Ahead of Sunday's game against Carolina, quarterback Colt McCoy and the Cardinals' offense were high in spirit.
They were fresh off an incredible performance last week in San Francisco. They felt they had a great week of practice. But it didn't manifest itself Sunday in a disappointing 34-10 loss to Carolina.
McCoy completed 55 percent of his passes for 107 yards and an interception. To make matters worse, McCoy now joins Kyler Murray on the Cardinals' injury list.
Chris Streveler took over the offense after McCoy left in the third quarter with a pectoral injury. After the game, McCoy said tests were ongoing and the hope was that it was nothing major.
Meanwhile, with a looming divisional matchup next week at Seattle, the answer of Murray's health still was unclear after the game.
"He wasn't ready," coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "He's progressing, but he was not ready to play today."
McCoy, who was excellent in beating the 49ers the week prior, was sacked and lost a fumble on the game's first possession, and it never got much better.
"There wasn't anything they did that confused me," McCoy said. "I knew what was going on, it was just a matter of getting the ball out, getting it to the right place, making the play and staying ahead of the chains."
Streveler completed 6-of-9 passes for 36 yards in his first work since the season finale in Los Angeles last year.
The lopsided score showed how much the offense misses Murray's presence. The Panthers have an elite defense, especially against the pass, where they rank No.1 in the league. But it was hard not to wonder about having an MVP-caliber quarterback, who instead was on the sidelines wearing a sweatshirt, the extent of his involvement listening to the playcalls over the radio.
Kingsbury said the team will not rush Murray back.
"We're going to be smart and make sure he's 100 percent, or close enough to where he can do his thing," Kingsbury said. "Like I said, he's got to be able to move and make plays and do what he does."
The Cardinals are thinking big picture when it comes to Murray. This season's strong start warrants a potential playoff run, and they want their franchise quarterback to be healthy – and at his best when that time comes.
The Cardinals can only hope McCoy's injury is nothing significant heading into the week if Murray must miss a third consecutive game. McCoy said the injury occurred after getting sacked on a play and worsened during the game.
"It just got a little tight," McCoy said. "I got hit a couple of times and started to feel it. Then it got to the point where I needed to get it checked out. But all the tests are still ongoing back there."