A year ago this week, Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins made sure they'd be forever linked in Cardinals' lore with the "Hail Murray" to beat the Bills.
Twelve months later, Murray and Hopkins have been linked in a different way – their combined absence underscoring crucial missing pieces for the Cardinals' offense.
It's not next-level analysis, of course. Any team subtracting a Pro Bowl quarterback and a Pro Bowl wide receiver will feel the void.
The Cardinals might get Murray back Sunday in Seattle, their final game before their bye. Murray said "I hope so" Wednesday when asked if he would play in his return from an ankle injury, noting that "I'm pretty close" to a return after practice.
Coach Kliff Kingsbury, not surprisingly, remained cautious in his assessment.
"He was out there moving around pretty good today, and has just gotten better every day," Kingsbury said. "We shall see how it progresses."
Backup quarterback Colt McCoy was "OK" with his pectoral injury, Kingsbury said, and was limited, although given that the Cards have not signed another quarterback, it seems likely either Murray or McCoy will be able to start Sunday in Seattle.
Hopkins still is not practicing, victim of a hamstring injury that has proved to be serious enough to keep Hopkins out.
And it very obviously impacts the Cardinals' offense.
"Those are two of the best players in the league," Kingsbury said. "There are things (opponents) have to do to try and account for both guys, whether it is Kyler in the quarterback-run game each and every time he's handing the ball off, or Hop in any type of one-on-one situation. You're going to get played different when those guys aren't out there."
The Cardinals are now far removed from the popular A.J. Green comment from earlier this season, that "Hop don't miss games." Now, he's missed them. If he ends up missing Sunday's game in Seattle – and Hopkins was again a practice no-show Wednesday, and he has not been on the practice field since Oct. 22 – he will have missed more games this month than he had in his entire eight-year career prior to 2021. Hopkins had never missed more than one game in a season before.
Even in the last game he played in, the Thursday night loss to the Packers, Hopkins made two catches but was limited to only 15 snaps.
"He's the best receiver in the league," Murray said. "I said the other day, I miss watching him. I've never really sat on the sideline. To be on the sideline and not being able to watch him do what he does, you miss his presence out there.
"Missing him is definitely tough. But when we get him back, he'll be ready to go."
Maybe that is post-bye for Hopkins. Murray? The Cardinals wouldn't mind a sneak peek after two games sidelined.
"I'm way further along than I thought I'd be," Murray said, adding that he will play if he is able but at the same time "being smart and understanding what we are really here for."
What the Cardinals are here for is a deep playoff run, which is why with both Murray and Hopkins, they want to make sure they are healthy enough not to re-injure themselves, even with a division game on tap.
Not even watching the Cards get run over by the Panthers last weekend has changed that mindset for Murray.
"Before the loss, just watching in general makes you want to get back out there," the quarterback said. "It was an unfortunate loss for us. But I'm on my pace. I'm not too worried about last week. That's over with."