Kyler Murray is back.
The Cardinals quarterback dazzled in a two-minute drill Sunday to lead Arizona to a 25-23 win over the Atlanta Falcons. The win was the second of the season for the Cardinals in Murray's first game since tearing his right ACL in Week 14 last season.
The Cardinals led for most of the fourth quarter, but found themselves trailing after a late Desmond Ridder touchdown run put the Falcons up 23-22 with 2:33 remaining. The Cardinals responded with an 11-play, 70-yard drive that ended with a 23-yard Matt Prater field goal to win the game.
Murray make plays with arm, legs to set up game-winning FG
Murray set up the score with two critical plays down the stretch. With the Cardinals facing third-and-10 from the Arizona 42-yard line, Murray escaped a would-be sack and scrambled through the Falcons defense for a 13-yard run and first down.
Two plays later, Murray found tight end Trey McBride on a 33-yard downfield pass to put the Cardinals in field-goal range.
The Cardinals then ran down the clock before Prater hit the chip-shot field goal as the clock hit zero.
The game-winning drive capped a strong day from Murray, who showed few signs of rust from his 11-month layoff from game action. He ran with confidence while repeatedly evading pressure from Falcons pass rushers. He made plays with his arm when it counted and bounced back from a late interception that allowed the Falcons to take a 17-15 lead.
Murray finished the day completing 19 of 32 passes for 249 yards with an interception and no touchdowns through the air. He added 33 yards and a touchdown on the ground and took two sacks. It wasn't a perfect game, but his effort was encouraging after a long layoff with a serious knee injury.
Murray scored his first touchdown of the season on a designed third-and-1 run in the red zone that cut a Falcons lead to 14-12 before halftime.
A field goal on Arizona's opening drive of the second half gave the Cardinals a 15-14 lead. Then Murray made his first big mistake of the day with a pass thrown behind McBride on the first play of a third-quarter drive. Linebacker Nathan Landman intercepted the pass for the first and only Falcons takeaway of the day.
Fortunately for the Cardinals, the Falcons settled for a field goal to go up 17-15 after taking possession at the Arizona 14-yard line.
Two possessions later, the Cardinals took advantage of a short field set up by a 49-yard punt return and retook the lead on a Clayton Tune sneak from inside the 1-yard line to go up, 22-15. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound rookie quarterback took over for a single snap at the goal line.
Falcons quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who took over for a benched Ridder in Week 8, left the game in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury. Ridder took advantage of his newfound chance, capping a 74-yard drive with a 9-yard touchdown run.
But the day belonged to Murray, who spoiled Ridder's redemption with his own late-game heroics to set up the Arizona win.
The victory was just the second of the season for Arizona, which got off to a league-worst 1-8 start with Tune and Joshua Dobbs at quarterback. It was a good start for Murray as the Cardinals set up for a stretch run that could determine his future with the franchise.