Football fans in the Valley had to suffer through really bad college games (ASU and UA) Saturday night, but were rewarded with the best NFL game of the weekend on Sunday (Cardinals vs. Vikings) with a fortunate ending. Here are our five big takeaways from the break even weekend in sports.
1. Make no apologies for winning.
A win is a win and there’s no need to apologize for it. That’s the mentality Arizona Cardinals fans need to have after escaping with a 34-33 win over Minnesota. Vikings kicker Greg Joseph missed a 37-yard field goal attempt wide right as time expired to seize defeat from the jaws of victory. With the win, the Cardinals improve to 2-0 and are riding the hot hand of their third year quarterback. Kyler Murray once again looked like an MVP-caliber player, passing for 400 yards and three touchdowns. Murray also ran for a score, setting an NFL record along the way.
Big Takeaway: Kyler Murray looks to be a complete quarterback and this football team is finally fun to watch for the first time since 2015. The Cardinals are back on the road in Week 3 at Jacksonville (0-2). The Jaguars were the worst team in the league a year ago and appear to still hold that dubious rank this season. It would be an incredibly epic failure if the Cardinals don’t come home 3-0 next Sunday afternoon before a Week 4 showdown with the Rams.
2. Steve Keim got a draft pick right.
The Arizona Cardinals general manager has taken a lot of fair criticism over the years for his poor record in the NFL Draft (Josh Rosen, Andy Isabella, Robert Nkemdiche just to name a few). However, it appears he got one pick very right: wide receiver Rondale Moore. The speedy second-round pick out of Purdue has flashed in his first two games with the Cardinals. On Sunday, Moore led the team with 7 catches for 114 yards and one stunning 77-yard touchdown, the first of his career.
Big Takeaway: Rondale Moore is the guy the Cardinals wanted when they picked Andy Isabella in the second round of the 2019 draft. Isabella has never worked and Cardinals fans will never forget it because D.K. Metcalf was drafted by Seattle two picks later. Moore’s addition to the roster might make Keim’s previous failures stink a little less. His production also means there’s not a spot on the roster if Larry Fitzgerald ever wants to rejoin the team.
3. Sun Devils are not a championship caliber team.
Saturday night’s game between the No. 19 Arizona State Sun Devils and No. 23 BYU Cougars at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah had a beautiful backdrop of the Wasatch Range. ASU added to the landscape with its own mountain of penalties, turnovers and self-inflicted wounds resulting in a 27-17 loss.
16 penalties (the most by an ASU team since 2006), four turnovers and miscommunication all night on offense (quarterback and running back couldn’t figure out the handoff on several plays) are leading many to question whether or not the Sun Devils are a good team.
Big Takeaway: On the bright side, it’s a non-conference loss on the road. ASU has a clean slate as it begins the Pac-12 part of the schedule next Saturday at home against a miserable Colorado Buffaloes team that lost 30-0 to Minnesota this week. The Devils have begun the season with two lackluster games against bad opponents and one miserable game against a good opponent. Perhaps this team really isn’t all that good like we thought it would be.
4. What the sports world got right…
Friday night’s miracle comeback win for Hamilton High School was one for the history books. Trailing by 17 points with 70 seconds to play – and on national television — the Huskies mounted one of the most improbable come from behind wins we’ve ever seen. This video recaps it perfectly in case you missed it or turned the TV off early.
5. …and what sports got wrong.
The NFL’s new emphasis on the taunting rule is perhaps the only universally agreed on topic right now anywhere. Everyone hates it. Fans, media, players and coaches got a taste of it this weekend, with at least 10 penalties called for actions such as clapping in an opponent’s face, spinning the ball on the ground and giving the incompletion sign after defending against a pass. Football is as emotional a sport as any (perhaps the most emotional considering how much violence there is) and players will react with excitement when they make a play. I’m guessing tweets like these will soon get the league’s attention and the emphasis on the rule will quietly go away.