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After Recent Surge, Cardinals' Offense Among Best In NFL

Group is tops in the league in total offense

Quarterback Kyler Murray has led the Cardinals on an impressive offensive trajectory the past two years.
Quarterback Kyler Murray has led the Cardinals on an impressive offensive trajectory the past two years.

During his press conference on Wednesday, Kyler Murray was asked how it felt to be leading the No. 1 offense in the NFL.

The Cardinals indeed sit atop the league in total offense through Week 8, averaging a robust 419.1 yards per game. That number has been buoyed by an impressive recent stretch against the Jets, Cowboys and Seahawks in which the offense has averaged 484.3 yards per game.

The Chargers are second in total offense, followed by the Chiefs, Seahawks and Titans.

"I guess that means we're doing something good," Murray said. "This being Week 9, we've got a lot of work to do. It's a good stat, a lot of progress from last year to this year, (but) it's a long season."

Do the Cardinals legitimately have the best offense in the NFL? Probably not.

They are No. 8 in scoring at 29.0 points per game, seventh in yards per play at 6.1, fifth in expected points added per Pro Football Focus, and No. 10 in Football Outsiders’ offensive efficiency.

While they may not yet be in the pantheon of the Chiefs and Seahawks, there have been impressive gains made by the group, both this season and over the past two years.

First, a look at 2020. After the first four games of the season, the offense sat at just No. 25 in Football Outsiders' offensive efficiency, so it has gained 15 spots since the clunker against the Panthers.

It's been an even more remarkable turnaround dating back to 2018. That was the year in which the Cardinals finished last in nearly every offensive category in the NFL and had one of the weakest offenses in history, adjusting for era.

Murray and coach Kliff Kingsbury got things back on track quickly in 2019 to get the group above average, and now the offense is legitimately one of the best in the NFL, although Kingsbury said it doesn't mean much to him to have the top-rated offense in total yards.

"I've been fortunate to be around some good offenses, and we're not even halfway through the season, so it doesn't really matter in November where you're at record-wise or statistically," Kingsbury said. "I do appreciate the development that we've had on that side of the football."

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald hopes the offense can sustain the efficiency the rest of the way.

"We've got to be able to finish the season as the No. 1 ranked offense," Fitzgerald said. "And I'm not talking about January. I'm talking about February."

Images from practice at the Dignity Health Training Center, presented by Hyundai.