Kyler Murray made the move to try and get a few more yards, a scramble three plays into Monday night's game against the Patriots.
It was likely the quarterback's last play of the season, the harshest blow of a year full of them.
Murray went down without being touched and stayed down, an ugly precursor to what is usually bad news. The right knee injury knocked him from the game, and then coach Kliff Kingsbury – while not getting specific – acknowledged the obvious.
"It doesn't look good," Kingsbury said, after the Cardinals lost to the Patriots, 27-13, in a result that felt like only a secondary headline. "We'll know more in the morning."
Checking on Murray on the field after the injury, "I've never seen him in that type of (emotional) shape so I assumed it wasn't good," Kingsbury added.
By the time Kingsbury spoke postgame, national reports across the internet had Murray tearing an ACL, too often the result of a non-contact kind of play. Murray will have an MRI Tuesday, but the reality is that Colt McCoy is expected to be the Cardinals starter for the final four games of the season, and Murray – who ESPN reported on the "Monday Night Football" broadcast was in tears as he was carted off the field – would have to have significant rehab of some sort.
"As a group we have to buckle down and play well together, practice well together, and finish these last four games out," McCoy said. "That will be my focus.
"It sucks for Kyler. We've been together for two years. We've been together every day. I don't ever want to see anything like that happen. I know how much he cares about the game, I know how hard he works. It's just unfortunate. I think I'll be able to put my arm around him with this because I've dealt with many in my career."
The Cardinals (4-9) actually held a 13-7 lead Monday against the Patriots (7-6), who were fighting for their playoff life. But Kingsbury – after Matt Prater had already missed a 50-yard field goal – chose to go for it on fourth down and eschew another 50-yard try on 4th-and-2 with 36 seconds left before halftime.
The pass was knocked down. The Patriots kicked a field goal on the final play of the half, tied it to start the second half, and then turned a DeAndre Hopkins fumble into a 23-yard touchdown return by linebacker Raekwon McMillan to take a lead they never relinquished.
"I take responsibility for that," Hopkins said. "I think that's where everything went downhill. Got them the momentum. It kept coming. That's on me."
The play hurt, but there were many other miscues. The Cardinals only converted 4 of 14 third downs and 1 of 5 on fourth down. Two illegal shifts wiped out two 15-yard passes, and an offensive pass interference cost a 14-yard gain.
The Patriots didn't do much to shake their reputation for a conservative offense, but in the end it didn't matter.
"The self-inflicted stuff was really bad tonight," Kingsbury said.
Murray wasn't the only player to go down. Defensive lineman Zach Allen left the game with a hand injury and was sporting a cast afterward. Cornerback Marco Wilson left with a neck stinger.
But it was Murray's injury that will have the biggest impact, both short-term and long-term.
"It's tough," Kingsbury said. "There's no doubt. You see teams go through it every week, but you lose your starter the third play of the game, non-contact, it's tough to watch and see. But you've got to be able to rebound and play the game."
The Cardinals had gotten out to a good start, with a nine-yard pass from Murray to running back James Conner, and then a six-yard Conner run. But then Murray dropped back, had to scramble, and everything changed.
"He controls the offense," left tackle Josh Jones said. "He's a crazy guy out there, he can do so much. It's tough losing him so early. I just hope he's OK."
That, unfortunately, doesn't look to be the case.
"It hurt -- Kyler put a lot into this," Hopkins said. "He's been preparing his butt off to get back out here after his hamstring (injury) and for that to happen, I hate that for him."