Kyler Murray always retained confidence in the Arizona Cardinals’ offense after he overcame a “pretty ugly” start to his NFL debut to inspire a comeback against the Detroit Lions.
The first pick in the 2019 draft struggled to get going in his first outing, with the Cardinals trailing 24-6 early in the fourth quarter when T.J. Hockenson reeled in a 23-yard pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford.
However, Murray engineered an impressive rally with the clock against him, throwing touchdown passes to David Johnson Larry Fitzgerald before a successful two-point conversion attempt to Christian Kirk levelled the scores with less than a minute remaining.
After going into overtime, both teams registered field goals on their opening drives but were unable to add any further points, meaning the Week 1 thriller finished 27-27.
“I’m very confident in myself and the offense whenever we have the ball in our hands, no matter what it’s looking like,” Murray – who completed 29 of his 54 pass attempts for 308 yards with two touchdowns and an interception – told the media.
“It was obviously pretty ugly at first, but you’ve just got to stay the course. It’s a long game and I’m proud of the way we fought – unfortunately we couldn’t get the win, but a tie is better than a loss.
“I’ve never tied before. It’s better than the loss, that’s all I can say.”
Special day… started off slow but proud of the way we fought as a team. Learn and grow. #Birdgang
— Kyler Murray (@K1) September 9, 2019
Murray was not the only rookie on duty for the Cardinals, as Kliff Kingsbury took charge of his first game as the franchise’s new head coach.
Kingsbury accepted the blame for Arizona’s offensive struggles in the opening three quarters, telling reporters: “I did a poor job early trying to be too cute, over-creative.
“I think sometimes when you have all summer to draw stuff up, you kind of get out of your comfort zone. I think it affected our quarterback early.”
Murray, though, insisted no individual was to blame for the early issues and pinpointed an increase in pace as the key for the Cardinals’ strong finish down the stretch.
“We’ve just got to execute better at the end of the day. It’s not any one person’s fault,” he said. “I think we just started doing what we were good at.
“I don’t want to say simple, but just running our stuff and just going fast. I think that opened everything up.”