Kyler Murray Has Game-Winning Drive for Cardinals in Season Debut

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By Uncle Rico

Backed up in their own territory with a 4th & 13 in the final minutes of the game, Kyler Murray did what Kyler Murray does best: 

Kyler Murray

He made an electrifying play with his legs, converting the down on a drive which led to an eventual game-winning field goal.

With the game on the line, K1 reminded Cardinals fans (especially this one) of what he brings to the table & why he was a two-time Pro Bowl QB. His debut was nothing short of a success. And while there was some predictable rust on the now veteran QB, fans entered a new “Honeymoon” chapter in their relationship with Kyler Murray, reminiscing about the things that made them fall in love with the beleaguered QB in the first place.

Kyler was sidelined for nearly a year after tearing his ACL towards the end of last season. Many questions arose in his absence, some being answered. Cardinals King Michael Bidwell decided there was only room for one with that title, firing Head Coach Kliff KINGsbury (see what I did there). Kingsbury had long been an Grade A ass-sniffer of Kyler (dating back to his high school days) and seemingly the main reason Murray stalled in his maturation. They had a more “Big Brother/Lil’ Bro” relationship, with Murray being the Big Brother; not a good dynamic if you’re the head coach.

Along with Uncle Kliff, Bidwell decided to depart from long-time General Manager Steve Keim, who is now entering the “media circuit” portion of his life (no doubt auditioning for a career as a sports pundit). Both Keim & Kingsbury built a team for Kyler, to his exact specifications. Don’t forget, it was Keim who fired Steve Wilks (now, SF’s defensive coordinator) after only one season, albeit abysmal, which earned the Bird Gang the #1 overall pick in the 2019 draft. 

Then, Keim hired Murray’s #1 fan as his head coach in Uncle Kliff. MY guy literally told reporters in 2018 that if it were his choice, he would take the Oklahoma Sooner QB with #1 pick WHILE HE WAS STILL COACHING TEXAS TECH. K1 had long been an entry in Kingsbury’s dream journal. Even though Murray did become a Pro Bowl QB under Kingsbury, it didn’t translate to wins (both in the final half of every season & in their one playoff berth).

Some say Kingsbury’s offensive scheme was unsustainable in the NFL. Others say it was his lack of leadership. I find a strong case in both arguments. But Keim’s hands were also dirty. He was like the rich father of a spoiled daughter who couldn’t say no.

Kyler wanted a big-name receiver over the aging legend Larry Fitzgerald; Keim scooped up “Nuke” Hopkins. Kyler wanted his star receiver who helped him rack up college passing statistics; Keim gifts Kyler “Hollywood” Brown. Kyler wanted more freedom to call-plays in the offense; the Cardinals literally let Kyler call the second-half of a football game (even if it was only a preseason game).

That sort of f**kery & favoritism combined with Murray’s enabled ability to blame everyone but himself for mistakes led to a disastrous recipe for an undercooked bird. Eventually, Bidwell couldn’t stand the smell coming from the Cardinals Training Facility, which already had a reputation for being a prehistoric laugher. 

Kyler Murray

Enter new HC Jonathan Gannon & GM Monti Ossenfort.

Now, I can neither confirm nor deny that the new duo were in contact with Murray in regards to their movement early in last year’s draft, but taking the prized left tackle Paris Johnson Jr. (OSU) to cover Murray’s blindside was certainly a pick he didn’t mind. But therein lies the mystery surrounding the rest of the Cardinals season:

Was that pick tailored to appease K1, signaling they were investing in his future health or was it a move to gain more draft capital, helping move the Cardinals into a position to gain the #1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft & take everyone’s assumed pick Caleb Williams?

The real question that will be giving Cardinals executives & coaches sleepless nights is what to do with Kyler Murray: 

Should they continue playing Murray, in an effort to show the organization as a whole that the new regime is working towards a winning culture now, but potentially relinquishing the #1 overall pick?

Or

Should they “protect” their asset, sitting Murray for the rest of the season, using his one game as justification for a high trade valuation & ultimately tanking down the stretch in effort to secure the secure the #1 pick (using it on potential 2-time Heisman winner & superstar USC QB Caleb Williams)? In other words, do the “pros” of gaining the #1 pick outweigh the “cons” of signaling to both the fans & the organization that losing is acceptable in certain situations?

Both Williams & Murray have made the answers to the question “who should be the Cardinals franchise QB” a difficult one; Murray because of his play this past Sunday (showing that he hasn’t lost a step of athleticism) & Williams because of his losing record against non-scrub teams.

So who do you think should be the Cardinals franchise QB moving forward?

Join the conversation by sending me your answers on

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TWITTER @ TheReal_TioRico &/or @bleacherbrother 

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