Things went from bad to worse for the Arizona Cardinals on Monday, who suffered a 27-13 loss to the New England Patriots after starting quarterback Kyler Murray was carted off the field in the first quarter.
On the third play of the game, Murray suffered a non-contact knee injury, going down after a 3-yard run. In a sad scene, the devastated 25-year-old, who already missed two games this season due to a hamstring injury, was taken off the field, visibly upset, hunched over and with a towel over his head, after being comforted by teammates.
“It’s tough to see a player like Murray get hurt,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. “I hope he’s OK.”
Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury added: “You see teams go through it every week, but you lose your starter on the third play of the game, non-contact, it’s just tough to watch and see. You gotta be able to rebound and play the game, though.”
With Murray replaced by Colt McCoy – who threw for 246 yards on 27/40 attempts – Arizona and New England were deadlocked 13-13 in the third quarter, until Patriots linebacker Raekwon McMillan returned Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins’ fumble for a touchdown, changing the course of the game.
“We missed a couple tackles today, so I was making sure we got the tackle. Kyle Dugger made an amazing play on the ball, got it off of him, and I saw the ball, it was me and the sideline and knew I had to pick the ball up before I get out of bounds,” McMillan explained.
“I was looking back and it was only me and the lineman… if I can’t beat the lineman, then I don’t need to be out here,” McMillan joked.
Early in the fourth quarter, New England running back Pierre Strong Jr.’s three-yard touchdown run pushed the lead to 14 and a tough defensive effort – which forced two turnovers on downs from the Cardinals in the final quarter – from the Patriots helped seal the win.
“I’m really proud of the way the team handled themselves. Long week. Long trip out here” Belichick concluded post-game.
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“Had some young players step up and make some significant plays in the game. It was good to get contributions from everybody. A short week here with Vegas, and we’ll keep grinding and try to be ready to go on Sunday.”
The Patriots (7-6) are now third in the AFC East and travel to Las Vegas to play the Raiders on Sunday, while the Cardinals (4-9) visit the struggling Denver Broncos the same day.