1st: Kyler Murray is a magician.
- I’m not talking about your run of the mill magician who can pick your card out of the deck. Kyler is a permanent-residence-on-the-Vegas-strip kind of magician; David Blaine but on the football field. His playmaking is best described as magic. It doesn’t matter how many times you watch it, how closely you break it down or how critical of an eye you have, you still can’t quite explain how he made it work. His 4th down completion to Christian Kirk was his latest illusion. Enjoy the show.
1. The last part remaining before Kyler perfects his act is the presentation. His comments after the game when asked about the team’s final offensive drive that nearly cost them the game were unacceptable. Kyler said he didn’t really know or remember what the plan was, they just wanted their offense to be in control. Kyler ran out of bounds on a scramble and the Cardinals dropped back to pass twice before ultimately giving the ball back to Minnesota. As quarterback, sometimes you have to toggle off the magician mode and toggle on the lunch pail mode. Situational awareness starts at the quarterback position and Kyler showed that’s still a work in progress.
2. Rondale Moore’s rookie season continues to pay huge dividends for the Cardinals. After eclipsing more than 100 yards receiving in just his second career game, Moore now leads a much hyped rookie class in rookie yards and it still feels like he’s not getting the ball enough.
3. The Cardinals run defense offered up the first “Oh no!” of the season. Dalvin Cook averaged over six yards per carry and blew through the Cardinals defensive line like a wet napkin. The Vikings ran at the Cardinals linebackers and no one held up.
4. The bright spot defensively for the Cardinals surprisingly continued to be in the secondary. The Cardinals have limited AJ Brown/Julio Jones/Adam Thielen/Justin Jefferson to a combined 19 catches for 182 yards and 3 TD’s. That felt like a possible single game line for any of those four WR’s after Malcolm Butler abruptly retired.
5. According to PFF, Robert Alford has been the best of the secondary bunch with Byron Murphy right behind. Alford has only allowed six catches for 54 yards on his assignments combined in the Cardinals two games.
6. JJ Watt has to be better. The Cardinals didn’t pay more than $14 million dollars a year for magazine profiles and cute social media pictures. They need him to be consistently productive for it to be money well spent.
7. Patrick Peterson may have taken the L on Sunday but he may still get the last laugh. While the artist formerly known as P2 was victimized early on by Deandre Hopkins, ultimately Peterson did a great job of blanketing Hopkins after the first quarter. The real damage he may cause was how well he knew the Cardinals formations and was relaying the plays to LB Eric Kendricks. Once other teams can watch the Cardinals formation with Peterson’s defensive play calls, it could provide a cheat sheet to copy from the rest of the season for Cardinals opponents.
8. Matt Prater huffing smelling salts on all of his kicks is a story that deserves its own in depth profile. Prater’s 62 yarder before the half and the Vikings missed 37 yarder as time expired went a long way towards balancing the kicking karma that was previously skewed against them.
9. Under the Radar Stars: Maxx Williams, Jalen Thompson, Vance Joseph and Antonio Hamilton.
10. What’s Next? @ Jacksonville. The Jaguars may be the worst team in the NFL through two weeks but Urban Meyer will be damned before he loses to Kliff Kingsbury. Grab a seat now, the Cardinals may need more magic from Kyler to avoid a repeat of Week 3 in 2020 when they lost to the Lions.