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An Offense That Can Win, And Falcons Aftermath

Kliff Kingsbury had to be happy, right? His team had won a second straight game, and his offense looked pretty potent again. But Kingsbury always sounds cautious. He said his offense can be better. And when he was asked if the quick-strike, four-play scoring drive in the second quarter -- David Johnson 17-yard run, a 30-yard Johnson catch-n-run, a 31-yard Chase Edmonds catch-n-run, and a 1-yard Johnson TD run -- was the "epitome" of what his offense is, Kingsbury wasn't biting.

"The epitome is just scoring enough points to win," Kingsbury said. "Whatever it takes to win the game, that's who we want to be."

The Cardinals are using lots of receivers – nine on Sunday. They have found a good role for both Chase Edmonds and David Johnson out of the backfield. There are so many looks – Sunday there was a flea-flicker, a wildcat snap to Pharoh Cooper, motions and misdirections – that it’s going to be tough for defenses to get a bead on what the Cardinals want to do when they are going well.

I'm not sure what can really be done about fixing the defense at this point, with Patrick Peterson coming back or not, given the time of season. It has not been good, not nearly enough. That's why the offense is so important.

But it's nice to have someone like Kyler Murray who can race 5 yards for a crucial first down on the last possession. Murray is going to be a player.

-- If Murray's scamper that gave the Cardinals the first down to ice the game had been overturned, and made fourth-and-inches? "We were going to go," Kingsbury said. "I was trying to figure out what play. We'd already uses our fourth-down play earlier, so we were kind of drawing it up in the dirt, but we were going to go."

-- Murray was not sacked Sunday. Considering the kid was on pace to be sacked 80 times after four games, that’s significant. He was only sacked once last week too. The offensive line is doing it’s job, and Murray is being smart.

-- Speaking of smart, Murray also has yet to fumble this season (not just not lose a fumble, but fumble period) and has thrown just four interceptions. He takes care of the ball.

-- That play the Cardinals used on fourth down earlier? A beautiful Murray play-action rollout where he hit tight end Charles Clay for six yards on fourth-and-2. Later in the drive, Maxx Williams had a 20-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown, so a good time for all tight ends.

-- Speaking of Williams, after his score, part of the celebration was a classic Larry Fitzgerald tackle by the ankles.

“I have to do field goal (unit) and I turn around to do PAT, I was already tired enough, and I turn around and was like, ‘Well, I guess I’m going down,’ ” Williams said. “I saw him kind of dive, and I knew from watching other people, I’m going down.”

Fitzgerald smiled when asked about it. “He’s such a humble, hard working dude. He does all the dirty work and to finally see him get in there it’s good to see those guys that work their tails off like that get rewarded with a touchdown. I felt like it took him forever to get there though, it looked like my dad running. It was great to see him get in there. He caught it at the 25 and I thought it took him at least six seconds to get in the end zone from there but it made it that much sweeter.”

-- The Cardinals still have a bagel in the interception column this season. Cornerback Kevin Peterson had a chance at one, although it would’ve been negated by a penalty anyway.

-- The Falcons didn't challenge the early 38-yard pass on the sideline to Trent Sherfield, who made an amazing catch, when replays showed they might've had an argument for an incompletion. Sherfield, however, was sure he made a successful reception, saying he got a foot and then his knee inbounds.

-- The Cardinals scored on the first five possessions Sunday, the first game in which they had done that since a 2009 road game in Chicago on Nov. 8. In that game, Kurt Warner was at the top of his game (even without an inactive Anquan Boldin). After all the offensive struggles of 2018, it was a milestone to mark.

-- Falcons tight end Austin Hooper had 8 catches for 117 yards and a touchdown, and yes, it’s a broken record. Julio Jones also had 8 catches for more than 100 yards, but Hooper definitely seemed to do more damage.

-- This team is going to have to score to win. But they go to New York with a chance to win three straight for the first time since 2015, and Kingsbury will take it.

QB Kyler Murray runs for the game-sealing first down against the Falcons.
QB Kyler Murray runs for the game-sealing first down against the Falcons.

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