Murray the Man Again in Cardinals Second Consecutive Win

Howard Balzer

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Kyler Murray Show was live at State Farm Stadium Sunday, with no fans in attendance.

But those watching at home were treated to another vintage performance by the second-year quarterback, who in his 18th NFL start passed for 286 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 67 more and two scores in the Cardinals 30-15 victory over the Washington Football Team.

What’s promising is that head coach Kliff Kingsbury and other players talked about the team being a work in progress on a day in which the offense totaled 438 net yards and the defense limited Washington to 4 of 12 third-down conversions and held the Football Team to one touchdown in three red-zone trips.

In two games, the Cardinals have accumulated 842 yards of offense and held their opponents to six third-down conversions in 23 tries (26.1 percent).

“We hurt ourselves with penalties (11 for 97 yards),” Kingsbury said following the game, “and we never got in a rhythm. We’re not as sharp as we need to be. We haven’t hit our stride yet.”

That’s certainly not good news for the remaining teams on the schedule, the next one being the Detroit Lions at State Farm Stadium in seven days. Last year when the Lions traveled to Arizona for Week 1 in Murray's first game as a professional, the sides tied.

Said wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who had eight catches for 68 yards and his first Cardinals touchdown, “We have a pretty high ceiling. There were plays we wish we could take back, but it’s early in the season. There’s a lot of room left for us to improve.”

Echoed Murray: “We haven’t even scratched the surface yet for what we can do as an offense.”

As for being an undefeated 2-0, Hopkins said, “There was never a doubt in my mind we would start like this.”

Inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, who is doing his best to keep rookie Isaiah Simmons off the field, said, “It’s a great start, but we still have a lot of work to do. But we are jelling together.”

Campbell led the Cardinals with 10 tackles (eight solo) and had two tackles for loss and two passes defensed.

Celebrating coordinator Vance Joseph’s 48th birthday, the defense held Washington to 96 yards in the first half and, while they chipped away with 15 points in the second half, the outcome was never in doubt.

Especially when the Cardinals essentially ran the final 6:34 off the clock after achieving four first downs on first down and another on second, avoiding a third down situation on the series until the final play of the drive. Running back Kenyan Drake had five carries for 37 yards and two first downs on runs of 10 and 16 yards in the final possession that led to kicker Zane Gonzalez's third field goal of the afternoon.

Gonzalez, who missed two field goals from 49 an 52 yards in Week 1 against San Francisco, converted all three of his attempts Sunday from 49, 33 and 28 yards, respectively.

Kingsbury saluted all three phases of his team after the special teams, which blocked a punt last week, recovered a second quarter fumbled punt return that led to Murray’s first touchdown and a 14-0 lead. Notably, the recovery — off a hit by tight end Darrell Daniels — was made by long snapper Aaron Brewer.

Campbell summed up the day when asked about watching what Murray can do and said, “It’s pretty cool because he does it against our defense every day in practice.”

And there’s no reason Murray will stop doing it against defenses throughout the league.

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