Cardinals Hold On in Roller-Coaster Game Against Jaguars

The Arizona Cardinals improved to 3-0 after the defense forced four turnovers on Sunday.

The Cardinals escaped Jacksonville with a 31-19 win over the Jaguars to improve to 3-0 on Sunday.

It was anything but a clean win, with the Cardinals trailing at halftime 13-7 after a dramatic finish to the first half. 

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury elected to try a 68-yard field goal, and Jacksonville’s Jamal Agnew returned the short kick 109 yards for a touchdown as time expired in the second quarter.

Then, Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray threw an interception on the first possession of the second half.

But, from there, Arizona outscored the Jaguars 24-6, improving on offense while forcing three turnovers on defense.

One of the two takeaways was a Byron Murphy Jr. interception returned for a touchdown. The Jaguars tried a flea-flicker after a strong rushing drive, but defensive end J.J. Watt applied pressure to quarterback Trevor Lawrence. 

Lawrence threw off of his back foot, and Murphy did the rest. The Cardinals corner had two picks on Sunday.

Murray threw for 311 yards on 34 passes and had a rushing touchdown. Two of his receivers gained over 100 yards: A.J. Green (112) and Christian Kirk (104). 

Running back James Conner ran for his first two Cardinals touchdowns. 

Especially in the second half, the Cardinals had possessions where they were in total control. But, they finished just 1-for-9 on third downs, which halted them too often. Third-and-short proved to be a constant struggle. 

On defense, the Cardinals were sound for most of the game. Along with the turnovers, Arizona forced punts on six possessions and allowed only two scores. 

The run defense stumbled in the second half, something Arizona dealt with last week against running back Dalvin Cook, although it was in the first half where Cook did his damage.

However, to hold opponents under 20 points in two of three weeks is a strong start. 

The Cardinals will go back on the road next week against the Los Angeles Rams.