Being down three of their high offensive stars earlier than the sport after which dropping beginning operating again Chase Edmonds to an ankle damage after their first offensive play did not gradual the Cardinals towards the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium.
Arizona routed its NFC West rival 31-17 to enhance to 8-1, exhibiting the Cardinals can win — and win massive — with out a few of their high playmakers.
“When you lose some of your best players it’s not easy,” coach Kliff Kingsbury stated. “But that’s how this league is. Guys stepped up, made big plays all day.”
Colt McCoy began instead of Murray, who missed the primary sport of his three-year profession, and the Cardinals’ offense did not seem to overlook a beat. McCoy threw for 249 yards and a landing.
McCoy took first-team reps all week instead of Murray, who’s nursing a sprained left ankle, and commenced to get a sense he can be the starter Friday. After he took the reps in the course of the Cardinals’ Saturday walk-through earlier than their flight to the Bay Area, McCoy knew, saying it did not must be stated.
“I thought Kliff called a great game,” McCoy stated. “He got me in a rhythm early, got me some completions early, and then it kind of slowed down for me and I felt good. I told the offensive line, like, ‘Look, I’m getting the ball out. Receivers, I’m getting the ball out. I’m not gonna hold onto this ball and take sacks.’ This front is good. They’ve played a lot of good football. When they get going like that, they’re hard to beat. So, I just wanted to get the ball out.”
With Hopkins and Green out, Arizona leaned on receivers Christian Kirk, Rondale Moore and Antoine Wesley. Kingsbury stated Hopkins and Murray have been each progressing in restoration from their accidents — a hamstring for Hopkins and the ankle for Murray — however weren’t “where we want them to be.” Kingsbury did not need to predict whether or not both would play subsequent week.
Kirk completed with 91 yards on six catches, and threw his first completion since highschool on a trick play that Kingsbury first ran on the University of Houston named “Fifth Ward” for the realm of town the place the college is situated. The play had been practiced for weeks with Hopkins throwing to Green. With each out, Kirk was referred to as on to throw to Wesley, finishing a 33-yarder. Wesley caught three passes for 62 yards.
Arizona’s protection saved thriving with out J.J. Watt, who was placed on injured reserve on Saturday. It had 5 sacks for the third time this season, probably the most within the NFL, and held the Niners to 39 speeding yards.
Outside linebacker Markus Golden had a career-high three sacks, giving him 9 this season, and Chandler Jones had his first sack since getting 5 in Week 1. Sunday’s sack helped Jones set the franchise report with 67, passing Freddie Joe Nunn, who had 66.5 from 1985 to 1993. Jones honored Nunn, who died on Oct. 16, by carrying a shirt together with his image emblazoned on it. Jones stated he wore the shirt towards the Green Bay Packers in Week 8 in case he broke the report then.
The Cardinals had three takeaways — two fumbles recovered by linebacker Jordan Hicks that have been was 10 factors and an interception by security Budda Baker.
“That’s what we practice,” Golden stated. “You got to give it to the coaches. All the coaches go good at making us get at the ball and try to punch the ball out all the time. That’s what we’ve been doing and it’s been carrying over to the game.”
Arizona additionally misplaced left guard Justin Pugh to a calf damage, and McCoy stated after the sport that proper guard Max Garcia was misplaced to an damage, too.
But the story of the Cardinals’ offense Sunday was operating again James Conner. Picking up the slack for Edmonds, Conner set two profession highs towards the 49ers. He had three touchdowns for the primary time, and his 45-yard scoring catch early within the third quarter was the longest reception of his profession.
Conner stated that when Edmonds went out, he knew he was going to be leaned on fairly a bit and that the remainder of the sport can be a psychological check. During the week main into Sunday’s sport, he tried to image himself having a giant efficiency.
Ultimately, Conner stated, he was simply doing what the Cardinals requested him to do.
“We had some screen calls, we knew that we could possibly hit bit big on the screens, so just got to take advantage of them,” he stated.
He completed with 96 speeding yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries, and 77 receiving yards on 5 catches.
Kingsbury did not know Conner had the receiving abilities he does when Arizona signed him in March, pondering he was extra of a downhill runner. Kingsbury began noticing Conner’s route operating throughout coaching camp.
“He’s been above and beyond anything I think any of us could have expected, and just the work ethic, the approach to the game each and every day, it’s phenomenal,” he stated.
The Cardinals are 8-1 for the primary time since 2014 and 5-0 on the street to date, however McCoy stated they’re nonetheless taking the season one sport at a time and never trying forward.
“We lost Pro Bowlers on the outside,” McCoy stated. “They didn’t get to play this week, so to come on the road in the division, I’ve been in the league a long time, no matter what division you’re in, that’s hard to do.”