After a horrendous beginning on Sunday, Arizona Cardinals rookie Kyler Murray engineered a comeback that came up just short
For three quarters of the season-opener on Sunday, it looked as if the Arizona Cardinals had made an awful mistake. The club’s selection of quarterback Kyler Murray with the first pick of the NFL Draft this past April had raised many eyebrows. Many Cards fans were concerned that the passer’s slight size (5’10, 207) would cause him problems at the professional level.
Murray’s play during the first 45 minutes of Arizona’s 27-27 tie with the Detroit Lions seemed to be proving his naysayers right. There were balls batted back into the rookie’s face that seemed to lend credence to the height issue. Murray also appeared to be nervous, and the accuracy that he had been known for at the University of Oklahoma was nowhere to be found.
The final 25 minutes of Murray’s pro debut was a completely different story. A switch that seemed to be in the “off” position for a good portion of the afternoon was seemingly turned on once the fourth quarter arrived. The nervousness and inaccuracy that Murray displayed early on, turned to confidence and pinpoint passing during the latter stages of the matchup.
A 27-yard touchdown strike from Murray to running back David Johnson got the Cardinals to within eight points of a tie with 5:57 left. The next score, a four-yard toss to the still-dangerous Larry Fitzgerald, got the squad to within two. Murray’s two-point conversion throw to wide receiver Christian Kirk completed the rally, making it a 24-24 contest with 43 seconds to play.
The Murray magic seemed to carry over into the overtime period as well. A 43-yard bomb to Fitzgerald brought the boisterous State Farm Stadium crowd to it’s feet. What could’ve been a game-winning touchdown drive for the Cards would eventually stall at Detroit’s 10-yard line, however, leading to a 28-yard field goal by Zane Gonzalez.
Murray’s effort obviously didn’t culminate in a victory for Arizona, but it was impressive nevertheless. A day that started out in such an ugly way for the youngster ended with optimism. It’s still way to early to predict long-term success for the Cardinals new leader, but Murray’s arrow is certainly pointing upwards at the moment.