— Yet again, the Arizona Cardinals‘ offense didn’t find its rhythm until the fourth quarter.

But this time it was too little, too late. On Sunday, the magic Kyler Murray showed a week ago didn’t work against the Baltimore Ravens in a 23-17 loss.

Arizona couldn’t find the end zone for the first three quarters despite three trips inside the 5-yard-line, all of which produced three field goals. Murray threw for 349 yards and receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk each had more than 100 yards, allowing the Cardinals to hang around until the end.

Describe the game in two words: Questionable playcalling. Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury wasn’t as “cute” this week with his creativity but a constant dose of passes deep inside the red zone didn’t lead to any touchdowns until the fourth quarter.

Troubling trend: Slow starts. For the second straight week, the Cardinals couldn’t find points during the first three quarters — scoring just nine points for the second straight game on three field goals. And like last week, the Cardinals had opportunities to score in the red zone but couldn’t find the end zone. The slow start put the Cardinals in panic mode in the fourth quarter, again, forcing them to play from behind in a scramble.

Biggest hole in the game plan: Running in the red zone. The Cardinals were 0-for-3 on their first three trips to the red zone mainly because Kingsbury was calling fade routes to Fitzgerald inside the 5-yard-line instead of pounding the ball with either David Johnson or Chase Edmonds. In those first three red zone trips, the Cardinals threw eight times and ran once. And even when they were at the 1-yard-line early in the fourth quarter, Murray tried to throw it but a pass interference penalty negated the play. Johnson ran it in for a touchdown on the next play.

QB Breakdown: For the most part, Murray looked good. He threw for 349 yards on 25-of-40 passing but didn’t have a touchdown. And didn’t throw an interception. He took a beating, getting hit 10 times and was sacked four times, but still managed to throw pin-point passes with either a defender in his face or as he was getting hit.

Silver lining: Running back David Johnson left the game in the first quarter with an injury to the same wrist he fractured in 2017 but was able to return with it wrapped up. If that injury had been worse, the Cardinals’ season could’ve taken a dramatic turn.


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