Cardinals seek encore to ‘Hail Murray’ at Seattle
Unless there is a tie, either the Arizona Cardinals or the host Seattle Seahawks will sit atop the tough NFC West after their Thursday night showdown.
But don’t discount the possibility of a tie.
When the Cardinals (6-3) and Seahawks (6-3) met Oct. 25 in a nationally televised game at Glendale, Ariz., Zane Gonzalez kicked a 48-yard field goal with 15 seconds remaining in overtime to give Arizona a 37-34 victory. Gonzalez previously booted a 44-yarder as time expired in regulation to force OT.
The loss was Seattle’s first of the season, and the Seahawks went on to drop two of their next three games, too, including a 23-16 road defeat against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. The Rams, who play Monday night at Tampa Bay, are part of a three-way tie with Arizona and Seattle for first in the NFC West.
The Cardinals are coming off a 32-30 home victory against Buffalo on Sunday, when Kyler Murray threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins, who was surrounded by three defenders, with two seconds remaining. The play was quickly dubbed a “Hail Murray.”
“It obviously gives us some confidence,” Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “We know it’s going to be another dog fight on Thursday and we’ve got to get healthy and healed up quickly. … Our guys like playing when the spotlight is on us, and I’m excited about Thursday night.”
Murray threw for 245 yards and the one touchdown against the Bills and also rushed for 61 yards and two scores. Hopkins had seven receptions for 127 yards. The Cardinals rallied from a 23-9 deficit midway through the third quarter. Murray scored on 1- and 15-yard runs to help Arizona grab a 26-23 lead entering the fourth quarter.
“He is playing at a ridiculous level,” Kingsbury said of his second-year quarterback. “You have seen it the last few weeks after that first month. Offensively, we have really settled in. Mixing in tempo, making great decisions whether it is with his feet, his arm. It is fun to watch. He’s making us right on a lot of plays.”
Murray’s quarterback counterpart, Russell Wilson, is slumping after being considered the MVP favorite by many at midseason.
Wilson threw two interceptions against the Rams and has committed 10 turnovers in the past four games. On one play Sunday, Wilson was on the move and it appeared he could have easily rushed for a first down. Instead he tried an off-balance throw into the back of the end zone, and the pass was intercepted.
“We made some mistakes in this game that just don’t look normal for us,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday. “And there’s the one play that jumps out is the interception when he could have taken off and run and he saw something downfield and took shot at it. That’s an indication that he could have taken what’s in front of him.
“Russ and I both talked about how to follow your instincts to the first opportunity. Let’s go take advantage of it and go to the next play.”
The Seahawks will look to avoid their first three-game losing streak in the same regular season since 2011.
“We can still get better, we can still find our way,” said Wilson, who completed 22 of 37 passes for 248 yards and rushed for a game-high 60 yards at Los Angeles. “We got tough challenges ahead of us but nothing that we can’t overcome and nothing that I won’t overcome, so I’m looking forward to keep going and just keep believing in it all.”
The Seahawks have been without their top two running backs, Chris Carson (mid-foot sprain) and Carlos Hyde (hamstring), for the past three games. Carroll said Hyde returned to practice on a limited basis this week, but Carson remained out. Seattle also could again be without starting cornerbacks Quinton Dunbar (knee) and Shaquill Griffin (hamstring). Center Ethan Pocic remains in the league’s concussion protocol.
Cardinals defensive lineman Corey Peters (knee) was carted off the field Sunday, and his season might be over. Defensive end Jordan Phillips (hamstring) and offensive tackle Justin Murray (hand) might be able to play Thursday.
–Field Level Media