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Cardinals Lead at Half After Forcing Turnovers on First Two Possessions

The Arizona Cardinals lead 21-7 at halftime in Chicago after the defense came away with some big plays.

The big story entering the Arizona Cardinals' Sunday matchup at the Chicago Bears was the availability of quarterback Kyler Murray and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. 

In the first quarter, they each reached the end zone, Hopkins on a 21-yard touchdown reception and Murray after a 9-yard scramble. 

However, the Cardinals' defense put the duo in positions to score with takeaways on each of Chicago’s first two possessions.

On the third play from scrimmage in Sunday’s game, Chicago quarterback Andy Dalton missed his throw to wide receiver Jakeem Grant Sr., who tipped the ball up in the air. 

Safety Jalen Thompson made the catch for his second interception in the last three games and returned the ball to the opposing 28-yard line.

Chicago’s next drive went well to start, as it marched all the way to the Arizona 20-yard line. 

However, on third down, Dalton looked for tight end Cole Kmet over the middle of the field. The young tight end couldn’t come away with the grab, and it popped up in the air as he hit the turf. 

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Safety Budda Baker was there to grab the ball before it hit the ground, and he returned it 77 yards to the Chicago 15-yard line. That set up Murray’s touchdown scramble.

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The Cardinals entered Sunday with the fifth-best turnover margin in the NFL at plus-8. They had eight interceptions over the first 11 games with 11 fumble recoveries.

Arizona's defense also amassed two sacks and three quarterback hits in the opening 30 minutes. 

Where it has struggled has been against the run, as Chicago running back David Montgomery finished the half with 63 yards on 14 carries. 

Murray passed for 73 yards in the first half to give him 10,042 for his career. He became the fourth-youngest quarterback in history to reach 10,000 yards.

Running back James Conner scored on a 23-yard reception, and he also had 54 yards rushing on eight carries.

The Cardinals lead 21-7 at halftime.