Las Vegas, Nevada— On a day where comebacks were the storyline, the Arizona Cardinals put in a bid for the best come-from-behind win of the day after being down 20-0 at halftime.
If there is a word that would describe the Cardinals’ first half it would be “sluggish” as they couldn’t move the ball on offense and allowed the Las Vegas Raiders to go up and down the field.
The Cardinals looked like they were going to take a 2nd consecutive blowout loss on Sunday, and would have been facing a 0-2 mark heading toward the Rams next week at home.
Kyler finished the game with a stat line (31/49 277 1 TD 1 INT) his first half was for only 53 yards.
So what was the turning point that allowed the Redbirds to get inspired enough to make an amazing comeback? And the clear answer is the 5’10 well paid franchise star quarterback Kyler Murray.
Murray simply put this team on his back and said follow me, they followed his attitude and his resilience to a victory.
Kyler has had a very different demeanor to his game for two straight weeks, his attitude was in going all-out mode and not settling for those two-yard self-sacks and not caring if he took hits or not.
The want-to attitude trickled down to every player after the half, and they seemed like they had had enough of this lethargic play.
Last week Murray ran the ball for an 18-yard scramble, but the difference was he usually would have run straight out of bounds, instead, he ran to the corner and cut it back into traffic took a hit or two, and got all he could on that play.
That was not the Kyler Murray we saw last year, and in today’s game he cut back into would-be tacklers with no fear, and when he is fearless he becomes that much more dangerous and looks like a franchise quarterback.
The Raiders got out to a 20-0 lead and much like last week looked like a totally different team from half to half, and their passing game was expected to blow the Cards off the field got shut down for the rest of the game.
The Raiders had their hands full trying to chase Kyler Murray around the field, on a key two-point conversion to get within 8 points Murray went on a 21-second scramble and then ran the conversion in himself.
This victory was like an episode of Rocky Balboa taking punishment until he wears down his opponent, and the Cards wore down the Raiders’ defense and made former cardinals Chandler Jone non-existent.
Game regulation came down to clutch play from Murray as he would not allow this team to lose this game, making plays that only he could make.
Wide receiver AJ Green had a tough day holding on to the ball but came through in the end with a clutch catch for the tie in regulation.
The end of this game is the reason why you pay your franchise quarterback 230 million dollars, as he made plays that showed he is part of the next elite.
Overtime was a shock for the Raiders who had been on the sideline as an offense for almost 30 minutes in real-time, as the Cardinals had the ball at the end of regulation and to start the overtime period.
Derek Carr could not get his rhythm back since halftime but got on a little drive that looked like it would be setting up the winning kick.
The benched star backer Isaiah Simmons made the most of his opportunities getting back on the field and made two clutch-winning plays that allowed the Cardinals to pull out this victory.
The first play was the tackle on a Raiders receiver from getting a first down, then the big hit that got the ball out and allowed Byron Murphy to scoop it up and score to get the overtime win 29-23.
The Cardinals have a lot to clean up to get to where they want to go, but showing fight and grit will take them a long way to getting closer.
The penalty yards and the drop passes continued to be a struggle, but good teams find a way to overcome adverse situations and that’s what the Redbirds did today in Vegas.
Halftime was the end of the Cardinals preseason sort of speak, as they didn’t get the reps they needed and came out like they were in preseason games in that Chiefs loss and the first half of today’s game.
Kyler got a rhythm as well as his nervous play-calling Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury, and it seems like the more reps they began to get the more they began to look like the offense that ran off seven straight wins last season.
Next week is the test as it always is with the Rams, and this is the marker to show where this team truly is, if they can follow up with the effort they showed today then all we can ask is that they compete and be in the game.