Arizona Cardinals continue undefeated streak, defeating Cleveland Browns 37-14
CLEVELAND, OH (3TV/CBS 5/AP) -- A game filled with fumbles, an interception, a Hail Mary and more turned into a victory for the Arizona Cardinals over the Cleveland Browns, continuing their undefeated season. Kyler Murray finished with 229 yards and four touchdowns, overcoming his four fumbles in the game. Baker Mayfield finished with 234 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. The Red Birds are now 6-0 on the season.
The Cardinals remain the only undefeated team in the NFL after the 37-14 victory, overcoming COVID-19 issues on the team. Arizona learned Friday it would be without Kingsbury, the team’s play caller, along with quarterbacks coach Cam Turner and defensive linemen Zach Allen after positive COVID-19 tests. They were already going to be missing Chandler Jones and then defensive linemen Corey Peters was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list.
The Cardinals opened up the game marching down the field to the Cleveland 7-yard line, overcoming a missed snap that sailed to the side of Murray. After the fumble, the Cardinals quickly recovered with a 21-yard strike from Murray to Christian Kirk, putting them up 7-0. Cleveland attempted to answer back with a drive of their own, but were stopped on fourth down with a Baker Mayfield sack, courtesy of Jordan Hicks, keeping the Browns scoreless.
Late in the first quarter, two penalties on Browns cornerback Denzel Ward set the Cardinals up at the Browns 15-yard line when Murray ran in for the touchdown. However, Murray’s viral Grogu-inspired celebration was cut short because of an offensive holding penalty on Arizona, so the touchdown was taken back. This didn’t stop the Cardinals and Murray, who then found DeAndre Hopkins for a 13-yard touchdown, putting the Cardinals up by two scores to open up the second quarter.
A fumble and interception by Mayfield resulted in back-to-back field goals from Matt Prater, giving the Red Birds a dominating 20-0 lead. A quick touchdown from Mayfield to Donovan Peoples-Jones put the Browns back in the game with 5:06 left in the second quarter. In a last second attempt to give the Browns momentum before halftime, Mayfield hurled a Hail Mary deep into the endzone, where it was caught by Peoples-Jones once again, cutting the Cardinals lead to 23-14.
To open up the second half, both teams exchanged punts before Mayfield lost his second fumble of the day after a sack from J.J. Watt, but Mayfield took a hard hit and injured his shoulder on the play. A 34-yard deep pass from Murray to A.J. Green set the Cardinals up at the Browns 20-yard line with 5:42 left in the third quarter. A couple plays later, Murray went to Hopkins once again for another touchdown, giving the Cardinals a 30-14 lead.
The Browns were stopped on downs again early in the fourth quarter after Mayfield’s pass to Odell Beckham Jr. was incomplete. However, Browns running back Kareem Hunt was injured during the play and had to be helped off the field. With 10:02 in the fourth quarter, Murray fumbled the ball for the fourth time, but recovered for no gain on the play. James Conner led the Cardinals down the field, and the drive was capped off by a 14-yard pass from Murray to Green, giving the Cardinals a commanding 37-14 lead. After Mayfield’s return was questionable after his shoulder injury, backup Case Keenum entered the game for the Browns, who then turned it over on downs with 3:54 in the fourth quarter. Cardinals backup quarterback Colt McCoy entered to finish out the game, and the Cardinals walked away with a victory in Cleveland.
The Cardinals will travel back home to Glendale to take on the Houston Texans next Sunday at 1:25 p.m.
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