Kyler Murray stands tall, but comeback comes up just short of a win

Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray showed everyone what their new offense is supposed to look like. It just took them three quarters to get warmed up.

Kingsbury, the new head coach who thought Murray as first overall pick was the perfect quarterback to help him bring his ballyhooed system from college football to Arizona, helmed a disorganized offense for three quarters today against the Lions. But in the fourth quarter and overtime, that offense was outstanding. The final result was a 27-27 tie.

The Cardinals’ first six drives of the Kingsbury/Murray era went punt, interception, punt, punt, punt, punt. For much of the game, the offense was a mess, and in the fourth quarter Detroit had a 24-6 lead and appeared to be in total control.

But in the fourth quarter Murray finally threw a touchdown pass, to David Johnson, and things started to get interesting. Murray made plays with both his arm and his feet, and the offense began to look the way it was envisioned when Kingsbury got the job and Murray was drafted.

It helped Arizona’s cause that the Lions failed to clinch the victory because of some bonehead mistakes. First, they appeared to gain a game-clinching first down with a perfectly executed pass after the Cardinals were out of timeouts — only to have it waved off because offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell had inexplicably called timeout just before the snap. Then, after the timeout, Stafford threw an incomplete pass to stop the clock. On the next play, the Lions punted, and their punt was blocked.

That set Murray up with the ball and the chance to be a hero, down 24-16 at the two-minute warning. Murray marched the Cardinals’ offense down the field and hit Larry Fitzgerald for a touchdown, then hit a two-point conversion pass, to make it 24-24. In the fourth quarter, Murray was 15-for-19 for 154 yards, with two touchdowns.

In overtime, Murray kept it going, driving the Cardinals deep into Lions territory and eventually settling for a field goal and a 27-24 lead.

The Lions responded with a drive of their own, ending with a Matt Prater field goal that tied the game 27-27. That was the final, in the weirdest game of Week One.