The Arizona Cardinals’ season appeared to go from pretty bad to much worse Monday night.
Quarterback Kyler Murray went down in a heap with what appeared to be a non-contact injury as he scrambled out of the pocket for a 3-yard gain just 77 seconds and three plays into the Cards’ Week 14 matchup with the New England Patriots. The No. 1 pick of the 2019 draft was in obvious pain before being carted off the field.
Despite the optics, the Cardinals initially characterized Murray’s return as questionable with a knee injury. Shortly thereafter, he was officially ruled out. ESPN sideline reporter Lisa Salters relayed that Murray was “sobbing” after reaching the bowels of State Farm Stadium.
“It didn’t look good,” Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury said of the injury following the Cardinals’ 27-13 defeat.
“I’ve never seen him in that type of shape, so I assumed it wasn’t good.”
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Veteran backup Colt McCoy, who’s won three of five starts in two seasons with Arizona, took over for Murray and passed for 246 yards in the loss.
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Expect a compelling episode added to this year’s “Hard Knocks in Season” coverage of the Cardinals on HBO. A campaign that began with Murray signing a controversial five-year, $230.5 million contract extension during training camp – one that included a mandatory study clause that was later rescinded – has devolved into a 4-9 slog and near certainty Arizona won’t return to postseason.
Murray came into Monday with a career-worst 87.1 pass rating and has often appeared demonstrably at odds with Kingsbury. Murray had already missed two starts this season with a hamstring injury.
The team is tracking toward its worst record since Kingsbury’s debut in 2019, when Arizona went 5-10-1. The Cardinals are now tied with the Los Angeles Rams for last place in the NFC West and are 13th overall in the conference.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.