The Cardinals’ 33-22 win over the Bears had a little bit of everything. There was cold, win, rain, wet balls, interceptions and even a bloody lip suffered by head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Let’s set the scene.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Cardinals were leading 24-14, and were faced with third-and-3 from their own 45-yard line. However, right tackle Kelvin Beachum was whistled for a false start and on third-and-8, the ball appeared to slip somewhat out of quarterback Kyler Murray’s hand and the pass was very low intended for wide receiver Christian Kirk.
Punter Andy Lee dropped a punt that was downed at the 2-yard line. After a third-and-3 12-yard pass moved the Bears to the 21-yard line, quarterback Andy Dalton was sacked by blitzing linebacker Jordan Hicks for an 11-yard loss.
With Kingsbury expecting good field position, linebacker Dennis Gardeck clipped the foot of punter Pat O’Donnell and the resulting 15-yard penalty gave the Bears a first down.
That’s when Kingsbury lost his cool and bumped into defensive tackle Leki Fotu hard on the sideline, cutting his lip.
The good news was that cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. intercepted Dalton on the next play after the penalty and advanced the ball to the Chicago 28-yard line for even better field position. The bad news was that Kingsbury had to quickly go back to being a play-caller and was doing so while spitting blood.
Coincidentally, after a 14-yard pass from Murray to wide receiver A.J. Green moved the ball to the 10-yard line, running back James Conner took a direct snap and gained nine yards. However, he was stuffed for no gain and then on third-and-goal, Kingsbury called for the direct snap again, but Conner was dropped for a 6-yard loss.
Kingsbury later said, “I wish I could have had that one play call back on third-and-1. But James also a big run right before it.”
As for the collision with Fotu, Kingsbury acknowledged during his postgame radio interview on ArizonaSports 98.7 FM that the penalty got his goat.
"I was super frustrated," he said. "(It) was basically karma for me not being able to control my emotions. When we roughed the punter, basically I ran into Leki Fotu, the biggest guy on the field. I think it was God letting me know I better settle down.”