A year ago, Kyler Murray didn’t run the ball as much as many thought he might.

The quarterback was just learning the league, after all, there were questions about him absorbing too much punishment if he did run, and frankly, Kliff Kingsbury acknowledged, “that was a part of his game he was feeling out.”

Now when Murray takes off, he’s giving his team all the feels.

The second-year quarterback dazzled once again with his feet Sunday at State Farm Stadium, racing for highlight-worthy 14- and 21-yard touchdowns (and having a 7-yard TD run called back) to lead the Cardinals to a 30-15 win over the Washington Football Team and the Cards’ first 2-0 start since 2015.

“He does that to us in practice,” linebacker De’Vondre Campbell said. “It’s cool seeing it translate to the game.”

It’s all about comfort, Murray said. As he understands the game – which he was learning as a rookie – and understands where his teammates will be, then when it’s a designed run or even a scramble, “it’s more comfortable for me to make something happen,” he said.

Murray also delivered a pair of beautiful bombs to Andy Isabella and Christian Kirk, a touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins, and another 286 yards through the air. The defense shut Washington (1-1) out in the first half and sacked Dwayne Haskins four times. Special teams came up with a turnover for a second straight game, setting up a touchdown.

And yes, Kingsbury wasn’t happy about the penalties – 11 more this week, undercutting multiple drives. Murray and Hopkins insisted the offense can be much better. The defense hoped for a stronger finish after two fourth-quarter WFT touchdowns.

But 2-0 matters, especially for a team that had wallowed well below .500 the last couple of seasons.

“We put in the work and we get the results out,” Hopkins said. “There was never a doubt in our mind we’d start like this.”

Having Murray scamper around the field leaving defenders in his dust doesn’t hurt. The only shame is the lack of fans, who would’ve exploded watching the QB find his way to the end zone time after time. Murray had 67 yards on eight carries, becoming the first Cardinals QB to have two TD runs of at least 14 yards in a game since Hall of Famer Charley Trippi did in in 1951.

“It’s an extension of the run game, and really our offense in general,” Murray said of his rushing game. “When I can break the pocket or read, and score, that’s the dynamic we have in this offense because I’m able to move. It’s a blessing to be able to move fast.”

The Cardinals ended up with another 160 yards rushing, with Kenyan Drake adding 86 on 20 carries.

The funny thing was, after 30 points and 438 total yards, there was still some frustration, good-natured as it might be after a win.

“We’re not as sharp as we’d like to be,” Kingsbury said, again noting the penalties.

“We left a lot out there,” Murray said. “I think it’s pretty evident to see.”

Added Hopkins, “we’ve got a very high ceiling. … For us to be able to put up 30 points against a good NFL defense is pretty good, but there’s a lot of room left for us to improve.”

If the defense can continue its upswing, the offense has some room for error. The first half shutout was the first time the Cards did that since blanking the Giants in the home finale in 2017. While the WFT did score late, it proved moot (and the Cards also stopped two two-point conversions, dulling some of the Washington hope.)

“We understood we were going against a confident team that came back from 17-0 last week,” Campbell said. “They weren’t going to give up. And I think we took care of business.”

Campbell was a star, with a team-high 10 tackles, two for loss, and two passes defended as he continues to show why he was an important free-agent signing (and why rookie Isaiah Simmons might have trouble getting on the field early in the season.)

Kingsbury acknowledged the team had a lull after halftime, noting the lack of fans made a difference. He added that coaches and players were “going through the motions.”

But with a 20-3 lead, the Cardinals figured out enough, marching on a 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that ended on second-and-20 at the Washington 21, when Murray made mincemeat out of the defense as he found the end zone and ended the game, essentially.

“Kyler is definitely a special guy with the ball in his hands,” said Hopkins, who had eight catches for another 68 yards.

That’s what the Lions must deal with next week when they visit State Farm Stadium – and it’s hard not to see that the next three opponents on the Cards’ schedule (including the Panthers and Jets on the road) are a combined 0-6.

Those teams will be looking at a Cardinals’ offense in progress. And a quarterback that can provide the thrill of the run game. At least for most people.

“I’m always just saying, ‘Get down, get down, get down,’ ” Kingsbury said. “I can’t even enjoy it, honestly.”


1 / 53

WR DeAndre Hopkins celebrates his first-quarter touchdown reception.

Photo by Arizona Cardinals


2 / 53

LS Aaron Brewer recovers a fumble.

Photo by Arizona Cardinals


3 / 53

OLB Chandler Jones (55) recovers a fumble by Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) during the first half.

Photo by Ross D. Franklin/AP


4 / 53

WR DeAndre Hopkins runs upfield with the ball.

Photo by Arizona Cardinals


5 / 53

QB Kyler Murray runs with the football in the first half.

Photo by Arizona Cardinals


6 / 53

WR DeAndre Hopkins

Photo by Arizona Cardinals


7 / 53

QB Kyler Murray rushes for a touchdown.

Photo by Arizona Cardinals


8 / 53

OLB Chandler Jones celebrates a fumble recovery.

Photo by Arizona Cardinals


9 / 53

DeAndre Hopkins scores a touchdown on the team’s opening drive

Photo by Arizona Cardinals


10 / 53

RB Kenyan Drake

Photo by Arizona Cardinals


11 / 53

WR DeAndre Hopkins

Photo by Arizona Cardinals


12 / 53

WR Larry Fitzgerald

Photo by Arizona Cardinals


13 / 53

Washington QB Dwayne Haskins (7) fumbles the ball after being hit by Cardinals DT Jordan Phillips.

Photo by Ross D. Franklin/AP


14 / 53

Christian Kirk makes a tough catch against Washington

Photo by Arizona Cardinals


15 / 53

Kyler Murray

Photo by Arizona Cardinals


16 / 53

Andy Isabella makes a 54-yard catch

Photo by Arizona Cardinals


17 / 53

Kyler Murray runs for a touchdown on a quarterback draw

Photo by Arizona Cardinals


18 / 53

Devon Kennard celebrates a stop

Photo by Arizona Cardinals


19 / 53

Kyler Murray scores a touchdown

Photo by Arizona Cardinals


20 / 53

Budda Baker celebrates a big stop to force a fourth down for Washington

Photo by Arizona Cardinals


21 / 53

Kyler Murray celebrates a touchdown

Photo by Arizona Cardinals


22 / 53

Washington Football Team Steven Sims (15) tries to elude Arizona Cardinals Trent Sherfield (16) on a kick off return during the first half.

Photo by Darryl Webb/AP


23 / 53

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) throws as offensive guard J.R. Sweezy (64) blocks Washington Football Team nose tackle Daron Payne (94) pursues.

Photo by Ross D. Franklin/AP


24 / 53

Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake (41) is tackled by Washington Football Team defensive end Chase Young (99) during the first half.

Photo by Darryl Webb/AP


25 / 53

Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) is sacked by Washington Football Team inside linebacker Jon Bostic (53).

Photo by Ross D. Franklin/AP


26 / 53

Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake (41) can’t escape the grasp of Washington Football Team linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis.

Photo by Darryl Webb/AP


27 / 53

Washington Football Team running back Antonio Gibson (24) scores a touchdown as Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (21) defends during the second half.

Photo by Darryl Webb/AP


28 / 53

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) gets the pass away as Washington Football Team defensive end Montez Sweat (90) pursues during the first half.

Photo by Ross D. Franklin/AP


29 / 53

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury makes a call during the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Football Team, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz.

Photo by Ross D. Franklin/AP


30 / 53

Washington Football Team wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden (10) is hit by Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell and safety Chris Banjo (31).

Photo by Ross D. Franklin/AP


31 / 53

Washington Football Team cornerback Fabian Moreau (25) grabs Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10).

Photo by Ross D. Franklin/AP


32 / 53

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) throws during the second half of an NFL football game as Washington Football Team defensive tackle Jonathan Allen (93) defends.

Photo by Ross D. Franklin/AP


33 / 53

Washington Football Team wide receiver Steven Sims (15) is hit by Arizona Cardinals linebacker Dennis Gardeck (45) during the first half.

Photo by Ross D. Franklin/AP


34 / 53

Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

Photo by Ross D. Franklin/AP


35 / 53

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) is tackled by Washington Football Team cornerback Fabian Moreau (25) and free safety Troy Apke (30) during the first half.

Photo by Ross D. Franklin/AP


36 / 53

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) is hit by Washington Football Team cornerback Jimmy Moreland (20).

Photo by Ross D. Franklin/AP


37 / 53

Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (21) breaks up a pass intended for Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin (17).

Photo by Darryl Webb/AP


38 / 53

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) runs for a touchdown as Washington Football Team free safety Troy Apke (30) misses the tackle during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz.

Photo by Ross D. Franklin/AP


39 / 53

Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera talks with his players during the second half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz.

Photo by Darryl Webb/AP


40 / 53

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) celebrates his touchdown with teammate running back Kenyan Drake (41).

Photo by Ross D. Franklin/AP


41 / 53

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) runs for a touchdown as Washington Football Team inside linebacker Jon Bostic (53) pursues during the second half.

Photo by Darryl Webb/AP


42 / 53

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Andy Isabella (17) pulls in a pass as Washington Football Team free safety Troy Apke (30) defends.

Photo by Ross D. Franklin/AP


43 / 53

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald makes a catch as Washington Football Team linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis (54) defends during the second half.

Photo by Darryl Webb/AP


44 / 53

The Washington Football Team and the Arizona Cardinals compete during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz.

Photo by Ross D. Franklin/AP


45 / 53

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) throws as Washington Football Team inside linebacker Jon Bostic (53) looks on during the first half.

Photo by Ross D. Franklin/AP


46 / 53

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) walks with back judge Terrence Miles (111) prior to an NFL football game against the Washington Football Team.

Photo by Ross D. Franklin/AP


47 / 53

Arizona Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones (55) and Washington Football Team offensive tackle Geron Christian (74) battle during the second half.

Photo by Ross D. Franklin/AP


48 / 53

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) celebrates his touchdown against the Washington Football Team with running back Kenyan Drake (41).

Photo by Ross D. Franklin/AP


49 / 53

Washington Football Team running back Antonio Gibson (24) runs for a touchdown as Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Devon Kennard (42) defends.

Photo by Darryl Webb/AP


50 / 53

Kyler Murray celebrates a touchdown with teammates

Photo by NFL


51 / 53

Kyler Murray evades the Washington defense

Photo by NFL


52 / 53

Kyler Murray celebrates a touchdown run with his center Lamont Gaillard

Photo by NFL


53 / 53

Kyler Murray in a postgame interview after the win against Washington

Photo by NFL

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