Monday High 5: Hail Murray Lifts Cardinals Into First Place

Matthew JohnsonNovember 16, 2020
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It’s rare for a football team to win a game on a desperation heave as time runs out, otherwise known as a Hail Mary. Fans in the state of Arizona have been treated to at least three such passes in recent history: the Austin Hill catch for the Arizona Wildcats in September 2014, the Jael Mary for the Arizona State Sun Devils in October 2014, and now the game-winning grab by DeAndre Hopkins for the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday to beat the Buffalo Bills. It easily wins tops our weekly list of the biggest takeaways from the weekend in sports. 

1. This is why the Cardinals have DeAndre Hopkins.

The Cardinals had several trips down to the red zone early on Sunday and settled for field goals. Instead of trying to find Hopkins – their number one target – it seemed like the Cardinals wanted to throw quick slants or out route passes to other receivers that got knocked down by Buffalo’s defensive linemen. The one jump ball that went Hopkins’ way in the end zone happened on the Cardinals final offensive play of the game and it was one he came down with to win the game.  

Big Takeaway: Trust Hopkins to come down with the jump ball! He defeated three Bills defenders to come down with the touchdown. Hopkins is built for catches like this and he needs to get targeted in the red zone far earlier in the game to avoid the necessity for a Hail Mary at the end. 

2. Kyler Murray is on another level.

As good as Hopkins catch was – it’s already one of the greatest plays in franchise history – the throw from Murray was even better. Escaping pressure, racing to his left, twisting the hips and launching a 50-plus yard moonball is one of the more insane efforts you’ll ever see on a football field. Earlier in the game, Murray rushed for two touchdowns and made NFL history along the way. 

Big Takeaway: Murray is combining every aspect of his physical talent into a magical season and has become must watch TV. He is the most exciting player in the NFL right now and claims the national spotlight again this Thursday night at Seattle. 

3. Kliff Kingsbury’s in-game coaching decisions continue to baffle.

Monday morning was setting up to be another rough day for the Cardinals head coach. His fourth quarter play-calling while leading by three points was disastrous. On one series, with the Cardinals trying to milk the clock and facing a third-and-1, Kingsbury dialed up a shotgun formation quarterback run left which went for a loss. Following a clutch interception by unsung defensive hero Dre Kirkpatrick, the offense again had a moment to run the clock out and win the game, but Kingsbury called passes on first and second downs, which both came up incomplete and took virtually no time off the clock. The Bills responded and scored the go-ahead touchdown with 34 seconds left.  

Big Takeaway: The defense bailed out Kingsbury in this game once, but he went to that well one too many times. It took a miracle 43-yard Hail Mary to bail out the coach again. These late game head coaching blunders are getting old and need to stop. It nearly cost them the first Seattle game, it led to a loss in the Miami game, and it should’ve resulted in a loss on Sunday. Kingsbury still has a lot to learn about coaching in the NFL. Thankfully he has players who will correct and overcome his mistakes. 

4. ASU suffers another COVID cancellation.

Arizona State University athletics announced this Saturday’s football game at Colorado is cancelled because of a coronavirus outbreak among the players and head coach Herm Edwards. This comes on the heels of ASU’s cancelled game against Cal that was slated for Saturday night in Tempe.  

Big Takeaway: The Sun Devils lost in Week 1 against USC, have two straight games cancelled, and now have only three games remaining on the schedule. It might be time to close up shop for good in 2020 and allow your seniors to apply for another year of eligibility to play football in 2021.

5. It feels like the Suns want to be relevant again.

The NBA off-season gets underway on Monday as the trade moratorium is lifted and many expect the Phoenix Suns to be major players. Several reports say the Suns will trade for veteran Oklahoma City point guard Chris Paul – a bona fide All-Star and MVP caliber NBA superstar even at the age of 35.  

The Suns social media team is also attracting eye balls with the release of a slick new video promoting the team’s new Valley jerseys 

Big Takeaway: It’s been 10 years since the Suns last playoff appearance and many of those seasons have been unwatchable with very forgettable rosters. What makes this year any different and why would the Suns make a push to acquire a real superstar to join Devin Booker? The answer may be located at the corner of Second Street and Jefferson. Talking Stick Resort Arena is undergoing a major facelift and it’ll likely mean a much pricier ticket for fans and season ticket holders. When fans are allowed back inside NBA arenas, the Suns will have a palace to play in. This may finally be the team on the court that’s worth watching.

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