Cardinals QB Kyler Murray 'not worried' about MVP talk
Arizona’s miraculous ‘Hail Murray’ connection between Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins vaulted the Cards into the NFC West lead. It also pushed the quarterback into the MVP conversations as we head into a pivotal Week 11 showdown between the Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks Thursday night.
Murray has been the catalyst for the 6-3 Cards, compiling 2,375 passing yards, 17 passing touchdowns to eight interceptions, while adding 604 rushing yards and 10 ground scores through nine games.
Murray is on pace to become the first NFL player ever to have 4,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing in a season (pace: 4,222 pass yards, 1,073 rush yards). The Cards’ QB is also on pace to be the first player with 30-plus pass TDs and 15-plus rushing TDs in a season (pace: 30.2 passing TDs, 17.7 rush TDs).
For his part, Murray isn’t putting his name in the MVP conversation.
“I haven’t done anything so as far as the MVP deal, I’m not worried about that,” Murray said, via the team’s official website. “As far as my personal confidence, do I believe I’m one of the best in the league? Yeah, of course. I think anybody should be confident in themselves.”
The end of the 23-year-old’s quote is dead on. Every NFL player should own the confidence to view themselves among the best, otherwise they would not be able to give the effort it takes to succeed at this level.
As for the part about not doing anything to earn a place in the MVP conversation, that’s up for debate.
Murray leads all QBs with 604 rush yards and 10 rush TDs this season. The last player to lead QBs outright in both won MVP: Cam Newton in 2015.
The signal-caller is on pace to become the first QB with 1,000-plus rush yards and 10-plus rush TDs in a single season in NFL history (Pace: 1,073 rush yards, 17 rush TD). His 67.1 rush yards per game would be third-most by a QB in the Super Bowl era if he continues his pace.
While sometimes his short and intermediate passing accuracy has suffered this season, the QB has been on the money with his deep shots, including Sunday’s mindboggling connection to Hopkins. Murray has generated 6 TDs and 0 INT on deep passes (20-plus air yards) this season, per Next Gen Stats, and his 129.1 passer rating on deep shots ranks 6th in the NFL.
Make no mistake, however, it’s Murray’s legs that have made him a difference-maker, much like last year’s MVP, Lamar Jackson.
Murray’s 604 rush yards are just 73 behind all of the Seattle Seahawks running backs combined: 677 rush yards. The QB’s 10 rush TDs are more than Seattle has as a team (9).
The Cardinals’ second-year QB has been potent on the scramble when plays break down and when coach Kliff Kingsbury calls his number. On designed QB runs, Murray has the most rush yards in the NFL (142), tied for second-most TDs (2), and ranks third in rushes (22) and first downs (9). Murray also leads the NFL with 6 rushing TDs and 14 first downs on read-option runs, per Pro Football Focus.
Last year, Jackson showed the type of offense that can dominate defenses with a ground-first approach. Murray is similarly running circles around defenders in key spots but is doing it in an offense that isn’t built mainly off QB-run plays.
Murray is the first player in NFL history with 1-plus passing and rushing TDs in five straight games, and his one or more pass and rush TDs in eight games is tied for most in a season since 1950, per NFL Research.
The Cardinals’ QB is the first player since 1950 with 15-plus pass TDs and 10-plus rush TDs in his team’s first 10 games.
Murray is the fourth player in the Super Bowl era with 7,000-plus combined pass and rush yards and 50-plus combined pass and rush TDs in his first 25 career games — others: HOFer Kurt Warner, K.C.’s Patrick Mahomes, Houston’s Deshaun Watson.
“I’ve kind of visualized what he could be since he was 15 years old,” Kingsbury said. “It’s fun for me to sit back, not only as a guy who gets to work with him, but as a fan, and see how he has taken it and run with it.”
Perhaps Murray isn’t the MVP leader at this stage, but with seven games to go, he’s certainly proven his value is massive for an Arizona team poised to make noise into January.
Thursday’s marquee NFC West showdown between the Cardinals and Seahawks kicks off in Seattle at 8:20 p.m. ET and airs on NFL Network, FOX and Amazon Prime Video.
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