Arizona Cardinal quarterback Kyler Murray is having a historic season.
Following yesterday’s victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, Murray has accumulated a seasonal stat line that is unlike anything we’ve ever seen in desert.
Keep in mind that, historically, the majority of successful signal callers for the Cardinals have been statuesque in the pocket. Meaning they have limited mobility and their production only comes from the passing game.
Kurt Warner and Carson Palmer put together several impressive seasons for the Cardinals, yet what Kyler Murray is doing in 2020 eclipses even their finest regular season efforts. Again, I say REGULAR season not post season production ala Warner in 2008-09.
At the writing of this article, through 14 regular season games, Kyler Murray has amassed 4,378 yards (3,637 passing/741 rushing) of total offense. The 23 year old has 37 total touchdowns (24 in 2019) and a passer rating of 97.1.
He is also is completing 67.6% of his throws.
Kurt Warner’s best season with the redbirds came in 2008 when the Hall of Famer threw for over 4500 yards and 30 touchdowns. Keep in mind that no other team in NFC West that season finished with a winning record.
Murray is also on pace for 30 passing touchdowns, but has an outside chance of securing thirteen rushing touchdowns on the ground. That is being done in the ultra competitive 2020 NFC West that boasts three head coaches that have all been to Super Bowls.
Kyler Murray’s 2nd TD pass today gives him 25 for the season to go along with his 11 rushing TDs.— Mark Dalton (@CardsMarkD) December 20, 2020
He joins Cam Newton (2015) as the only players in NFL history w 25+ passing TDs & 10+ rushing TDs in a season. pic.twitter.com/eDGjdtkfT8
Well what about Carson Palmer? With Bruce Arians at the helm, Palmer’s 2015 season was one for the ages. The former Heisman winner tossed a Cardinal record 35 passing touchdowns while passing for just under 4700 yards.
Impressive but still not equal to what Murray has done.
For an Arizona Cardinal team that picked first in the draft roughly 18 months ago, Murray has put this dormant franchise on his back and immediately made them competitive. Outside of All Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins, Murray’s most reliable pass catchers are a running back (Chase Edmonds) and an undrafted TE (Dan Arnold).
Not exactly prime Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Steve Breaston, John Brown, David Johnson or Michael Floyd.
Yet here the Cardinals are, contending for the playoffs, led by a 23 year old former baseball prospect that could very well reach 5000 yards of total offense in his second professional season.
Kyler Murray is now over 300 passing yards today.— Mark Dalton (@CardsMarkD) December 20, 2020
He has 8 career 300-yard games, twice as many as next closest Cards QB ever had in his first 2 seasons pic.twitter.com/e4dmijsDB4
Kyler Murray isn’t perfect, as Sunday’s redzone interception shows he still has areas of his game that need work. For most of the season, the intermediate passing game has been sluggish and Murray still has too many balls batted down at the LOS. Part of that, I would argue, is due to the absence of a true number two receiver behind Hopkins.
Yet unlike Palmer and Warner, Murray's ability to create with his legs will likely prolong his career which will also greatly aid his development (think early Russell Wilson). It should be noted that due to said mobility, combined with the efforts of offensive line coach Sean Kugler, Kyler Murray has been sacked only 22 times in 2020 (48 in 2019).
That is astounding and completely unheard of for a franchise that is often affiliated with egregious offensive line play.
So as we sit here and watch our Arizona Cardinals compete for a precious post season spot, take note of what you’re watching each and every Sunday. For the first time in franchise history, the Arizona Cardinals not only hit on a young quarterback but he’s already knocking on the door of stardom.
Appreciate Kyle Murray, because what we’re seeing now is the greatest regular season play from any Cardinal quarterback.