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Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury downplay heated debate

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GLENDALE, Ariz. — Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury and quarterback Kyler Murray downplayed a heated second quarter changeover that caught the cameras in an eight-game losing streak at home, beating the New Orleans Saints 42-34 on Thursday night.

Cameras showed Murray walking to the sideline, saying “Relax f—down” repeatedly to Kingsbury with 2:32 left in the second quarter after Arizona took a timeout to reset their next game.

“The clock was running low and we couldn’t get out of the game we were trying to run,” Murray said. Said. “So it was, I guess it’s my fault. I’ll admit it.”

Murray continued his words as he walked to the sideline for Kingsbury as wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins acted as a peacekeeper and stepped between quarterback and coach.

“It really comes alive on the sidelines out there sometimes,” Murray said.

When Murray was asked if Kingsbury yelled in his ear through the hood of his helmet, he said no.

“I just see the quirks,” Murray said.

Kingsbury described it as a disagreement before trying to lighten the situation.

“He said I didn’t look good on TV by being so hot,” Kingsbury said. “I don’t know, I think it’s something about Generation Z. ‘You’re on TV, calm down.’

“I like to show emotion.”

Murray said Kingsbury was “usually cold . . . by Sunday”.

Cardinals rookie Keaontay Ingram scored from the 2-yard line in the next game, followed by Eno Benjamin, who sprinted for a career-high 92 yards in a 2-point conversion to bring the score to 14.

“We’re fine,” Murray said. “We’ll fix it. We managed to score, that’s good. But yeah, that’s all I said, calm down.

“It doesn’t scare me or I don’t think it frightens him. We’re just trying to win. It’s a momentary thing. After that we’re fine.”

Hopkins says, “Both of these guys want to win. I love to see that. Honestly, I love being part of a team of two people who are dedicated and focused on winning, and frankly, you’re going to break your ass. I’m not married, but from what I’ve heard, it’s like a marriage.”

This goal was the start of the game-changing 102-second streak. The Cardinals stopped Saints quarterback Andy Dalton in back-to-back runs, giving them both back for a touchdown to take a 14-point lead in the first half.

First tackle was made by cornerer Marco Wilson, who caught the ball in mid-air from cornerer Marquez Callaway. He gave back 38 yards for the touchdown. Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons single-handedly grabbed Dalton in the Saints’ next offensive run and rushed to the finish zone for a 56-yard touchdown.

“This was for everyone who said I couldn’t catch it,” Simmons said. “With one hand right there, remembering what my coach told me in that game call. It emphasized exactly what I was doing, so it’s nice to be able to execute it correctly. Once I got it, I knew it was time to go and I didn’t think anyone would catch me — I knew [Chris] Olave was very fast but I think he was on the other side of the court so I knew I was good.”

Only 1 minute and 42 seconds of play time had passed before Simmons scored, and the Cardinals scored 22 points to lead the half 28-14. Their 28 points nearly matched Arizona’s 29 first-half totals in the first six games of the season.

Arizona also landed a third tackle in August when cornerer Antonio Hamilton targeted Dalton in the finish zone late in the first quarter in their second game due to second-degree burns to his foot.

Thursday marked the return of Hopkins, who missed the first six games of this season after violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy. He also missed the last five games of last season with an MCL injury.

In his first game in 311 days, Hopkins had 103 yards on 10 catches after being hit 14 times. He hit both points in the same game as a Cardinal for the fourth time and the first since October 25, 2020.

“I spent a lot of time preparing for this moment out of season,” Hopkins said. “Obviously, I knew what I was facing versus playing six games.

“The main goal is to win. So for me, if I had 10 catches and 10 yards, I would still be great if we had won a game. [ecstatic]”

Thursday’s win was the Cardinals’ first home win in 361 days, a feat Murray called “crazy.”

They ended their losing streak with 42 points, their highest under Kingsbury hired in 2019, and their most winning streak since Week 17 of the 2016 season.

“I’m excited for men, no doubt,” Kingsbury said. “It’s definitely something they’ve had to answer for a long time, and especially this a few times. [of] Going into a longer period for losses and play, I think came at a good time.”