Background: GLENDALE, ARIZONA - OCTOBER 20: Quarterback Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals throws a pass during the NFL game against the New Orleans Saints at State Farm Stadium on October 20, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Saints 42-34. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images.
One of the most auspicious outcomes of the Cardinals’ 42-34 victory over the Saints was the number of Kyler Murray’s perfect passes. The flow and rhythm of Kliff Kingsbury’s offense is dependent on well-timed, accurate on-schedule throws. In this particular game, more often than not Kyler was like Domino’s Pizza, he delivered.
Setting the tone early with Kyler’s first on-schedule throw to DeAndre Hopkins:
This is the ideal kind of first completion versus off-man or zone coverage. It tells the Saints that if this is how they are going to cover, then Murray and Hopkins will play pitch and catch all night.
Perhaps Kyler’s most impressive throw of the night was this deep out pass to DeAndre Hopkins, which Kyler threw to a spot before D-Hop’s break. Like Mac wrote —- this is a “damn near unstoppable pitch and catch.”
Damn near unstoppable pitch and catch pic.twitter.com/jcE01ajnF8— Mac (@azsportsfien) October 25, 2022
What makes this pass even more impressive is the fact that Kyler had only three days to prepare these kind of throws with DeAndre Hopkins, and throughout the night, for the most part, it looked like Kyler and D-Hop had been working in tandem all season.
Brian Baldinger doubles down on how well synced Kyler and DeAndre were on the impressive back shoulder pass and on the deep out timing pass that Mac featured above:
.@AZCardinals @K1 to @DeAndreHopkins like they never missed a day together after 300+ days w/o a throw and catch Cards are 9-2 with DHop in lineup since beginning of 2021 season. #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/bBO89hkIiK— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) October 21, 2022
Baldy does a great job describing how well D-Hop sold his routes and how well Kyler stuck the passes on him.
Take a look at this on-schedule throw over the middle from Kyler to Zach Ertz:
"Kyler can't throw over the middle" pic.twitter.com/s7kjlNn1CJ— Mac (@azsportsfien) October 25, 2022
Check out Kyler’s nifty shifting of his feet to create the clearest possible passing lane. Then, look at the precision of the pass into a very small window. Huge credit to Ertz for his concentration on the catch, knowing the defenders were converging on him.
The TD pass from Kyler to Greg Dortch:
On the pre-snap, Kyler sees that Dortch’s man has outside leverage and thus, if he can throw a quick dart on a slant pass to Dortch, he can fit it between his receiver’s man and the inside linebacker. This is perfect timing and accuracy. Dortch shows superb concentration in looking the ball all the way into his hands (triangle) and then has the wherewithal to split the defenders with a clever crow hop.
Plus, Kyler put up this gem of an off-schedule pass to Rondale Moore:
Notice, as Kurt Warner showed us, how the Cardinals are flooding the right side of the field with receivers and then, for extra good measure they have Rondale Moore coming fast across the field on a crosser. While Kyler’s flushing out to his right is the result of good pressure from the Saints’ pass rush, imagine how effective Kyler could be if he would agree to running sprint-out, bootlegs or waggles to the side they are flooding with a speedy crosser coming hard into the picture, in the event that the other receivers are covered.
Yes, while Kyler and the offense only put up 204 yards passing on a night when they amassed 137 yards rushing, it was an auspicious display of well-timed on-schedule throws. If and when Kyler can garner a semblance of the kind of chemistry and trust that he has with DeAndre Hopkins with his other receivers, think and dream of how productive the Cardinals’ passing game can be.
How about giving these guys (Humphries, Ford, Price, Hernandez, Beachum, Garcia and Jones) a whole enchilada of credit:
Don't get to say this often but here is an Arizona Cardinals interior OL appreciation post pic.twitter.com/yUtNpyxQUk— Mac (@azsportsfien) October 25, 2022
How about giving this guy, Eno Benjamin, his hard-earned kudos:
Eno Benjamin grown man 8 yard run through a 15 yd facemask from a 7X Pro Bowler pic.twitter.com/b1CMuJdrJl— Mac (@azsportsfien) October 25, 2022
Touchdown Cardinals‼— Cardinals Nation (@CardsNationCP) October 21, 2022
This time, courtesy of Eno Benjamin pic.twitter.com/8yZMrXMbEj
And how about giving this young buck, Keaontay Ingram, his fair share of props:
Like the song goes, “Oh what a night.” Now, the hope is that the offense can take the next step forward in trying to end a 10 game losing streak in Minnesota. Two suggestions that come to mind, right off the bat? One, run and throw screens to Patrick Peterson’s side. Two, exploit Jordan Hicks in pass coverage. And, hopefully, that’s just the start of it.
Special thanks to Mac, Brian Baldinger, Arizona Cardinals, Chin Lee, Cardinals Nation and the NFL for providing these highlight videos.