Patrick Peterson and Byron Murphy staged an all-out effort to preserve the Arizona Cardinals scintillating opening-day triumph
The Arizona Cardinals cornerbacks had been there before. On several occasions last season, the beleaguered group had blown fourth-quarter leads that the team’s offense had handed them. Would the Cards cover guys eliminate the meltdowns, and provide the shutdown coverage needed to win more football games in 2020?
If Sunday’s hard-earned victory over the San Francisco 49ers is any indication, things should go much better for Arizona’s corners this fall. With a four-point, fourth-quarter lead in the balance, starters Patrick Peterson and Byron Murphy came through for the squad in a big way. When the smoke had cleared ( both figuratively and literally), 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo‘s comeback bid against a suddenly revitalized Cardinals defense had ended in dismal failure.
Down 24-20, with just over a minute left in the contest, San Francisco had driven to the Cards 21-yard line. On 1st down and 10, Garoppolo lofted a pass into the end zone intended for wideout Kendrick Bourne, who appeared to have Peterson beaten for a touchdown. The eight-time Pro Bowler recovered, however, using the back of his helmet to break up what would’ve likely been the go-ahead score for the 49ers.
On 2nd down and 10, Garoppolo hit wide receiver Trent Taylor for a five-yard gain down to the Arizona 16 yard line. A play later, a pass into the end zone that was again meant for Taylor was batted away by the 22-year old Murphy. Finally, on fourth down and five, Murphy sealed the Cardinals triumph by breaking up yet another pass attempt that was heading Taylor’s way.
A year ago, this past Sunday’s matchup would’ve almost certainly ended in defeat for the Cards. A tremendous effort from both Peterson and Murphy prevented that from happening. If that kind of excellent defensive backfield play continues, there’s a very good chance that Arizona will put an end to a playoff drought that has continued over the past four campaigns.