'I'm Good': Kyler Murray Not Sweating Shoulder Issue
On the second play of the second offensive possession of the Arizona Cardinals critical Thursday night bout with the division-rival Seattle Seahawks, quarterback Kyler Murray was sacked at the line of scrimmage by defensive lineman L.J. Collier. While he did not lose any yardage on the play, there was some obvious discomfort as captured by the game broadcast.
For the remainder of what would turn out to be a 28-21 loss in the first game at the newly-named Lumen Field, Murray was evaluated by trainers on the sideline during Seattle offensive possessions. He would take breaks from passing the ball to place a heating pad on his throwing arm, up and under his shoulder pad.
Asked if the apparent issue played any factor in the Cardinals' loss, Murray was succinct, but clear.
"No," he told reporters postgame. "We just came up short, didn't execute when we needed to. Had our chances and we just didn't play well enough."
While some of the mechanics on Murray's throws looked forced and slightly tweaked, he still finished the night completing 29 of 42 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns. He was adamant in his own health assessment, trying to alleviate any potential concerns about a long-term impact the apparent shoulder injury could present.
"I'm good," Murray said.
While the details of what exactly Murray is feeling are unknown, Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury expressed pride in his young, second-year signal-caller for continuing to push forward amid the circumstances and timing of getting hit so early in the game
"He banged it during that [second] drive and I don't know the extent of the injury, but I thought he toughed it out, continued to compete and gave us a chance at the end," Kingsbury said. "... I know he landed on it that [second] drive and I don't know the extent to which it affected him, but I was proud of the way he toughed it out, continued to play and continued to try to help us win the game."
In Week 7, when the Cardinals defeated the Seahawks 37-34 in overtime at home, Murray completed 34-of-48 passes for 360 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He won NFC Offensive Player of the Week — for the second time after also doing so in Week 5 in a 30-10 win over the New York Jets — for the effort.
Yet, in that game, Murray also led the Cardinals in rushing with 67 yards and a touchdown on 14 attempts. Thursday was drastically different, as Murray had just five carries for 15 yards.
"I think it was just flow of the game," Murray said of his decreased rushing effort. "I don't think we had a lot of rushing yards anyway, so I think that's just the way they were playing it. We had what we had and we had our chances; we just didn't play well enough to win the game."
Murray is right in that Arizona had a total of just 57 rushing yards with starting running back Kenyan Drake posting 29 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries and backup Chase Edmonds contributing 13 yards on two rushes.
The ever-elusive Murray has developed a prolific reputation as a rusher and became the first player in NFL history with both a passing and rushing touchdown in five consecutive games when he did so against the Buffalo Bills Sunday. He also became the first quarterback since at least 1950 to have at least 10 rushing scores in the first 10 games of a season, which he accomplished in nine.
Yet, the Seahawks effectively eliminated the ground threat and sacked Murray three times. In fact, that is how Thursday's game ended, with Seattle defensive lineman Carlos Dunlap registering his second sack of the game on a fourth-and-10 situation.
"Got to give Seattle credit," Kingsbury said. "They had a good plan to try and make [Murray] hand the ball off and that's basically what it came down to."