The Arizona Cardinals snapped a six-game losing streak on Sunday, defeating the Atlanta Falcons 25-23 on a last-second field goal. Quarterback Kyler Murray led the team on the game-winning drive in his first game since his season-ending knee injury last December.
There was something palpably different about how things felt with Murray on the field.
The players and coaches noted it.
Head coach Jonathan Gannon called it “a jolt of energy” that Murray brought.
Kicker Matt Prater, who booted four field goals in the win, including the 23-yarder that won it as time expired, noticed it.
“It was great, it was so exciting having Kyler back,” he said postgame. “It was just a different energy, I know it’s a big team game but when you have someone like Kyler coming back who’s special. When they went up and we had two minutes left, I knew we’re going to get a chance to kick one or score. It’s so much fun playing with Kyler.”
Safety Budda Baker noted the “juice” Murray brought.
“Franchise QB — anytime without having that, it’s definitely a hard game overall,” he said. “Just having him back brought a lot of juice to the team, even our fans. I thank all the fans for coming and happy we got a win.”
Tight end Trey McBride, who had a huge game with eight catches for 131 yards, added his thoughts.
“I think just the energy this week, we had James Conner back, we had Kyler back. The energy, the vibe. Everything was good,” he said. “We were coming into this game with a lot of confidence, we knew this was a good game for us, Kyler’s coming back, we’re playing at home. We’re all juiced up, excited and we wanted to play good for him. He’s been out for a year. He’s been grinding, working hard to get back and we just wanted to play hard for him. He deserves it, he’s our franchise guy here, so we wanted to play hard for him and I think we did exactly that.”
We have to see if the extra edge continues as the Cardinals finish the final seven games of the season.
At least for one game, it was clearly different.