TEMPE, Ariz. (AP)Kyler Murray’s fourth NFL season has been a lengthy exercise in frustration and futility.
Now he’s got to deal with the most serious injury of his professional career.
The Arizona Cardinals quarterback will miss the remainder of the year because of a torn ACL suffered on the third play of Monday night’s 27-13 loss to the New England Patriots. Coach Kliff Kingsbury confirmed the extent of Murray’s injury on Tuesday.
”A difficult year, obviously, from the beginning,” Kingsbury said.
Murray was flushed out of the pocket and running to his right when he tried to juke past a Patriots defender, but tumbled to the grass in obvious pain. Players from both teams surrounded the quarterback before he was carted off the field with a towel draped over his head.
Kingsbury said he spoke to Murray after the injury. The coach added that Joe Burrow’s recent recovery from an ACL injury – the Cincinnati QB tore his ACL in 2020 before leading the Bengals to the Super Bowl in 2021 – gives hope for a quick turnaround.
It’s unclear whether Murray will be ready for training camp next summer.
”I just wanted to make sure he knew how much we appreciated him and we’ll get through this thing,” Kingsbury said. ”He’s never been through this type of serious injury, so it’ll be a new challenge for him.”
The Cardinals posted to social media ”Minor setback for a major comeback. We know (at)K1 will be back and better than ever. Heal soon QB1.”
Murray was replaced by backup Colt McCoy, who will likely remain the starter for the rest of the season. The Cardinals (4-9) have lost five of six, including their past three.
Arizona’s recent hopes as a franchise have revolved around the development of Murray, who was taken with the No. 1 overall pick out of Oklahoma in 2019. The two-time Pro Bowl selection signed a $230.5 million contract during the offseason that could keep him with the franchise until 2028.
It’s fair to wonder if he’ll be the same dual-threat quarterback when he returns. He’s run for 23 touchdowns during his four seasons and his ability to scramble has been central to his success.
”He wants to come back, bigger, stronger and faster than ever,” Kingsbury said.
McCoy doesn’t have the running ability of Murray, but he’ll give the Cardinals a fighting chance over the season’s final four weeks. The 36-year-old has a 3-2 record in games he’s started for the Cardinals over the past two years.
McCoy completed 27 of 40 passes for 246 yards and an interception against the Patriots after coming into the game for Murray.
”His rapport with teammates is as good as I’ve ever seen,” Kingsbury said. ”The respect level they have for him is through the roof.”
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The Cardinals gave up six sacks on Monday, making life tough for McCoy, particularly in the second half. Arizona was in obvious passing situations during the latter part of the game, which gave the Patriots an advantage. Still, the offensive line has to give McCoy a chance.
WR Robbie Anderson had his most productive game since being traded to the Cardinals earlier this season, catching four passes for 50 yards.
WR DeAndre Hopkins is one of the game’s elite receivers, but had a big mistake on Monday. It was his fumble that was picked up by New England’s Raekwon McMillan and returned 23 yards for a touchdown. That gave the Patriots a 20-13 lead in the third quarter and they never trailed again.
Kingsbury said DE Zach Allen (hand) is likely out for next weekend’s game. The coach added CB Marco Wilson (stinger) has a chance to return for the next game against the Broncos.
4-11. That’s the Cardinals record at State Farm Stadium over the past two seasons.
The Cardinals aren’t officially eliminated from the playoff race, but their chances of making the field are slim. Arizona will spend the last four games evaluating its roster, figuring out what to bring back in 2023, and hoping Murray makes a full recovery. They travel to face the Broncos on Sunday.
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