Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury and the rest of the offense thought quarterback Kyler Murray secured the necessary yards to reset the chains in the final minute, but upon failing to do so in the eyes of officials came to “a point of no return” in what ended as a 20-17 Week 5 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Ultimately, Murray’s failure to slide past the first-down marker did not lose the Cardinals the game. Arizona kicker Matt Ammendola still took the field for a 43-yard, game-tying field goal attempt with 22 seconds left and the Cardinals trailing by three, the missed kick allowing Philadelphia to remain unbeaten. Nevertheless, the miscalculation by Murray and the Cardinals prompted the offense to get in position to spike the ball on third-and-1 rather than what would have first-and-10 should he have crossed the marker.
Kingsbury explained the hectic scene after Arizona fell to 2-3.
“Yeah, I was right there, thought he was clearly past and they brought it back,” Kingsbury told reporters of the play, per the team. “By that time we committed to clocking it. Twenty-two seconds left, you ran there and didn’t get it, we’d have a hurricane field goal with a new kicker. So it was just past the point of no return.”
Kingsbury acknowledged the decision to spike it was his decision and not Murray’s. He hinted how he thought the play could be reviewed but deemed a third-down play not worth trying.
“Yeah, I mean, I was right there. I’ll have to look at it. But they brought it back a few yards and that was just tough,” Kingsbury said. “Like I said, we committed to it at that point. If we were to try to switch into a run and didn’t get it, you’re scrambling with 20 seconds left to get your kicker a hurricane field goal. It was just, we would have kicked a field goal around that area either way. The risk-reward wasn’t good enough once we committed to clock it.”
Murray told reporters he was being told to clock the ball as they thought the first down was converted.
“I mean, after the play, everybody is screaming clock in my ear so yeah, assuming we had the first down,” Murray said. “Again, they were calling clock. So it’s not, in the moment, after the play is over, everyone is screaming clock, we practice it all the time. They obviously thought we had the first down so that’s what we went with.”
He added: “In that moment, trying to get down as quick as possible to save as much time as possible. Hindsight, would have loved to get a couple more yards, one yard or whatever it was. You got the rule when you start the slide, that’s where they stop the ball so that’s unfortunate.”
Kingsbury explained how if the Cardinals did, in fact, secure the first down they might have tried to gain more yards to make for a closer kick, but wouldn’t have pressed the ball into the end zone given it could get intercepted or Arizona could give up a game-ending sack.