Kyler, Kingsbury downplay squabble: ‘We’re good’
2: 07 AM ET
Josh WeinfussESPN Staff Writer
- Covered the Cardinals since 2012
- Graduate of Indiana University
- Member of Pro Football Writers of America
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Both Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury and quarterback Kyler Murray downplayed a heated exchange that cameras caught in the second quarter Thursday night following their 42-34 win over the New Orleans Saints that snapped an eight-game home losing streak.
Cameras showed Murray walking to the sideline, repeatedly mouthing “Calm the f— down” to Kingsbury with 2: 32 left in the second quarter after Arizona called a timeout to reset its next play.
“The time was running out and we couldn’t get off the play we were trying to run,” Murray stated. “So, it was, I guess that’s my fault. I’ll take it. “
Murray continued to have words for Kingsbury as he walked to the sideline, where wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins acted as a peacekeeper and got in between the quarterback and the coach.
“He can be quite animated at times over there on the sidelines,” Murray stated.
Murray was asked if Kingsbury was shouting in his helmet’s ear. He said no.
” I just see the antics,” Murray stated.
Kingsbury called it a difference of opinion before trying to bring levity to the situation.
“He said that I didn’t look as good on TV being so fiery,” Kingsbury jokingly added. “I don’t know what it is, guess it’s a Gen Z phenomenon. “You’re on TV, so calm down. ‘
” I like to express emotion. “
Murray stated that Kingsbury is “usually chilled… until Sunday.” “
Cardinals rookie running back Keaontay Ingram scored from the 2-yard-line on the next play and then running back Eno Benjamin, who rushed for a career-high 92 yards, ran in the 2-point conversion to tie the score at 14. Murray stated, “We’re good.” “We’re going make it right. That was a good result. That’s all I was trying to say. Just relax.
“It doesn’t bother me, or I don’t think it bothers him. We are just trying to win. It’s a moment-to-moment thing. Then we’re good. “
Said Hopkins, “Both of these guys want to win. That is what I love. I love being part of a team where two people are focused on winning and dedicated. Although I am not married, it sounds like a marriage. “
That touchdown was the beginning of a 102-second streak that changed the direction of the game. The Cardinals intercepted Saints quarterback Andy Dalton on back-to-back drives and returned them both for touchdowns to take a 14-point lead at halftime.
The first interception was by cornerback Marco Wilson, who grabbed the ball out of midair after wide receiver Marquez Callaway bobbled it. He returned it 38 yards for the touchdown. Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons picked off Dalton with a one-handed grab on the Saints’ next offensive series and sprinted to the end zone for a 56-yard touchdown.
“That was for everyone out there who said that I can’t catch.” Simmons said. “That one-handed right here, remembering what my coach said to me on that playcall. It’s nice to be able execute it correctly because he has been emphasizing exactly the same thing I did. It was my first catch and I knew it was time. I also knew that Chris Olave was fast, but I thought he was on the opposite side of the field. I knew I was good. “
By time Simmons scored, just 1 minute and 42 seconds of game time had elapsed and the Cardinals had put 22 points on the board to take a 28-14 lead at halftime. Their 28 points nearly matched the 29 points Arizona had scored in total in the first half in its first six games of the season.
Arizona also had a third interception when cornerback Antonio Hamilton, in his second game back from suffering second-degree burns on his feet in August, picked off Dalton in the end zone late in the first quarter.
Thursday marked the return of Hopkins, who missed the first six games of this season after violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy. He also missed five games last season due to an MCL injury.
In his first game in 311 days, Hopkins had 103 yards on 10 catches after he was targeted 14 times. It was his fourth time hitting both marks in the same game as a Cardinal and the first time since Oct. 25, 2020. “I spent a lot time in the offseason getting ready for this moment,” Hopkins stated. “I knew what I was up against when I was out six games. The main goal is to win. So, for me, if I had 10 catches and 10 yards if we would have won a game I would still be very [ecstatic]. “
Thursday’s win was the first time the Cardinals won at home in 361 days, a feat Murray called “crazy. “
They snapped their losing streak thanks to 42 points, the most they’ve scored under Kingsbury, who was hired in 2019, and the most since Week 17 of the 2016 season. Kingsbury stated that the men were excited. “Definitely something they’ve had a long time to answer about and especially after a couple of losses and going into a longer break for the game, it was a good time. “
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.