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Offensive Line Protecting Kyler Murray Better Than Sack Total Suggests

The Cardinals' offensive line has been better than expected in 2019.
The Cardinals' offensive line has been better than expected in 2019.

The Cardinals’ offensive line has been a pleasant surprise this season.

The team’s rushing attack is averaging 5.0 yards per carry, which is on pace to set a franchise record one year after finishing last in the NFL at 3.8 yards per rush.

And even though quarterback Kyler Murray has been sacked 29 times – tied for second-most in the NFL -- that’s not indicative of the job the linemen are doing, per one advanced metric.

According to ESPN’s pass-block win rate, the Cardinals are a top-10 unit in the NFL, winning their team matchup against pass-rushers 59 percent of the time. ESPN sets the baseline at 2.5 seconds, meaning a pressure before then is a loss and sustained blocks are a win.

A.Q. Shipley and J.R. Sweezy have been particularly impressive individually. Shipley is fourth among centers, winning his pass-blocking duties 97 percent of the time. Sweezy is eighth among guards, winning 95 percent of his battles.

As for the other side of the ball, it seems like the Cardinals’ pass-rush shouldn’t be blamed for the pass defense woes. The pass-rushers are No. 12 in the league in pass-rush win rate, finishing on top in 47 percent of their battles.

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