GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Arizona Cardinals stagnated offensively, had two turnovers that led to touchdowns and struggled against New England's pass rush.
That wasn't even the worst part of their 27-13 loss to the Patriots on Monday night.
Quarterback Kyler Murray was carted off the field after going down without being hit on the game's third play, suffering a potentially serious knee injury that could further derail Arizona's middling season.
“I've never seen him in that kind of shape, so it doesn't look good,” Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said.
The Cardinals (4-9) have been dogged by injuries all season, but had Murray, running back James Conner, receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Marquise Brown healthy at the same time for just the second time.
That quickly changed.
Flushed out of the pocket, Murray took off to the right and tried to juke a Patriots defender. The fourth-year quarterback's knee buckled and he fell to the turf in obvious pain. Players from both teams surrounded Murray before he was carted off the field holding a towel to his face.
“It hurts,” said Hopkins, who lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. “Kyler put a lot into this preparing. I hate it for him.”
Murray had been dynamic at times since the Cardinals took him with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2019 NFL draft.
The speedy, elusive quarterback was a Pro Bowler twice in his first three seasons and was the NFL's offensive rookie of the year.
The Cardinals rewarded Murray with a $230.5 million, five-year deal in July that keeps him in the desert through 2028, making him one of the league’s highest-paid quarterbacks at $46.1 million per season.
Murray led the Cardinals to the playoffs last season for the first time since 2015, but this year has been a wash in the desert.
Arizona has been inconsistent offensively and Murray has gotten frustrated with teammates at times, even getting into a yelling match with Kingsbury during a game against New Orleans.
The Cardinals had an uneven start to the season and the loss to the Patriots was their fifth in six games. Now, they'll likely have to finish the year without their star quarterback.
“You see teams go through that every week, but you lose your star third play of the game, noncontact, it’s tough to watch,” Kingsbury said. “You've just got to be able to rebound and continue to play the game.”
If Murray's injury is serious, Arizona's offense will be in the hands of Colt McCoy, who has spent most of his 12-year career as a backup.
McCoy was solid in two starts while Murray was out with a hamstring earlier this season, going 1-1 while throwing for a combined 456 yards and a touchdown with an interception. He threw for 246 yards on 27-of-40 passing with an interception against New England and was sacked six times.
“I've played for a long time and you always have to be ready,” McCoy said. “You never want to see the guy in front of you go down. You just don't.”
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Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray was carted off the field during the team's first offensive drive after a knee injury Monday night in Arizona's game against the New England Patriots.
The fourth-year quarterback was flushed out of the pocket on the third play of the game and ran to his right. He tried to juke past a Patriots defender, but instead fell to the grass in obvious pain.
The Cardinals confirmed the knee injury and said the quarterback would not return.
“It's tough,” Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury told “Monday Night Football” at the end of the first quarter. “He'll be out the rest of the game. That's all I know right now. You hate to see that.”
Backup Colt McCoy entered the game in Murray's place. The 36-year-old McCoy had a 1-1 record as the team's quarterback when Murray was out for two games last month.
Murray is a two-time Pro Bowl selection who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft out of Oklahoma. The 25-year-old signed a $230.5 million contract during the offseason that could keep him with the franchise until 2028.
Murray was playing in his 11th game this season. Coming into Monday's game, he had thrown for 2,359 yards, 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
The Cardinals have been plagued by injuries this season, particularly on the offense. They're missing four of their starting offensive linemen and lost tight end Zach Ertz for the season, also because of a knee injury.
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