You can’t write it up much better than that: Just after Desmond Ridder came in for the injured Taylor Heinicke and drove the Atlanta Falcons down the field to score a touchdown, it was very possible that the Arizona Cardinals would drop to 1-9 on the season.
But quarterback Kyler Murray, playing in his first NFL game since tearing his ACL on December 12th of last season, engineered an 11-play, 70-yard drive to put the Cardinals well within field goal range to win the game in the closing seconds. And for a fleeting minute, it looked as though the Falcons were going to stall the Cardinals on third and 10 from the Arizona 42.
However, Murray had other ideas, and he scrambled for 13 yards to enter Atlanta territory and keep the drive and the Cardinals alive. On second down at the Atlanta 42, Murray underthrew tight end Trey McBride, but the second-year pro adjusted and caught the ball for a 33 yard gain.
Just a few plays later, the Cards ran the clock down to the closing seconds, and sent kicker Matt Prater onto the field to win the game, sealing Murray’s return to action as a success.
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray wins in season debut
Murray finished the game 19 for 32 for 249 passing yards, 7.8 yards per attempt, an interception, and a passer rating of 71.0. The pick was a bad decision on Murray’s part, but for most of the game, the returning franchise quarterback looked good and he even made the Cards offense look alive throughout the second half, a first this season.
Murray also showed that his knee is fine, scrambling for 33 yards on six carries, good for 5.5 yards per carry, and a touchdown. Overall, it was a successful outing for a quarterback who needed to prove himself some in the Red Sea, and right now, he’s 1 for 1. Let’s see what he can do for an encore presentation next week.
(Statistics and information provided by ESPN.com)