Arizona Cardinals offense finally manages a winning day
For the first time since the Hail Murray, and for the second time this year at Metlife Stadium, the Arizona Cardinals offense came away with a victory.
Thank goodness for New York teams. The Arizona Cardinals offense grabbed a win that helped them reclaim the seventh seed in the wild card race, thanks to a Dan Bailey-led Minnesota loss to Tampa Bay. Kyler Murray returned more to what we have grown to expect from him. Murray was able to roll out to his right on multiple occasions and looked to be the elite runner that he is.
Shaking off what was a somewhat-scary cleat to the shin, Murray continued to lead to the Cardinals into giants territory, and aside from the first quarter 4th and goal to go situation, they were able to get points on the board.
Murray hit Dan Arnold on a beautiful floater in the first quarter were Arnold high-pointed the ball. Earlier in the week, I wrote how the Cardinals could use him more in their passing attack. With second-year Andy Isabella out, he posted a 2/27/1 performance.
This also included a catch that was overturned that would’ve gone for a big gain in the second half. This stat line may not seem impressive, but when Murray only threw for one touchdown on the record-setting five sack day from Hasson Reddick, and all the short fields they started with, it was good enough for the win.
Offensive Line and blocking
Up front, the offensive line only let up one sack and kept Murray upright for most of the game. Now this wasn’t the prettiest of one-sack-allowed days, as pressure came through the “A” gaps all day, as a part of the stunts I had called for earlier in the week.
The film is yet to be posted, but Mason Cole still needs some help on the inside. We did see Lamont Gaillard in the game for a few plays, and after how he filled in for Cole earlier in the season, I am not sure why he hasn’t started over Cole yet.
Kelvin Beachum appeared to be injured on a play in the second half, and third round pick Josh Jones stepped in. One could almost not tell the difference in quality of play between the veteran and the rookie. Kudos to offensive line coach Sean Kugler for having the unit ready to go today. They were able to get Kenyan Drake another 1 yard touchdown in the first quarter, and along with Larry Fitzgerald’s return to the field, they were able to use him in the running game which was desperately needed.
For the Cardinals to keep this momentum going, they’ve found their rhythm, now they just need to keep the beat going. Probably the most glaring thing to improve upon is their ability to run a four-minute offense. This is a pass first offense and that’s great for most of the game. The drive where Murray took his only sack, up by 2 scores on 3rd down was a bit head-scratching. They need to have some formations, schemes, or anything different to help the defense stay off the field.
But when your defense has a very memorable day, I guess it doesn’t matter.