All is well in Arizona after a comfortable win and some jovial postgame remarks that downplayed a heated verbal confrontation between Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray and head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
During a first-half timeout Thursday night, Murray marched over to his coach and could be seen shouting, “Calm the f— down,” on two occasions.
Not long after, the Cardinals found the end zone to begin a resounding turnaround that led to a 42-34 win over the visiting New Orleans Saints on Thursday. In the afterglow of the victory, the Cardinals minimized Murray’s histrionics with his coach.
“It was just one of those things on the field. We had a difference of opinion,” Kingsbury said. “Yeah, he said I didn’t look good on TV and acted kind of fiery. So, I don’t know. It’s the Gen-Z thing on TV, ‘calm down,’ but I like showing emotion.”
With his helmet off, it was easy to make out Murray’s not-safe-for-work comments to Kingsbury as he speedily walked over to his coach before getting even more animated. Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, playing in his first game this season after serving a six-game suspension for violation of the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy, was quickly on the scene to get in between Murray and Kingsbury. He later put his arm around the QB to further quell the situation.
Murray and Hopkins returned to the huddle and the Cardinals promptly scored on a 2-yard Keaontay Ingram touchdown run that preceded a game-tying Eno Benjamin two-point conversion run. All’s well that ends well in the eyes of Arizona’s young signal-caller.
“You know he’s over there, he’s sometimes real animated over on the sidelines sometimes,” said Murray, who turned in a solid evening statistically with 204 yards and a touchdown throw on 20-of-29 passing. “It’s never ‘calm down we’re good, we are going to make it right,’ and we ended up scoring so that was good.”
Hopkins smiled about the situation in which he played peacemaker, or perhaps more accurately marriage counselor.
“Both of those guys want to win,” said Hopkins, who had game highs of 10 catches and 103 yards in his return. “I love to see that. I mean honestly, I love being a part of two people who are dedicated and that focused on winning. Obviously, you are going to butt heads. I’m not married, but from what I hear, that’s like a marriage.”
And on this Thursday evening in the desert, the union found prosperity.
The Murray-Kingsbury argument garnered attention aplenty, but also came at the onset of an Arizona scoring barrage that was equal parts stunning and impactful, turning the game for good.
The Saints were leading 14-6 before Ingram’s score with 2:28 to go in the first half. It began a 102-second sequence in which the Cardinals scored three touchdowns, Saints quarterback Andy Dalton threw two pick-sixes and a brand new ballgame broke out. It added up to a 28-14 halftime lead that propelled the Cardinals to victory, breaking an overall two-game skid as well as an eight-game home losing streak.
With Hopkins back and a long-awaited victory at State Farm Stadium — the first since Week 7 of last season — following, there was perhaps a familial feel to the Cardinals win. And family members squabble, of course.
“I mean it’s good,” Kingsbury rationalized. “I think we are working through as an offense of where we want to be and what we want to do. When you have competitors that have a level of intensity like that, I think it will keep pushing us forward.”