Kyler Murray does just enough during Cardinals win over 49ers

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Kyler Murray
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Kyler Murray /

Star quarterback Kyler Murray played second fiddle to the Arizona Cardinals defense during Sunday’s win over the San Francisco 49ers.

During the first four weeks of the 2021 campaign, the Arizona Cardinals relied heavily on the skills of quarterback Kyler Murray to lead them to victory. This past Sunday, the Redbirds managed to prevail without a dominating performance from the team’s MVP candidate.

Murray, along with the rest of the offense, played just well enough during Arizona’s 17-10 triumph over the San Francisco 49ers. The 24-year-old star certainly had his moments during the hard-fought victory, but it was the squad’s energetic defensive unit that really stole the show. It was a statement game of sorts for the Cards, who proved that they could emerge victorious despite an average showing by Murray and the scoring attack.

During his postgame press conference, Murray admitted that he was “frustrated” by some of the plays that weren’t made against the 49ers. That may be so, but the signal-caller was able to come through in a big way when the Cardinals needed it most.

Arizona Cardinals got the best of Kyler Murray when the game was on the line

Arizona was holding a 10-7 advantage over San Francisco in the fourth quarter when disaster almost struck. After further review, replays revealed that Cards running back Chase Edmonds had indeed fumbled after initially being ruled down by contact. The turnover led to a celebration by defensive back Jimmie Ward and a couple of other 49ers defenders which may have lit a fire under the struggling Murray.

For a reason only he would know, Ward foolishly elected to mock Murray, despite the fact that San Francisco was trailing at the time. The Cardinals passer, after a couple of touchdown runs this season, got into a meditative pose that resembled “Baby Yoda”, a character from “The Mandalorian” television series. Ward mimicked Murray by striking the exact same pose following the Edmonds fumble.

After four unsuccessful plays by the 49ers, including an incompletion on a fourth down and four, Arizona got the ball back. And Murray immediately, and effectively, went to work.

Following a 10-yard scamper up the middle that resulted in a first down for the Cards, Murray then elected to get some payback on Ward through the air. A 30-yard completion to wideout DeAndre Hopkins, with Ward standing helplessly by, set the Cardinals up at the San Francisco nine-yard line. One play later, Murray connected with Hopkins for a touchdown that would prove to be the winning points.

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J.J. Watt, Isaiah Simmons, and the rest of the Arizona defenders will get the bulk of the praise, and deservedly so, for the win over the 49ers. Murray may have taken a backseat to Vance Joseph’s unit this time around, but Cards fans shouldn’t expect that to become a regular occurrence in the future.