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Cardinals Know Turnover Battle Helps Margin For Error

Team had been even on the season with turnovers before last week's loss

The Cardinals have, generally, taken care of the ball this season. Even with just three wins, they have won the turnover battle in seven of their 14 games (and came out even in an eighth.) But it is front of Jonathan Gannon's mind this week.

That's in part because the Bears -- who host the Cardinals Christmas Eve -- are on a heater with takeaways (more on that in a moment) and in part because the Cards were sloppy in last week's loss to the 49ers.

"I don't know if I can put much more emphasis on ball security," Gannon said.

Kyler Murray threw two interceptions leading to a minus-two in turnover ratio in the game. That doesn't count the five times the Cardinals fumbled, amazingly recovering each one. 

(Another odd stat, which speaks to the randomness of fumbles -- the Cardinals have recovered six fumbles from the other team this season, and lost six fumbles to the opponent. But the Cardinals have fumbled 19 times already in 2023. Although maybe that's par for the course; the Cardinals only lost eight of 25 fumbles last season.)

When it comes to losing the turnover battle, "some teams can overcome that but that's a winning stat for a reason," Gannon said.

Even though the Cardinals are only a minus-two on the season, opponents have scored 71 points off Cardinals turnovers and the Cardinals have managed just 26 off their 15 takeaways.

The Bears have had at least three takeaways in four straight games, with 14 total (12 interceptions). The picks probably have something to do with adding excellent pass rusher Montez Sweat. Interceptions are something to discuss with Murray in many ways, but the fumbles -- even though they weren't lost -- don't sit well with Gannon.

"If a ball on the ground, I am not happy," he said. "Why is the ball on the ground and what do we have to do to correct it, are we coaching it the right way, do the players understand it.

"We are constantly on those details."

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) fumbles the ball while being sacked by San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa, bottom, during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals recovered the ball. (AP Photo/Matt York)