A crazy game that finished with a crazy play, the Cardinals were finally able to get things to go their way. The first half looked eerily similar to last weekend’s loss to the Chiefs. Arizona’s defense couldn’t make a stop and the offense was lackluster again. That being said, Arizona had quite the charge in the second half led by Kyler Murray, forcing the game into overtime after being down 16 points entering the 4th quarter.
1. Steve Kiem needs to get a Right Tackle
Kyler Murray is tremendous when the play breaks down and he’s forced to use his legs. While those improv plays can be some of his best, Kyler accels when inside the pocket. This was evident at times today, specifically in the second half. Arizona couldn’t keep Maxx Crosby off Murray early which contributed to Arizona’s deficit at halftime. Chandler Jones was mostly quiet today working on left tackle D.J. Humphries. The right side of the line was a much different story with veteran Kelvin Beachum. While Murray is great when scrambling, the risk of injury is raised when doing so. Also, after a few of Kyler’s magical plays, he was very clearly seen breathing heavily trying to catch his breath. Quarterback stamina is something that isn’t mentioned often, but when Kyler has to scramble his stamina can be questioned late in drives. As anyone can imagine, running around for almost 20 seconds straight has to be tiring. Arizona needs to secure the right side of the offensive line one way or another because Kyler’s constant scrambling isn’t sustainable enough to win all season long.
2. Adjustments have to be made quicker
Arizona’s second half adjustments were key in making the Cardinal’s comeback happen. One key adjustment was keeping a running back in the backfield to help on passing plays. For most of the first half the Cardinals only protected with five which acquitted Maxx Crosby’s monstrous first half. By the second half they had gotten smarter and began leaving a running back in the box to pick up any free rushers. This didn’t fix the issue entirely but it certainly allowed Kyler another half second or so in the pocket. That half second could be the difference on any given play as football is a game of inches. While adjustments like this helped them win the game, they have to come much quicker. Like last week the team fell behind down 20 in the third quarter. While the comeback was great, that style of play can only get you so far. The adjustments that were made need to be made earlier to avoid these lackluster starts.
3. Greg Dortch has outplayed Marquise Brown so far
One of the few players on this team that played most of the preseason, Greg Dortch was once again impressive in the Cardinals victory. Dortch helped score Arizona’s first touchdown and the first regular season touchdown of his career. Dortch helped get the sputtering offense some momentum like last week and was key in swinging this game Arizona’s way. He also leads the team in receptions as well as receiving yards. Right behind him is big trade acquisition Marquise “Hollywood” Brown who at this point, has underperformed. Other than Dortch the pass game has been fairly stagnant and it’s clear that Marquise Brown and Kyler Murray just aren’t on the same page quite yet. Brown has been targeted 4 more times than Dortch so far this season, but Dortch has hauled in almost everything his way. Time will tell whether Kyler Murray and Marquise Brown can work on their chemistry or if Dortch is set to lead this team in receiving till DeAndre Hopkins return.
This team still has a lot of work to do especially when it comes to rushing the passer. After last week many thought it was possible Arizona could start the year 0-3 after this rough stretch. This week’s victory could be an uptick in momentum that the Cardinals need. Arizona will now head home to face their division rival Los Angeles Rams in what is sure to be an entertaining game.