Cardinals' Murray, Kingsbury book 1st NFL win

UniqueThis 7 October 6, 2019
4:23 PM ET

CINCINNATI -- It wasn't pretty but Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury and rookie quarterback Kyler Murray won their first NFL game on Sunday.

The Cardinals, who entered Sunday's game winless, beat the 0-5 Cincinnati Bengals, 26-23, at Paul Brown Stadium thanks to 514 yards and a performance by Murray that showed his ongoing evolution as a quarterback.

Murray finished with 93 rushing yards, including 24 on perhaps the game's most important play late in the fourth quarter to lead Arizona in the red zone, to complement his 253 passing yards.

With the game tied at 23, after Arizona gave up a 23-9 lead, Murray led Arizona on a 62-yard drive with a 24-yard pass to David Johnson and then a 24-yard run, that was capped with a 31-yard field goal by Zane Gonzalez as time expired.

Murray showed his ability to score with his feet late in the first quarter on a six-yard i bootleg run on fourth-and-2 late in the first quarter. On the score, Murray displayed his speed, agility and quick feet while out running, hesitating, stutter-stepping and then finally powering his way into the end zone.

Aiding Murray was Kingsbury's creative play calling.

He used a series of jet sweeps and end arounds as well as a play in which Murray threw a long lateral to Larry Fitzgerald, who was split out wide, and then Fitzgerald threw a lateral back to Murray, who had faded to his left as a receiver. The play only gained five yards but showed the lengths of Kingsbury's creativity.

Murray finished with three throws of 24 yards or more, including a handful that displayed his touch, accuracy and finesse throwing the ball.

The Cardinals continued their struggles in the red zone, finishing with one touchdown in five tries, but Kingsbury showed the ability to adapt by running the ball nine times in the red zone compared to five passes.

Murray also showed a maturity when it came to dealing with defensive pressure.

He threw the ball away early in the game instead of trying to make a play happen and then threw a pass at the feet of his offensive line instead of throwing the ball away in the air.

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