Murray, Cardinals rally to beat 49ers
Kyler Murray ran for a game-high 91 yards, threw for 230 and accounted for two touchdowns Sunday afternoon, and the Arizona defense stopped a San Francisco 49ers’ red-zone drive in the final minute as the visiting Cardinals stunned the defending NFC champions 24-20 in the opener for both teams.
DeAndre Hopkins turned a career-high 14 catches into 151 yards as the Cardinals (1-0) rallied to win.
Kenyan Drake scored on a 1-yard run for the winning score with 5:03 to go after the teams traded leads three times over a stretch of just over five minutes.
Murray began an Arizona comeback from an early 10-0 deficit with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Chase Edmonds, then gave the Cardinals their first lead at 17-13 on a 22-yard TD run with 10:26 to go.
After the teams combined for just two field goals in the second quarter and didn’t score at all in the third, the offenses ramped it up in the fourth period in rapid-fire action.
Down by three, the Cardinals began the back-and-forth on Murray’s 22-yard scamper.
Benefiting from a pass-interference call that negated a Chris Banjo interception, it took the 49ers (0-1) just 1:48 to regain the lead on Jerick McKinnon’s 5-yard reception from Jimmy Garoppolo.
For McKinnon, it was his first score since December of 2017, when he played for Minnesota. He joined the 49ers as a free agent that off-season, then blew out his knee in the 2018 preseason and hadn’t played since.
But back came the Cardinals again, this time getting the 1-yard plunge from Drake one play after an apparent 34-yard touchdown pass to Hopkins was reviewed and placed at the 1. Drake’s score put Arizona back on top 24-20 after the extra point.
The 49ers then drove 59 yards to the Arizona 16, but the Cardinals’ Patrick Peterson and Byron Murphy Jr. had key pass break-ups, forcing San Francisco to turn the ball over on downs with just 33 seconds left.
The 49ers never trailed in the first half but went into halftime concerned that star tight end George Kittle had injured his knee on a catch attempt late in the second period.
Kittle was able to walk off the field, and to the locker room, under his own power. He returned to play in the second half but finished with just four catches for 44 yards.
Murray finished 26-for-40 with one interception. He had a 100-yard rushing day before taking negative yardage while running out the clock.
Raheem Mostert led the 49ers in both receiving (95) and rushing (56) yards, with 76 of the receiving yards coming on a first-quarter catch-and-run for San Francisco’s first touchdown.
Garoppolo finished 19 for 33 through the air for 259 yards and two touchdowns.
–Field Level Media