Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins came up mighty small for the Arizona Cardinals during the team’s season-ending playoff push
When analyzing the 2020 Arizona Cardinals, two particular members of the roster stand out. Quarterback Kyler Murray made fantastic strides in his second NFL campaign, and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins broke a franchise record for receptions in a season. The pair appeared to gel right away, and the future looks bright for the Cards starting signal-caller and number-one wideout.
Over the past two weekends, however, Murray and Hopkins came up small for the Cardinals when the franchise needed them most. With one measly victory, against either the San Francisco 49ers or Los Angeles Rams, Arizona could’ve put an end to their five-year playoff drought. As we all know, the squad lost both contests, thanks in large part to the disappearing act that was put forth by both Murray and Hopkins during those two crucial matchups.
During the Cards 20-12 defeat to San Francisco in week 16, Murray was frighteningly mediocre. The 5’10, 207 pounder completed 31 of his 50 pass attempts, for 247 yards and zero touchdown tosses. Murray did manage to rush for 75 yards, but his 66.0 quarterback rating was downright ugly.
Hopkins turned in a less than inspiring performance versus the 49ers as well. On 12 targets, the five-time Pro Bowler hauled in eight of the passes for an unimpressive 48 yards. The longest catch of the day for Hopkins went for a whopping nine yards.
This past Sunday’s outing for Murray during the 18-7 loss to the Rams was just as forgettable. The diminutive passer seemed to have very little interest in getting back into the game after he injured his ankle on Arizona’s first possession. Murray did make it back onto the field during the fourth quarter, but one has to wonder if the club’s “leader” could’ve returned to action much sooner than he did.
Hopkins also failed to show up for the critical clash with Los Angeles. Not only did the 6’1, 212 pounder register pedestrian numbers during the meeting (four receptions, 35 yards), but he let the Cardinals down in another way as well. Hopkins singlehandedly killed a potential game-tying scoring drive in the third quarter, when his immature antics cost the Cards 25 yards in penalties.
Murray and Hopkins now have a whole offseason to ponder why they failed to come through for their teammates when the pressure was on. One thing’s for sure, Arizona will only go as far as the duo will take them in 2021 and beyond.