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Cardinals, Kliff Kingsbury Still Searching For Answer To Slow Starts

Team still looking to score first points in a first quarter this season

A frustrated Kyler Murray looks to the sideline after an incomplete pass during Sunday's loss to the Rams.
A frustrated Kyler Murray looks to the sideline after an incomplete pass during Sunday's loss to the Rams.

The day after the Cardinals frustratingly went through a third straight game of a slow start -- losing to the Rams Sunday -- Kliff Kingsbury didn't have an answer Monday, but emphasized the importance of solving the issue.

The Cardinals are the only NFL team without a point in the first quarter this season. They also have a league-low five first downs in the first quarter, and tie the Carolina Panthers -- whom the Cardinals visit this Sunday -- for fewest total yards (95).

Kingsbury said the team has discussed doing things differently in practice, including stretches and walkthroughs, to potentially solve the problem.

"At some point, it just has to click for us," Kingsbury said. "We need to start faster on offense, get in a groove, and get moving. It's something we need to figure out."

Kingsbury credited the Rams defense after holding the Cardinals without a touchdown in the 20-12 defeat at State Farm Stadium. All-Pro studs defensive lineman Aaron Donald and cornerback Jalen Ramsey made plays as expected.

But Kingsbury noted his team's slow start offensively also came from self-inflicted errors. The Cardinals had several dropped passes in the first half.

Quarterback Kyler Murray had 58 pass attempts, a career-high, and mentioned his pass catchers must be ready for the ball at all times, especially with his make-something-out-of-nothing playstyle.

"Everybody has to be head up, in the game, locked in," Murray said. "We just have to be better." 

Kingsbury understood the sentiment but offered a different take.

"When you throw it near 60 times, there's a lot of room for error," Kingsbury said. "I think a lot of that had to do with the number of plays and how we pushed tempo to catch up in the game."

Still, it remains something to clean up as the Cardinals search for the slow starts cue before heading to Carolina.

"It's very frustrating," wide receiver Marquise Brown said. "We can't put it together, look like an offense that can't be stopped, and then stall out. That's not what we want to be, that's not who we are going to be. Just have to get back to work."

Game action photos from the Cardinals' 12-20 loss to the Los Angeles Rams during Week 3 of the 2022 NFL regular season