He had a chance to return to the team he called home for 17 seasons.
However, the Cardinals’ best offer would be way lower than the one-year, $11 million deal he received in 2020.
Now, he missed a legitimate opportunity to finally win a Super Bowl before walking off into the sunset.
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) October 6, 2021
The 2021 Cardinals remain undefeated after six games because they addressed the challenges presented to them.
It doesn’t hurt that their balanced offense has made them look effortless in delivering their attack.
Meanwhile, all Kyler Murray has to do is select from his deep receiving corps.
Another A.J. Green touchdown. pic.twitter.com/Xi1w8SANgG
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) October 17, 2021
No one expected the Cardinals to be this good, mainly because they play in one of the toughest NFL divisions.
So far, they’ve played two NFC West competitors to varying narratives.
Their game against the San Francisco 49ers was a dog fight.
DeMeco Ryans and the 49ers defense held the Cardinals to 17 points.
They’re the only team to hold the Cardinals under 30 points this season.
— Oscar Aparicio (@BetterRivals) October 17, 2021
On the other hand, they poured on the points against the Los Angeles Rams.
Despite the differences in approach, the Cardinals came out victorious in both games.
The Cardinals also neutralized Derrick Henry to less than 100 rushing yards and escaped with another win over the Minnesota Vikings.
But these challenges do not compare to what the Cardinals endured against the Browns.
They went to Cleveland without head coach Kliff Kingsbury who tested positive for COVID-19.
Cardinals Continue To Soar
Losing a head coach for any reason can throw off a team’s approach.
That person understands the system more than anyone else, and he has the confidence to call the right play at the perfect moment.
Sometimes, the players use the absence as motivation to do better, and the Browns are familiar with this situation.
Last season, they won during their Wild Card playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers without head coach Kevin Stefanski.
A year later, they tasted a dose of their medicine against the Kingsbury-less Cardinals.
The Cardinals will be without head coach Kliff Kingsbury Sunday against Cleveland after he tested positive for Covid, the team announced. pic.twitter.com/1yF1U085oc
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 16, 2021
Assistant wide receivers coach Spencer Whipple took over play-calling duties because quarterbacks coach Cameron Turner tested positive for the virus.
But Kingsbury’s absence did not bother the team because they went firing from all cylinders.
Murray threw four touchdown passes while the defense tallied five sacks and one interception against Baker Mayfield.
Arizona shut down Cleveland in the second half after a Browns 14-point second quarter.
Murray became the first Cardinals quarterback since 1950 to gain a passer rating of at least 100 in five of his first six games in one season.
Meanwhile, Hopkins became the first wide receiver since Fitzgerald to have six receiving touchdowns in the season’s first six games.
DeAndre Hopkins has passed Larry Fitzgerald for the most receptions in NFL history prior to a player’s 30th birthday with his 765th career catch. pic.twitter.com/fAvdHh2BpI
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) October 10, 2021
The Cardinals also completed their first six-game win streak since Weeks 7 to 14 of the 2015 season.
Arizona finished at 13-3 but lost in the NFC Championship Game to the Carolina Panthers.
This year, they are starting the season strong and are hoping to ride the momentum until Super Bowl LVI.
The road going there won’t be easy.
However, these Cardinals are battle-tested to conquer any resistance that comes their way.