PHOENIX – Despite putting up a season-high 38 points on a national stage, Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said the team still has not “hit its stride” offensively.
“We’ve got to hit it here soon,” Kingsbury said Tuesday. “We have a great Seattle team coming in who’s scoring a bunch of points and has a tremendous defense.”
After a 38-10 thrashing of the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football, the Cardinals are gearing up for what could potentially be the most important game of their season. The 4-2 Cardinals host the 5-0 Seahawks on Sunday.
Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray only completed 9 of 24 passes Monday night, but still managed to throw for 188 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He also ran for 74 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.
“For me personally, the whole game was sloppy,” Murray said. “We still can be a lot better, and it starts with me.”
For Murray, the Cardinals’ defense stood out the most. Arizona forced four turnovers, including two key fumbles by Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott on back-to-back drives in the first and second quarters.
“They played great. Great’s not even the (right) word,” Murray said of his defense. “I deal with them every day in practice, and for them to come out here on Monday night and do what they did is a big deal.”
Cardinals fourth-year safety Budda Baker, a two-time Pro Bowler, had never recorded an interception in his NFL career before he picked off Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton in the fourth quarter, ending a Dallas drive deep in Arizona territory. Dalton, in for the injured Dak Prescott, fell flat in his first start and was intercepted twice in the blowout.
“I was very excited when I got it, because the first one is always the best one,” said Baker, who in August signed an extension that made him the league’s highest-paid safety. “Turnovers come in bunches, and we got a lot of turnovers as a defense today.”
Besides the pick, Baker recorded a sack and forced a fumble. That defense will need to show up again on Sunday if the Cardinals want to beat the Seahawks. Seattle is averaging 33.8 points per game, the most in the NFL.
“It’s always easier to prepare, there’s no doubt, after a hard-fought road win,” Kingsbury said. “That’s definitely something that we can build off of, knowing that we have to play incrementally better this week to beat Seattle.”