Scully’s NFL notebook: Cardinals win on 'Hail Murray'
I love watching the NFL, and the conclusion of the Arizona-Buffalo game made me giddy. What a memorable moment!
Week 10 featured great action, and the matchups in Week 11 offer plenty of quality.
Here are my takeaways from Week 10.
Cardinals convert the 'Hail Murray'
Arizona’s Kyler Murray and Deandre Hopkins made the play of the 2020 season, when the completed a 43-yard desperation pass to beat Buffalo.
It was a whirlwind finish. Down by three points, Josh Allen orchestrated a masterful drive in the closing minutes to put Buffalo in position to tie with a field goal.
But instead of settling for three, Allen threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs with 34 seconds remaining.
The Bills celebrated, but they left too much time for Murray and Hopkins.
After a few short passes, Murray took the final snap, scrambled right, then reversed course toward the left sideline. He ran 30.2 yards, according to NFL Next Gen Stats, before he twisted and heaved the pass to the end zone.
Buffalo defenders sandwiched Hopkins, but the receiver jumped and snatched the ball — and the victory.
It also served as a bitter reminder for Houston Texan fans, who got the shaft when now-fired Bill O’Brien cut costs in the offseason by trading away Hopkins for little in return.
Murray and Hopkins will be a dynamic duo for years to come, and the Week 10 comeback may prove significant. Young and talented, the Cardinals are starting to believe in themselves. They were 3-13 in 2018.
With the defeat of Buffalo, the Cardinals moved into a tie for first in the NFC West. Arizona is a bona fide Super Bowl contender in the NFC, where all the top teams have flaws, and the bandwagon will continue to grow if the Cardinals win at Seattle on Thursday night.
Baltimore and Seattle are slumping
New England beat Baltimore at its own game, as the Patriots controlled both lines of scrimmage, held a 173-115 advantage in rushing yards, and handed the Ravens their second loss this month.
After they opened 5-0, the Seahawks have dropped three of four and turned in their worst offensive performance of the season in an ugly 23-16 loss to the Rams in Week 10.
Both teams have issues.
Lamar Jackson committed four turnovers and top tackle Ronnie Stanley suffered a season-ending injury when the Ravens allowed a 10-point, second-half lead slip away against Pittsburgh in Week 8.
Baltimore’s offense is not firing on all cylinders, and Jackson has complained publicly about predictable play calling.
The Ravens' season will conclude with five winnable games against teams outside the current playoff picture, but Baltimore must first get through Tennessee and Pittsburgh. The next two weeks will be crucial, because the Ravens can’t afford to be 6-5 entering December.
The Seahawks still average 32.2 points per game, even after Russell Wilson had an off day against the Rams. The defense has stunk all season, and Wilson has been forced to carry more weight with Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde sidelined. It’s not a formula for postseason success.
However, Seattle remains in the mix for home-field advantage in the NFC, which would help its Super Bowl chances (only the top team in each conference receives a first-round bye in the new seven-team playoff format).
The Seahawks must turn things around quickly, with Arizona visiting Thursday night. They also have a key home test against the Rams in late December.
Giants making a push in NFC East
After being stuck in the mud for years, the Giants made the right coaching hire during the offseason. Joe Judge can coach, and he will lead New York back to relevance.
I’ve seen it on the field — the Giants improve every week. New York isn’t close to being the most talented team, and lost its top player (Saquon Barkley) to injury early in the season, but the Giants play with an edge. They’ve gained confidence, with three wins in their last five games.
New York pushed Philadelphia around in a 27-17 victory last week, which snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Eagles, and Daniel Jones is avoiding turnovers. With better coaching this season, the second-year player is developing into a quality quarterback.
Judge, who served as special teams coordinator for New England before he was hired as a first-time head coach in New York, has installed a new culture, and the Giants have quietly become the best team in a weak NFC East.