The moment could have been ugly early. The Cardinals were already playing out of sorts, and then Kyler Murray tried to run out of his own end zone, getting his head nearly ripped off at the end of the play as he was tackled around his helmet. And then he lay on the field for a bit, in a scene no one affiliated with the Cards would ever want to see.
Spoiler alert: Murray ended up OK. He threw three touchdown passes and another solid game and the Cardinals rolled, 31-5, over the Texans. But he took a couple of trips to the blue medical tent Sunday, and that's just not what you want to see for your franchise quarterback, especially when you are undefeated and playing what has a chance to be a special season.
"For him to go in the tent, I think it brings a little awareness to everybody, a little panic," wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins said. "He's tough. He bounced right back."
Murray was beat up pretty good Sunday. He was sacked four times and took a bunch of other hits. He was hit in the head once on a sack that was erased because of the penalty. Murray said he had a "little bruise, little dead leg for a second" but insisted he was fine.
"I took some shots today," he acknowledged, and with the Cards playing the Packers Thursday, it wasn't the game you'd want this to happen.
Kliff Kingsbury said the Cardinals would be smart with Murray during prep work, and realistically, practice never looks like real practice for any NFL team heading into the Thursday game after a Sunday game.
Kingsbury smiled when he was asked about his anxiety level when Murray goes into the tent.
"What's the highest it could be?" Kingsbury said. "Yeah, I don't know numerically speaking, but it's way up there."
Kingsbury could be talking for the entire fan base. But Murray seems to be OK, he played like it (20-for-28, 261 yards, three touchdowns, his first interception in four games) and all's well that ends well.
-- Kingsbury confirmed the story he didn't watch the Browns game, instead following the play by play on his phone while gameplanning for the Texans. So I asked him if he was now behind on the Packers, since he actually had to coach Sunday.
"I was on the Packers all week," Kingsbury said, "so we're good there."
-- Some reports out of Philadelphia were that Zach Ertz wasn't a YAC guy. Could've fooled me after that 47-yard touchdown. Already he's paying off. "I'm just jubilant right now," Ertz said.
-- Right guard Josh Jones didn't have a great game, getting beat for a sack early, getting a holding call and generally struggling. But he owned up to it after the game, tweeting "Red Sea, I didn't have my best game today. I promise to flush this week and bounce back even harder on a short week against a really good team!"
Say what you will about how Jones played – and he does need to play better – but he owned it.
-- Not sure anyone is playing better on defense than Markus Golden. With Chandler Jones out -- and Kingsbury said he was hopeful Jones would be ready for the Packers -- Golden came up with four sacks in two games. Speaking of Jones, he refuted a Jay Glaze report he lost 15 pounds when he was sick.
-- The Cardinals lost the coin flip for the first time this season. Didn't cost them a win though.
-- DeAndre Hopkins now has caught passes against all 32 NFL teams. He also has seven touchdowns, more than he had all last season.
-- It was good Hopkins got his touchdown catch because he was wide open earlier on that drive, and Murray just missed him. Hopkins got his targets and catches (seven) but only had 53 yards. It was funny to hear Kingsbury touch on the Hopkins score afterward.
"We wanted to get him as many touches as he can, but I'm glad he got into the end zone," Kingsbury said. "He's been getting into the end zone a lot, and as long as he scores, he seems to be happy after the game."
-- You will not find a better throw than the one Murray got to A.J. Green for 41 yards, dropping into the bucket against a Cover 2. One of the best throws he's made in the NFL.
-- Of course, another great one was Murray's 15-yarder to Hopkins, where he escaped sacks three times, shades of the Rondale Moore pass against the Titans in the opener.
That's it for tonight. Not sure I can recall a better Thursday night matchup than this one coming, the 6-1 Packers against the 7-0 Cardinals. We're going to be back here soon enough.