Cardinals in the Record Books After Week 2
Each game presents Arizona Cardinals players the opportunity to climb in their respective record standings. In Sunday's Week 2 matchup against the Washington Football Team, a 30-15 win to remain undefeated at 2-0, they did just that.
Quarterback Kyler Murray — who completed 26 of 38 passes for 286 yards and accounted for three total touchdowns (two rushing, one passing) with one interception — completed his first throw of the game to wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. The reception extended the veteran wideout's streak of consecutive games with a reception to 245. In the process, Fitzgerald continued his ascent having the longest such streak of any player with a single team and the second-longest overall in NFL history behind former NFL wide receiver Jerry Rice's 274.
The No. 2 currently active streak in that category is owned by Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, who caught two passes Sunday for 24 yards in a 40-39 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, with 121 after Week 2.
Sunday also marked the 252nd game Fitzgerald has played for the Cardinals, putting him at No. 10 all time for contests played with one team. Should he be active in all 16 of Arizona's games this season, he could conceivably move up to No. 7.
Meanwhile, Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was quieter from a production standpoint than in Week 1, although he was still a critical component to the team's offensive success. He contributed eight receptions on nine targets for 68 yards and a touchdown, his first with the franchise on a 4-yard toss from Murray in the red zone.
While Fitzgerald claims the top spot in consecutive games with a reception, Hopkins also cracks the list at No. 4, extending his tally to 112. His scoring catch increased his career total to 55, which is the highest active number for anyone in the NFL since 2013. Hopkins also needed just five receptions to increase his streak of consecutive games with that minimum to 20 games — the longest active in the NFL — which he successfully did with eight catches.
Additionally, Hopkins set an NFL record for amount of receptions in the first two games of a season with a new team with 22, beating out former Arizona wide receiver Anquan Bolden's 18 along with Atlanta wideout Eric Metcalf and San Francisco tight end Earl Cooper's 19. Hopkins has amassed 219 yards and one touchdown on those 22 catches.
"Those are two of the best receivers ever to play the game of football," Murray said of Fitzgerald and Hopkins following the win. "And I think there's a reason for that. They're reliable, they know how to get open, they know how to use their body, have great hands and they are who they are. And I'm glad they're on my team."
For Murray's part, his efforts in the ground game were instrumental in the Cardinals victory as he rushed for 67 yards and two touchdowns on eight attempts. He became the first Arizona signal-caller with a rushing and passing score in consecutive games since Jim Hart in 1969 and also the first franchise gunslinger to rush for two touchdowns in a game since Josh McCown in 2004.
Perhaps even more impressive was that Murray's two scoring scrambles of 14 and 22 yards, respectively, represented the first time figures of at least 14-yard touchdown scrambles were reached by the franchise since Hall of Fame halfback/quarterback Charley Trippi did it on rushes of 18 and 26 yards in 1951.
But what may be most impressive is Murray is the only quarterback in NFL history to amass 150-plus rushing yards and at least three touchdowns on the ground over the first two games of a season. He created a new category entirely. He is also the first to have at least 150 rushing yards and 500 passing yards in the first two games.
"As soon as I leave the pocket, obviously surveying the field, seeing how the blocks are set up," Murray said. "They were set up pretty perfectly, guys did a great job. And then once I got a guy 1-on-1, I like my chances.
"I think it does a lot. It's an extension of the run game, really our offense in general. When I can break the pocket or pull a read and score, that's the dynamic that we have in this offense because I'm able to move. It's a blessing to be able to move fast."
It was not all sunshine for Murray, though, as he threw his second interception in as many games, this time to Washington safety Landon Collins on what appeared to be a miscommunication on a crossing route between Hopkins and wide receiver Andy Isabella.
Defensively, the Cardinals gave coordinator Vance Joseph a number of gifts for his 48th birthday. The unit sacked Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins four times and also forced two fumbles, both of which were recovered.
Both the defensive line and linebackers contributed two sacks apiece via defensive tackle Jordan Phillips and nose tackle Corey Peters and outside linebackers Devon Kennard and Haason Reddick. Phillips' was a strip sack that forced a Haskins fumble, which was recovered by outside linebacker Chandler Jones. The other turnover came via special teams when tight end Darrell Daniels hit the ball loose on a punt return with long snapper Aaron Brewer recovering — his first fumble pickup in 119 career games.
"That's what we've been shooting for," Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said of the improved special teams play. "I felt like last year it was a bit disjointed. One side would rise up, the other one wouldn't. And we've had all three phases rise up together and that's how you really get this thing rolling. And our guys understand that, we've talked about that. And so, to see big plays made in all three phases, gives you a chance each and every week and hopefully we can keep that rolling."