Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals had plenty of big plays on the primetime stage Sunday night, but none were bigger than in overtime, during which they stunned their rival Seattle Seahawks to shake up the NFC West standings. Russell Wilson and Co. dominated conversation for much of the night, with the one-time MVP front-runner finding Tyler Lockett for 200 yards through the air and helping Seattle go up 10 points late in the fourth quarter. Arizona’s injury-riddled defense did not give up, however, forcing OT and then picking off Wilson in the waning minutes of action to set up a game-winning Zane Gonzalez field goal.
On a night that saw Murray flash with a pair of early 75-yard scoring drives, both capped by picture-perfect touchdowns to wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk; as well as the late-game comeback fueled in part by Arizona’s D, Wilson was just a bit off, overshadowing some beautiful highlight-reel throws with some momentum-shifting head-scratchers. The Seahawks led late, but the Cardinals closed on top, taking a 37-34 decision to improve to 5-2 and hand Seattle its first loss of the season.
Here are some immediate takeaways from Sunday’s wild NFC West clash:
Why the Cardinals won
They never gave up. Seriously. Sounds cliche, but their defense had no business forcing three different Russell Wilson turnovers, including one on a go-ahead overtime drive, and yet they did, with guys like Isaiah Simmons and Haason Reddick stepping up when they were needed most. The victory also didn’t lack explosive plays. Kyler Murray, Chase Edmonds and DeAndre Hopkins all had their fair share of highlights working against a predictably vulnerable Seattle D, including during that OT comeback.
Kliff Kingsbury’s run game was nowhere to be found, with Murray extending a few drives with his legs but Kenyan Drake failing to find much space, and the coach nearly gave the game away by calling for a second-down field goal in OT — and then icing his own kicker with a timeout as the play clock was about to expire. Murray also rocketed some crucial misfires, most notably a fourth-quarter pick that erased the Seahawks’ own turnover and seemingly kept the game in Seattle’s hands. But all in all, the whole group came up big in the clutch, going blow for blow with the consensus MVP and Super Bowl contenders. Murray in particular never seemed to lose his cool — either because of his turnover or because of the weight of the moment — and ended up edging Wilson because of it.
Why the Seahawks lost
There’s no QB-WR duo like Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett, and for most of the night they deserved every bit of praise, showcasing perfect timing on everything from clutch third-down connections to deep-ball touchdowns. But when you lean so much on two guys to carry the whole team … well, it doesn’t always work out. Seattle’s run game worked…