Thanks to Carolina’s 16-13 loss to the Bears on Thursday night at Chicago, the Arizona Cardinals currently share the worst record in the NFL (1-8) with the Panthers. That could all change on Sunday when Jonathan Gannon’s club looks to snap a six-game losing streak as they host the Falcons.
For the third time in as many games, the Cards will have a different starting quarterback. Josh Dobbs was the starter for the first eight weeks but was surprisingly dealt to the Vikings a few days before the team’s trip to Cleveland. Rookie Clayton Tune got the nod last week vs. the Browns and the club was limited to 58 total yards in a 27-0 loss.
This week, it’s the long-awaited return of the first overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Kyler Murray went down early in the first quarter on a Monday night vs. the visiting New England Patriots in Week 14 of 2002. Now in less than a year, he’s ready to go and it will be interesting to see how healthy his knee is.
Off and running
Murray’s third NFL season got off to a charming start. The Cardinals won their first seven games, most in convincing fashion. The talented signal-caller completed a brisk 73.5 percent of his throws, good for 17 scores and just five interceptions. He did lose a fumble considering he put the ball on the ground only six times. Murray ran for three touchdowns and was sacked only 16 times.
During the team’s first loss of the season vs. the Packers, he suffered a sprained ankle that caused him to miss Arizona’s next three contests. He and the Cardinals haven’t been the same since. Including the prime time setback to Green Bay, as well as a wild card clash with the Rams, Murray has made 19 starts since the club opened 7-0. The team was a mere 5-14 in those games.
When it goes bad
The quarterback’s numbers are concerning as well. His completion percentage dropped to 65.5. There were only 21 TD passes in those contests, compared to 14 interceptions. Murray fumbled 15 times and lost two of those miscues. He managed five touchdowns on the ground but was sacked 42 times in those 19 outings.
Now it’s the first start of the season for Murray, who hopes to reverse the misfortunes of a team that hasn’t won a game since Week 3. However, can the fifth-year regain that early-season form of 2021?