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Passing Attack The Cardinals' Biggest Early-Season Deficiency

Numbers of note following the loss to the Lions

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray throws a pass against the Detroit Lions in a regular season game on Sunday, September 27, 2020.
QB Kyler Murray has not been hitting on all cylinders through the air after three games.

The Cardinals are above average in most facets of the game through three weeks, but not in the most important one.

The passing offense is ranked only No. 25 in the NFL by Football Outsiders following Kyler Murray's three-interception performance against the Lions.

That is in contrast to an efficient rushing attack (No. 7 in NFL), pass defense (No. 9) and run defense (No. 13). The struggles throwing the ball have the team ranked No. 16 overall in DVOA, squarely in the middle of the pack.

Murray's passer rating of 79.7 is 27th in the NFL, and his five interceptions are the third-most in the league. One silver lining from the game against Detroit: Despite the picks, Murray averaged 7.7 yards per pass attempt, which was a season-high, and he was only sacked once for two yards.

If Murray can reduce the interceptions and replicate the yards per attempt figure moving forward, the passing game will steadily improve.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals' defense continues to excel. It moved up one spot in Football Outsiders' rankings after a solid performance against Detroit and now sits No. 7 overall in the NFL.

Other numbers of note following the Week 3 loss to the Lions:

  • Defensive tackle Corey Peters had the third-fastest sack of Week 3 and the seventh-fastest in the NFL this season when he brought down Matthew Stafford in 2.68 seconds. Outside linebacker Devon Kennard brought down Stafford in 3.0 seconds, the 11th-fastest sack of the week.
  • After a pair of top-5 Total QBR performances to open the season, Murray was given a 52.6 rating in Week 3. It was the No. 25 quarterback showing in the league and dropped him to No. 10 overall in 2020.
  • Murray had a pedestrian day on the ground against the Lions, carrying the ball five times for 29 yards. It dropped his yards per carry to 7.2 on the season, but that still leads the NFL. San Francisco running back Jerick McKinnon is second with a 6.9 yards-per-carry average.
  • As noted on Monday, DeAndre Hopkins leads the NFL in catches (32) and receiving yards (356). Despite an illustrious career, he has never led the league in either category. Hopkins is five catches ahead of second-place Alvin Kamara.

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