Who were the players of the game that delivered the victory? Well...to be honest, this was about as much of a “team win” as you can get with the offense, defense and special teams putting together a nearly complete game from start to finish where there wasn’t one area holding down the others.
Still, there’s some accolades to be handed out...
Honorable Mention: Coach Kliff Kingsbury
Kliff went into a must win game with the defense stumbling and found a way to bring back some of the “Murray Magic” the team had found earlier in the year:
Kudos, Kliff, for using Kyler more under center---makes it harder for defenses to see and pick him up, and adds the threat of bootlegs and waggles. Plus, RBs get quicker jump off the snap. Furthermore, smart move K2 to put Maxx Williams in the backfield as Kyler bodyguard.— Walter B J Mitchell (@WBJMItch) December 14, 2020
It seemed much more like the Cardinals weren’t fully unleashing Murray (he scrambled and had by my count only 2 designed runs on the day and none near the goal-line) but the past time of tempo and issues with the offense were offset by Kingsbury finding what worked and most of it was....
Doing stuff that Sean McVay did with Jared Goff making things easier on his QB at the cost of more explosive plays downfield. A solid job.
#4. Dan Arnold
I was tempted to put Arnold higher, given how critical his touchdown was at the time of the game for the Cardinals in a situation where it felt like they needed to score to keep a comfortable lead and not simply keep kicking field goals.
The Giants blitzed on 4th down and then this happened:
Arnold’s not been QUITE as hyped as many thought he’d be but he’s working his way into a solid contributing role and a needed weapon for the offense.
He would have had a highlight reel catch had the ball not been overturned by replay as well, showing some dynamic athleticism at his size.
#3. Deandre Hopkins
How often is it that Hopkins will have 9 catches for 136 yards and will NOT be in the top two for players? I thought he carried the passing offense overall on the day with some help from Dan Arnold & Chase Edmonds and a biiit of Larry Fitzgerald but he’s just been dominant and the Giants coverage has been no joke this year.
It’s still crazy to think that Arizona took a step with him forward to getting back into the playoffs on the same day that his former team in the Texans were eliminated from playoff contention altogether.
#2. Kyler Murray
It’s getting tough to rank Kyler on these lists, cause I felt like it would have been nice to put another player in there when they have a good game, like Dan Arnold.
But I think that makes it WAY too easy to take him for granted.
He got back to doing what he does well: making plays when needed with his legs, making smart decisions in the passing game and ultimately won against a brutal defense.
Murray ensured that Arizona never felt the threat of the Giants making a comeback with the way he took care of the ball and scrambled fearlessly once again.
And that’s what this team needs. He doesn’t need to be superman, and didn’t have to be in this game for the Cardinals to win. Helped dictate the defense and when the Giants brought pressure, made them pay and moved the ball up and down the field.
More than doubling the point total the Seahawks had scored the week previously.
#1. Haason Reddick
For what it would take to pass up Murray on this list well....how about a new franchise record in sacks in one game?
Daniel Jones has the awareness of a Generation Z teenager who gets dropped off in a random location and has never had to navigate without Google Maps handy in their life.
But that doesn’t make what Reddick did any less impressive. He brutalized Jones and McCoy from the righthand side and has evolved into a much more complete player in his final year of his rookie deal.
It’s been tremendous to see him finally find success after being a butt monkey for many fans despite not being used in a proper way for perhaps the first 3 years of his NFL career.
He ultimately had the game of his life against the Giants and ensured the victory in the end for Arizona, tears streaming down his face:
Have a day, Haason.