Oct 28, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) against the Green Bay Packers at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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Status of Kyler Murray looms large in Cardinals-49ers

The Arizona Cardinals lost their status as the lone undefeated NFL team and look to move forward when they face the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at Santa Clara, Calif.

While the 1972 Miami Dolphins are celebrating being the league’s last unbeaten squad, Arizona (7-1) is striving to make sure one setback doesn’t turn into two.

The Cardinals sputtered often during their 24-21 home loss to the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 28.

“We didn’t put our best foot forward and we feel we can be a lot better,” Arizona coach Kliff Kingsbury told reporters. “We’re going to play a division opponent on the road — one we’ve had great matchups with the last couple of years. Our guys will be on edge and ready to go.”

The big question for the Cardinals as they seek a regular-season sweep of the 49ers (3-4) is the health of quarterback Kyler Murray.

The MVP candidate injured his left ankle during the loss to the Packers, and he sat out practice Wednesday.

Murray and Kingsbury feel the quarterback can play even if he doesn’t practice all week.

“I think I’ll be good to go on Sunday if I just know the game plan and get the mental reps,” Murray said.

Kingsbury said it could turn out to be a game-day decision.

“He is the type of player with his ability and understanding of the system now, as long as he’s getting the mental reps, we feel good about him going out there and executing,” Kingsbury said.

Murray, who said the extra rest coming off of a Thursday game last week helped his recovery, has been sensational for Arizona this season and has completed 72.7 percent of his passes for 2,276 yards, 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also has rushed for three scores.

Journeyman Colt McCoy is Murray’s backup. He hasn’t thrown a pass this season and has an 8-22 record as a starter since entering the NFL in 2010.

Whoever plays quarterback won’t have veteran wideout A.J. Green or tight end Demetrius Harris on the field. Both players were placed on the COVID-19 list on Wednesday.

In addition, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is still bothered by an ailing hamstring and missed Wednesday’s practice.

Meanwhile, San Francisco is vying to even its record at .500 after recording a 33-22 road win over the Chicago Bears last Sunday to snap a four-game losing streak.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo passed for a season-best 322 yards and the 49ers racked up their most points since a season-opening 41-33 win over the Detroit Lions.

Garoppolo said the mood around the team took a step upward by ending a skid that began in late September.

“Whenever you go on a four-game slide like we did, to get out of it and getting back in the win column, you’ve got to enjoy it for that moment,” Garoppolo said. “We’ve got a good game plan in this week for Arizona. We know it’s a tough team coming in, one of the best in the league right now. It’ll be a good challenge for us.”

49ers tight end George Kittle (calf) was back on the practice field Wednesday after missing three games while on injured reserve. Niners coach Kyle Shanahan said it was too soon to know if Kittle can play Sunday.

“I’m not counting on it a hundred percent,” Shanahan said of having Kittle.

Kittle hasn’t played since Week 4. He has 19 catches for 227 yards and no touchdowns this season.

Standout wideout Deebo Samuel missed practice Wednesday after aggravating his calf injury. Shanahan does expect to see Samuel on the field.

Samuel notched his fourth 100-yard receiving effort of the campaign with six catches for 171 yards against the Bears. He ranks second in the NFL with 819 receiving yards and has four scores among his 44 receptions.

Running back Elijah Mitchell (ribs) and left tackle Trent Williams (ankle) were among the other 49ers who sat out Wednesday.

Arizona recorded a 17-10 home win over the 49ers on Oct. 10 when Murray passed for 239 yards, his second-lowest output of the season.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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