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Rams catch Cardinals after emotional, hard-fought victory

Will Arizona be able to match the energy they had against the Raiders?

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Las Vegas Raiders Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kyler Murray is different. “Different good” or “Different bad”? Just different.

As a quarterback, the NFL hasn’t seen a player of his size and stature perform at a high level in decades. The 5’10 former number one overall pick who was also a top-10 pick in the MLB draft, Murray helped lead the Cardinals to a 7-0 start in 2021, only to see a Kliff Kingsbury-sized collapse happen after losing DeAndre Hopkins to injury.

Arizona must play its first six games of this season without Hopkins, suspended for violating the league’s PED policy, but Murray was “different good” on Sunday by pulling the Cardinals out of a 16-point hole against the Las Vegas Raiders with under nine minutes in the game.

Down 23-7 after turning the ball over on downs with 12:37 remaining, Arizona’s defense locked up the Raiders offense on two consecutive drives and the Cardinals offense converted FOUR fourth downs and two two-point conversions en route to forcing overtime on the final play. After turning the ball over on downs on the first drive of OT, the Cardinals defense found a way to win after recovering a Hunter Renfrow fumble for a touchdown.

That saved Arizona from an 0-2 start. Do they still have the energy to win again a week later?

Those dramatic, come-from-behind, “Can you believe it?!” type of moments have always seemed to be double-edged swords. You got the win, but can you sustain it? I think back to the 2017 NFC divisional round game between the Saints and Vikings that ended with Stefon Diggs catching a touchdown on the final play.

Less talked about from those playoffs is Philadelphia’s 38-7 win in the NFC Championship.

Of course, this is not a hard and fast rule. The Bills reached the Super Bowl after coming from behind a 35-3 deficit to beat the Houston Oilers in the wild card round. They didn’t win it, but they did reach it.

What the Cardinals did on Sunday was unbelievable and it took every inch of ability and luck that they had in the final minutes to force overtime. The Rams, on the other hand, come off of a game in which they played the opposite end: Holding off a 28-3 comeback attempt from the Atlanta Falcons, of all teams.

It’s up to the Rams to also bring as much as they have left over from Week 2 to beat a division rival. Are the Rams catching the Cardinals at just the right time, or right when Murray believes that he’s peaked?