FOXBORO, Mass. — Bill Belichick’s Patriots historically have struggled against dual-threat quarterbacks. One of the NFL’s best is waiting for them Monday night in Arizona.
If New England is going to pick up a much-needed win over the Cardinals in Week 14, it will need to slow down Kyler Murray and an Arizona offense that can light up the scoreboard when it’s firing on all cylinders. Sure, Murray hasn’t been great this season and his relationship with head coach Kliff Kingsbury might be on the rocks, but we’re still talking about a quarterback who rushed for 819 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2020 and has made two Pro Bowls since being drafted first overall in 2019.
However, at 5-foot-10, the diminutive Murray is different from many of the other athletic quarterbacks in the NFL. That can be a bad thing, but it also can work in Murray’s favor in certain situations.
Belichick on Tuesday was asked about Murray’s unique size and skill set.
“Yeah, he’s already got a few records and obviously a lot of production,” Belichick said. “A couple Pro Bowls and all that in three years. So, yeah, very talented guy, athletic, quick, elusive, fast. Obviously, a lot different from a guy like Josh Allen but productive and athletic, but less size and maybe a little bit more speed and quickness, that kind of thing. But yeah, tough guy to defend.
“He extends a lot of plays, and they use him in the quarterback run game. Kliff’s used him on that. I mean Kliff, obviously, coached in college, had (Patrick) Mahomes and everything else, so he knows how to use and put pressure on defenses with athletic quarterbacks. So, not only does Murray do it, but he’s also in a system that I would say probably enhances it.”
Murray only has faced the Patriots once, throwing for 170 yards and zero touchdowns with one interception while rushing five times for 31 yards in a 20-17 loss at Gillette Stadium in 2020. So, Belichick might know what it takes to keep him in check.
Plus, Murray has been far less explosive on the ground this season, rushing for a relatively modest (by his standards) 415 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games. In the passing game, he’s completed 66.3% of his throws for 2,359 yards, 14 TDs and seven picks.
The Patriots and Cardinals will kick off from State Farm Stadium at 8:15 p.m. ET on Monday night.