3 reasons the Arizona Cardinals won in Week 2 – 2022
The Arizona Cardinals went into halftime facing a 20-0 deficit and an eerily similar situation to last week’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Early in the third quarter, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray lost eight yards on a sack. After an ensuing facemask penalty, the Cardinals had an opportunity to cut into the Las Vegas Raiders lead with good field position at the 41 yard line. Three plays later, Arizona faced fourth and nine at their own 42.
The Raiders had a chance to break the game wide open, only the Cardinals defense stopped them, forced a punt, and allowed Kyler Murray and company a mulligan. And the rest, as they say, is history. The Cardinals outscored the Raiders 23-3 in the third and fourth quarter, before winning the game in overtime when Byron Murphy recovered a fumble and took it to the house.
So what happened in this tilt that gave the Cardinals the edge? Here are three reasons they won this pivotal Week 2 matchup.
Why the Arizona Cardinals won: Reason #1 – Defensive Adjustments
The Cardinals allowed 241 yards in the first half. The Raiders had four drives, and they all ended in points. Dating back to Week 1, the Cardinals allowed 64 points in six quarters, or 10.67 points per quarter. Clearly, something needed to happen, and when you are trailing 20-0 with a seemingly inept offense, you will expect the running game to pick up.
Fortunately, the Cardinals bottled up the run, allowing just 30 yards on eight carries in the second half for a paltry 3.75 average. The Cardinals forced Derek Carr and the Raiders offense into a passing situation late in the fourth when they gobbled up running back Josh Jacobs for a four-yard loss, giving Kyler and company one last chance to tie the game.
Reason #2 – No Panic Mode
Down 23-7, the Arizona Cardinals turned the ball over on downs with 12:37 to go in the game at the Raiders 11 yard line. The Cardinals managed to get the ball back with 12:07 left in the fourth and, even down by two possessions, they never panicked.
You still saw them trust in the running and the short passing game, which opened things up for a phenomenal catch from Marquise Brown on a fourth and four that set up an eventual Darrel Williams touchdown.
And how many quarterbacks in football would have heaved a prayer on the ensuing two-point conversion? Not Murray. Instead, he waited for something to develop, saw nothing but a running lane after running for his life, and brought the Cardinals to within eight points.
Reason #3 – Kyler Murray showed sound leadership
We’ve heard it so many times: Kyler Murray is not a leader, he’s not vocal, he points fingers, he has poor study habits, his body language shows he can’t lead, etc. I’m not saying Murray will silence the critics after just one game, he shouldn’t. But he did take one step closer to becoming the franchise quarterback for this football team.
After his big contract, some may lay claim that Murray is already the Cardinals franchise guy, but I digress. Special franchise quarterbacks display leadership ability and capability to bring their teams back from the brink. Murray showed that ability today, and it’s a tremendous first step in silencing those critics for good.
This game was almost like an ultimatum for Murray. Prove the critics right, or take first step into proving them wrong. Murray chose the latter, and he emerged a winner. If he does that a few more times, we can call him our franchise quarterback. Especially if he starts to emerge victorious in the playoffs.
(Statistics provided by ESPN.com)