For a team with significant aspirations in 2022, the Cardinals have not started games well.
While Arizona ended up defeating Carolina 26-16, the Cardinals were down 10-3 at halftime. Quarterback Kyler Murray was 13-of-20 for 90 yards with a pick-six in the first two quarters. He’d gained just 4 yards on four carries.
The club turned it around in the second half, scoring three touchdowns and a field goal before winding down the clock at the end of the game. Murray finished 23-of-32 for 207 yards with two touchdowns.
But the slow starts remain concerning for head coach Kliff Kingsbury and company.
“Been just anemic,” Kingsbury said in his postgame press conference. “It’s all of us. Coaches and players. We got to figure it out, the recipe. We got an offensive pass interference on an RPO, which I’ve never seen. It’s just strange things are happening. We just got to find a way to settle in early and call better plays. And execute at a higher level.”
Kingsbury said he hopes the team’s finish — scoring 23 points in the second half, including 16 in the fourth quarter — will carry over to Week Five.
“We were able to stick to our game plan. We all set out as a staff saying, ‘Hey, we’re not going to get out of whack. We’re not going to do all 11 personnel [and] two minute. We’re going to stick to our game plan.’ Then that’s what works.
“Hopefully, we can get going. I know the stat is we win a bunch of games when we rush 30-plus times. We don’t when we don’t. We’ve got to find a way to try and get those rushes when we can. Fortunately, we were able to stay in the game plan. Not get too far behind because our defense played so well that we could stick to our guns and find a way to win.”
If the Cardinals get off to another slow start in Week Five, the result may not be as satisfactory. The 4-0 Eagles are headed West to take on Arizona in the desert.