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Struggles For First-Team Offense In Cardinals' Preseason Loss To Chiefs 

Murray's first action of year features one completion in 17-10 defeat

Quarterback Kyler Murray takes off on an eight-yard scramble, which was the highlight of his nine plays Friday against the Chiefs.
Quarterback Kyler Murray takes off on an eight-yard scramble, which was the highlight of his nine plays Friday against the Chiefs.

Perhaps it's good that Kyler Murray is steadfast in his belief that preseason games don't count, because the Cardinals would've had no interest in having Murray's preseason debut Friday night matter much.

Murray played, three series in fact. But the results were disappointing even for a tune-up, in what eventually was a 17-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at State Farm Stadium.

"Not real sharp offensively, obviously," coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "But that happens. They played good defensively. We have a lot to work on this week."

The Cardinals went three-and-out three times and in those nine snaps, Murray, who did not speak to the media, had a scramble of eight yards, was sacked twice and he completed 1-of-4 passes for two yards. The Cards (1-1) had minus-1 yard of offense when the first unit came out of the game.

DeAndre Hopkins didn't play, but A.J. Green did.

"You'd love to be able to get a touchdown in there, but I definitely don't think the sky is falling," left tackle D.J. Humphries said.

"It's always good to have group success (as an offense)," Humphries added. "But it's not one of those things where I am feeling bad about our offense because it didn't happen today."

It wasn't like Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes looked like he was in midseason form either, but he did move the Chiefs. Mahomes ended up getting 33 snaps, leading one 15-play drive that ended in a field goal and another deep drive where Mahomes should've thrown the ball away and instead forced it to the end zone, where cornerback Byron Murphy made a toe-tapping interception.

Mahomes ended up 10-for-18 for 78 yards and the pick. The first-team Cardinals defense, still without all their main defensive linemen, did force the Chiefs into an 0-for-3 on third downs on their initial drive, although the Chiefs picked up two fourth downs.

The Cards close out their preseason schedule Aug. 28 in New Orleans. Kyler Murray's potential to play is an unknown – Kingsbury said the team will continue to take Murray's playing status "week to week."

Cardinals backup quarterback Colt McCoy was 13-for-18 for 113 yards and an interception (which was an amazing diving end-zone grab by Chiefs safety Juan Thornhill.) Third-stringer Chris Streveler had a beautiful 20-yard touchdown pass to tight end Ross Travis.

And Kingsbury credited the defense, although "we were out there way too many plays," Kingsbury said.

But it's the offense everyone was watching Friday, with Mahomes on the other side of the ball and Murray in a game for the first time in 2021. The very first play was a rare sight – Murray under center for a Chase Edmonds run. Then a quick pass to rookie receiver Rondale Moore for two yards, before a third-down pass whizzed past Moore when Moore sat down in a zone and Murray looked like he expected Moore to keep moving.

There was another instance like that with Murray and Green, something Kingsbury said wasn't a miscommunication as much as "getting on the same page." It was important, Kingsbury added, that the offense with Murray was "getting out there with live bullets and time on task."

"I think it gives us something to look forward to Monday (at practice)," Moore said. "Obviously we didn't execute like we wanted to. Luckily we get to go to the drawing board and figure it out. I think it's inevitable to hold yourself accountable and go figure it out as a player to help this team."