flew around the field as one of the only players capable of making plays on the defensive side of the ball.
Jalen Thompson had a disappointing performance capped by an unnecessary roughness call that gave the Chiefs a first down and led to a touchdown. Not ideal.
Linebackers - D
Patrick Mahomes barely even had to try throwing in the middle of the field. His favorite target, Travis Kelce, finished with 121 yards on eight receptions with a touchdown.
Zaven Collins had flashes of competence that competed with moments of looking completely lost. Isaiah Simmons, a former 8th overall pick, finished with 3 tackles and barely contributed.
Really don't have anything good to say about this position.
Defensive Line - D+
The first drive gave some serious 2021 vibes with how incompetent this group seemed against the run. They did stiffen up a bit in this area throughout the game, but Kansas City was still able to rack up 128 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
It certainly seems like trusting the exact same group that played the majority of 2021 was a front office mistake. Linval Joseph and Sheldon Richardson are still out there. Maybe Keim should consider a move.
Running Back - C-
James Conner did have a nice touchdown that sparked a tiny ember of hope in the first half, but other than that he did not have much of a presence in this game.
Eno Benjamin saw some time in the second half during garbage time, but overall the running game was incredibly blasé.
There are issues when you have five running backs on the final roster and the quarterback is still the leading rusher (Kyler Murray, 29 yards).
Wide Receiver - C
Greg Dortch and Marquise Brown both had some moments, but clearly not enough to spark the offense to any type of sustained success.
Murray hardly looked in the direction of AJ Green or Andy Isabella and they both finished with less than 25 yards combined.
The only bright spot might be that Dortch still looks good in a regular season game against top-tier competition. He could be the shining diamond in the rough that provides some sort of x-factor at the position going forward.
DeAndre Hopkins can't come back fast enough.
Tight End - C
It is really hard to even give a grade for this position considering a tight end didn't even have a reception until deep into the third quarter.
Zach Ertz hauled in a touchdown which salvages this position grade. It is also hardly his fault that Kyler Murray didn't look his way.
Offensive Line - B-
The only semi-decent grade of the bunch, the offensive line overperformed considering Justin Pugh and Cody Ford were both out with injury.
Murray was sacked twice for 18 yards, but in light of how the game was going overall that is a surprisingly low number.
Somehow, snapping the ball to Murray is still an issue even with Rodney Hudson at center. It's a weird trend dating back to last season that continues to be concerning.
Quarterback - C-
Hard to deny that Kyler Murray did not play his best football today. He completed 22 out of 34 passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns.
That's a rough stat line when playing a Chiefs offense that will put up a lot of points. Murray was not able to keep up with a Patrick Mahomes that was playing at the top of his game.
This grade might have been a simple C if the Cardinals had not given Murray a huge, $230.5 million deal this offseason. That sort of money comes with certain expectations, one of which is putting the team on your back and engineering wins.
Murray is a talented quarterback, but when the last memory fans have of him on the field was another embarrassing loss to the Rams in last season's Wildcard round, this was not a promising start to 2022.
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