Kyler Murray's early slide, ill-advised spike doom Cardinals to game-losing missed FG

The Philadelphia Eagles are still perfect. For that, they have some regrettable decisions by Kyler Murray to thank.

A string of mistakes by the Arizona Cardinals ultimately doomed the team to a 20-17 loss to the Eagles on Sunday, starting with a run by Murray in the final minute of the game.

The Cardinals drove to the Eagles' 35-yard line with 36 seconds remaining, and seemed to be in a strong position when Murray broke free of the pocket on second-and-10. Running up the middle, Murray had a first down in front of him but slid as a group of Eagles approached.

That slide proved to be a hair too early, as the officials ruled Murray started his slide before reaching the first-down marker. The Cardinals had no timeouts and couldn't argue the ruling (they likely wouldn't have won anyway), so the offense lined up for another play.

Then Murray spiked it.

To review, the Cardinals had third-and-1 with 22 seconds left at the Eagles' 26-yard line. There was more than enough time to go for a first down and even more. The one thing Murray could not do, besides kneel, was spike the ball, because that would have forced the Cardinals to give up on a game-winning touchdown and instead settle for a game-tying field goal.

Unfortunately, that's exactly what Murray did, and so Arizona had no choice but to run out the field-goal unit for a 43-yard attempt. That's a makable distance for any NFL kicker, but the Cardinals were operating on another level of incompetence at game's end.

Kicker Matt Ammendola missed the field goal wide right, handing the Eagles the bizarre win.

Ammendola missing an easy field goal probably should shock the NFL world, as he was available only because the Kansas City Chiefs released him after he missed a 34-yard field-goal attempt and an extra point attempt in a 20-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. The Cardinals picked him up to fill in for Matt Prater, out Sunday with a hip injury.

So Ammendola's miss is what cost the Cardinals the most in the end, but the team won't have to worry about him for long. It's hard to imagine him being on their roster this time next week. The same isn't true of Murray, who has seen increased scrutiny this season after signing a five-year, $230 million contract extension.

Murray finished the game 28-of-42 with 250 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception plus 42 rushing yards on four attempts.

That slide and spike won't help with the skeptics. The Cardinals now sit at 2-3, and their two wins have come against two last-place teams, the Carolina Panthers and Las Vegas Raiders. For a team that entered this season with major expectations, Sunday now represents an enormous missed opportunity.

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - OCTOBER 09: Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals warms up prior to his game against the Philadelphia Eagles at State Farm Stadium on October 09, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Kyler Murray made back-to-back bad decisions in the Cardinals' loss to the Eagles. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) (Norm Hall via Getty Images)