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Arizona Cardinals Week 9 Grades

The Arizona Cardinals took on the Miami Dolphins at home in a highly anticipated matchup. The Cardinals offense put up 442 total yards (131 more than the Dolphins), but still lost 34-31 as they fell to 5-3. The biggest storyline that comes out of this game is the questions surrounding Kliff Kingsbury’s play calling and game-management. To put this bluntly, the Cardinals will not be firing Kingsbury anytime soon because he has been a terrific partner-in-crime for Kyler Murray and they are still firmly in the race for the playoffs for the first time since 2015.

Offense: 

QB: A+

Kyler Murray played stellar as always, with his dual-threat ability leading the offense to 31 total points. Murray totaled a mere 5 incompletions with 389 total yards and four touchdowns. Murray has been on an MVP caliber pace with his numbers, but lost a key fumble that was recovered for a Dolphins touchdown. Overall, Murray played exceptionally well and earned his highest grade of the season. This game proved that Murray cannot do this alone. 

RB: C

With Kenyan Drake injured, Chase Edmonds played the majority of the snaps and had an average game. The fact that Edmonds had 28 touches but didn’t have a major impact play was definitely alarming, but he still gained 88 total yards. The perfect way to describe his performance was that it didn’t hurt the team but he also did Arizona no favors.

WR & TE: A-

The Cardinals weapons were the most productive unit besides Kyler Murray. They were going up against a vaunted Dolphins secondary, but they forced Xavien Howard into multiple pass interference penalties. DeAndre Hopkins was held to 30 yards but Christian Kirk recorded 123 yards along with his 56 yard touchdown reception. Andy Isabella did miss an opportunity to gain a crucial first down late in the game, but overall it was an effective game. 

OLINE: B

The Dolphins don’t have a dominant defensive line by any means but the Cardinals line still had a productive game. Left tackle D.J. Humphries missed a blitzing Shaq Lawson which led to a fumble, but Kyler Murray should’ve gotten rid of the ball beforehand. Besides that one mistake, they had a solid game in pass protection as they protected Kyler Murray all game long. 

Front 7: B-

With Devon Kennard inactive due to COVID, Arizona needed someone to step up and that was Markus Golden. Golden recorded a sack (would have been two if not for a defensive holding penalty) and he added a little firepower off the edge. Jordan Hicks and Haason Reddick also added a couple splash plays to keep Tua Tagovailoa mostly contained, but nothing to brag about. The Cardinals defensive line sorely needs a big play guy (because Chandler Jones is out for the year) but they performed well for what it’s worth.

Secondary: C-

The Cardinals were without starting cornerbacks Byron Murphy Jr. and Dre Kirkpatrick and they played like they needed them. Tua only missed eight passes and routinely picked them apart for 242 yards and two touchdowns. Preston Williams was consistently torturing their secondary before his injury and so was DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki. 

Special Teams: D

Overall it was a rather uneventful day for the crew until 1:58 left in the game and Zane Gonzalez missed a 48 yard field goal. With the Cardinals down three points, Kingsbury decided to try and tie it up but Gonzalez missed the kick short. Clearly Arizona could have won another way, but the miss sealed the deal. 

The Cardinals look forward to the Buffalo Bills at home next week, in a game where the Bills will be favored by at least 5 points.

Reach out to me on Twitter @Danielalameda11 for in-depth Cardinals analysis, film breakdowns, and more.

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