National Football League

Red Alert

September 14

The NFL had better get used to hearing "Kyler Murray to DeAndre Hopkins," and fast.

Murray and the Arizona Cardinals made their statement of intent early against the San Francisco 49ers, and presumably any future opponents: They're going to get the ball to Hopkins.

On the opening play of Arizona's first two drives, Murray connected with the new, big-money wideout on short passes.

The two completions amount to mere blips on the scoresheet, sure, but the action portended a familiarity that the duo would use to their advantage in the 24-20 victory. 

That connection proved to be dangerous throughout the game, as Murray found Hopkins for a game-high 151 receiving yards on 14 receptions.

For some quick context, Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald combined for 13 receptions, 155 yards and a touchdown in their first game together in Cardinals red.

That partnership produced a whopping 345 receptions, 4,583 yards and 39 touchdowns over the course of 5 seasons.

So, Murray and Hopkins are off to a strong start.

Furthermore, the performance served as a warning that the Cardinals would not be an easy out in the NFC West, ESPN NFL analyst Dan Orlovsky said.

"Kyler Murray is already in the top 5 players ⁠— players, not quarterbacks ⁠— top 5 players in the NFL that defenses do not want to play against."

On Monday's Undisputed, Skip Bayless said Murray had the most impressive opening win of the NFL weekend.

Former Super Bowl winners Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson were all among the weekend's star performers, but Murray shined the brightest in Bayless' eyes.

Murray showed off his versatility in the contest, too.

The 23-year-old aired it out for 230 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception, while also scurrying for 91 yards and 1 touchdown on 13 carries.

Expectations have never been low for Murray, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, but after knocking off the defending NFC champions, how high can the Cardinals soar?

If Week 1's any indication, it's fair to say a lot higher than most expected coming into the season.


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