Kyler Murray is a game-changer. Most of the time it's changing the game for the Cardinals' betterment, although as we saw Sunday, there can be gut punches too. But I'll say this: The Cardinals' QB has self-awareness, and I particularly liked one quote he had after the Cards' crazy win over the Vikings about the offense overall.
"I tell you all the time, it comes down to shooting ourselves in the foot and stopping ourselves," Murray said. "When we score, it feels easy, it feels fun. When we turn the ball over, negative plays, it's like 'Damn,' s**t feels ugly. It is what it is, we have to continue to get better and continue practicing."
There were definitely fun moments Sunday, and ugly moments. The defense, especially early, looked nothing like the defense that played in Tennessee (although the way the Titans ran the ball in Seattle, the Cards still get props for that performance.) The Cardinals ran the ball OK but not great. They lost the turnover battle.
But offensively, especially, I mean … DeAndre Hopkins looked like he was going to have a huge game but didn't – and while Kliff Kingsbury said he has to get the ball more to Hop, the Cards still almost had 500 yards. There was big production from a tight end (Mad Maxx, come on down!) and Rondale Moore looks special.
I've seen some nutty games, and Sunday's was up there. I did feel like overall, the Cardinals were the better team. (The Vikings are thinking the same though I'm sure.) The Cards should've lost. But they didn't. And now Kliff Kingsbury has put together 2-0 starts two consecutive years.
-- OK, I don't mean to be mean. But the Vikings lost like this Sunday, they lost 23-20 to the Cardinals in 2015 in Arizona when Dwight Freeney stripped Teddy Bridgewater on the next-to-last play when the Vikings were in field goal range, and, of course, in the Vikings' visit in 2003 to Sun Devil Stadium, the Cards broke their heart and playoff hopes on the last play. That's some harsh stuff.
-- Looked like Kyler checked out of the fourth down call when the Vikings went Cover Zero and for a second straight week hurled a perfect off-the-back-foot bomb to Christian Kirk – this time for 36 yards – for a huge play. So beautiful.
-- Patrick Peterson was matter-of-fact after the game. He said he thought he did a good job in controlling his emotions and treating the game like any other. "I just wish I would've had one play back," he said, which I assume was the TD catch from Hopkins. (Not sure what Peterson's role was on the Moore touchdown; coach Mike Zimmer only said it was a busted coverage.)
-- Jordan Hicks again played the whole game, Zaven Collins, I am betting, played less than Week 1.
-- Cornerback Marco Wilson did not return after an ankle injury. Right tackle Kelvin Beachum, who was nursing a ribs injury but started, came out at halftime and was replaced by Justin Murray. There were no updates, but if Wilson is down, it'll be interesting to see what they do. Antonio Hamilton got the third CB snaps after Wilson went out.
-- Chandler Jones did not get a sack (and actually apologized to the fans on Twitter after), but he came really close three times. One time Kirk Cousins was sacked, but Markus Golden knocked the ball loose just as Jones was taking him down, so officially Golden got the sack. Jones remains a half-sack short of the franchise record.
-- Kyler Murray's rushing TD was the 17th of his young (34 games) career, setting a franchise record for QBs. Jim Hart had the mark of 16, set over 18 years with the Cardinals. So, yeah, two different kind of paths to the record.
-- No, Murray's TD celebration wasn't an homage to Baby Yoda, no matter what Chandler Jones called him last week. "I've never watched Star Wars before. I got to my phone and I see people talking about baby Yoda but I had no clue what that was. I wasn't intending to do that."
-- Williams had 94 yards on seven catches. I know, so many people have waited for the tight end to be a part of the offense. His 17-yard gain off multiple deflections was a spark, Kingsbury said. Williams admitted being so involved was fun. It's too bad Williams couldn't have gotten six more yards – the Cardinals have not had a 100-yard receiving game by a tight end since Rob Awalt in 1989.
-- Murray's 400 yards passing was his second-best of his career, after the 406 he had against Philly last season.
-- Murray said on his second interception, "the dude hit me upside the head, I don't know if that's legal or not. But it would have been a touchdown, I'll say that. If I didn't get hit in the head, it would be a touchdown."
-- Moore is going to be so good. I love how they are using him, and I love how driven he is. The TD catch was one thing – he just couldn't drop it, he was so open. But the 18-yard catch-and-run to set up Matt Prater's (franchise-record) 62-yard field goal? *Chef's kiss*
That's all for tonight. The Cardinals are 2-0 with a trip to Jacksonville coming. It's never dull, I'll say that.