Thursday night football after a few weeks of lackluster games with no touchdowns scored, the Arizona Cardinals against the New Orlean Saints turned in many touchdowns from offense and defense.
The Cardinals were coming in on an eight-game how losing streak at State Farm Stadium and another loss may have triggered the “fire the coach” talk, but the Redbirds got a big win 42-34 in a game that had many twists and turns.
Opening kick off Arizona decides to give the ball to the Saints offense who were missing key wide receivers and their starting quarterback, and the Cardinals’ defense was playing very well all season keeping the team in games.
The Saints march down the field and scored touchdowns on their first two possessions much like every team has done on the Cardinals’ defense early.
This game looked like it was about to be another home loss because the defense took time to find its rhythm, and the return of star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins helped the team score points on its first two drives.
Although they were field goals, they moved the ball up and down the field and showed good signs of life getting back the glue to their offense.
It is really surprising how much different quarterback Kyler Murray is with Hopkins on the field with him, his confidence seemed very high and his energy level was off the charts.
Sparks flew in this game early as the defense took over the game in the second quarter, with back-to-back pick six touchdown scores by Marco Wilson and Isaiah Simmons off of Andy Dalton, the Cardinals quickly found themselves in a position they have not been in all season and that was playing with a lead.
They had a two-touchdown lead at the half and were able to fight off the Saints late rally and hold on for their 3rd win of the season, and able to stay in the close fight for the division title in the NFC West.
Running back Eno Benjamin took over the running duties and ran with the opportunity that he allowed to get away last week, he finished with 12 carries for 92 yards and a touchdown and ran hard on every carry.
It is going to be very difficult for the Cardinals to limit his touches when James Conner and Darell Williams return to the lineup, Eno fits the bill for an offense that is always in the spread formation.
Speaking of sparks flying, quarterback Kyler Murray was a lit fuse all night, and more fuel to his fire came in the 2nd quarter of the game when he ran out of time to run a play that Coach Kliff Kingsbury called, and Kyler lost it, walking towards the sideline yelling at his coach to “calm the @!!@! Down” and laid into him with more screaming exploits.
Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins had to step in the middle and save Kliff from the tongue-lashing from Murray, it appeared Kyler was the coach giving the orders out there.
Kingsbury did not respond in a way to allow the alteration to get further out of control and he just shook his head and continued to look at his clipboard getting ready for the next play, which the next play was a scoring touchdown.
This did not look good at all, as the television crews all played it down to Murray showing great energy and showing leadership, but that was not leadership, that was a spoiled brat who has been given way too much power.
The Coaching staff of the Cardinals has yet to wheel in the young quarterback to understand that he does not run the team, and he has not done enough in this league to talk to a coach in that manner.
In many ways, this just shows the level of respect or lack thereof for a coach that’s been struggling to adjust and get his team’s offense rolling, and his lack of NFL head coaching experience was on display and played out in that altercation.
If that’d been a coach like Bruce Arians, or any other coach that has experience coaching men and demands respect, Murray would not have even thought to say the words he said and in that tone of voice.
How will Kliff ever get his voice to be heard if the team does not come out publicly and announce some form of disciplinary action for Kyler, maybe perhaps a fine or even a stern warning from management that lets him know he isn’t the coach.
Blowups like this do happen between players and coaches, and in particular between quarterback and head coach, but it does normally look the way that looked last night.
When it’s two sides that respect each other you see fireworks from both sides, in this case, Kyler did the screaming and Kliff obeyed and listened without a stern return that he is in charge.
Someone has to calm this little guy down, he needs to be told that he is not as good as he thinks he is, and respecting his head coach is part of being a professional.
I would like to see if management will look further into this matter and discipline Murray accordingly, or will they play it down and not want to anger their number one pick any further.
Ultimately the job got done in the end, the Cardinals got a big win, and winning can cure a lot of turmoil and allow people to overlook things that may be a problem later.
Having Hopkins back in the lineup gave this team back its swag and its attitude, and the offense looks like it’s getting back to a flow of scoring points. Hopkins was targeted 14 times and caught 10 for 103 yards, marking his first 100-yard game since 2020 season.
It is just one game, but that one game looked dramatically different from the way it looked six weeks prior, and the way they played was not perfect buy a big step in the right direction going forward.