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Arizona Cardinals’ offense falls flat as QB Kyler Murray makes preseason debut vs. Kansas City Chiefs

The second preseason game for the Arizona Cardinals saw the first game action for starting quarterback Kyler Murray. But the only Cardinals quarterback to throw a touchdown pass was No. 3 signal-caller Chris Streveler.

Streveler threw a pinpoint 20-yard pass for an over-the-shoulder catch in the end zone by reserve tight end Ross Travis with 9:03 left in Friday night’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs. But the Cardinals couldn’t rally the way they did in the first preseason game, a win over Dallas last week, and fell 17-10 to Kansas City at State Farm Stadium.

If Cardinals fans hoped for fireworks on offense with Murray in action, they had to be disappointed. The Cardinals went three-and-out on their first three series, all with Murray under center.

Murray played into the second quarter and finished 1-for04 for 2 yards, while running the ball once for 8 yards.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray reacts after being knocked down during the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray reacts after being knocked down during the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs.

“Not real sharp offensively, obviously. But that happens. They played good defensively. We’ve got a lot to work on this week,” Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said.

Backup Colt McCoy engineered a pair of long drives, one that resulted in an interception and one in a 22-yard Matt Prater field goal with 1:57 left in the third quarter. It was the Cardinals’ first points of the game.

McCoy finished 13 of 18 for 113 yards with 20 rushing yards and an interception. Streveler was 5 of 6 for 74 yards with a TD.

The Chiefs were able to run almost nine minutes off the game clock in the fourth quarter to seal their win.

Arizona played without several starters, including wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who went through pregame warmups but didn’t play, outside linebacker Chandler Jones, defensive lineman J.J. Watt and offensive guard Justin Pugh.

Kingsbury said the team was just being cautious with Hopkins. Tight end Maxx Williams also didn’t play due to a non-COVID illness.

Watt, who has been out all of camp with a hamstring injury, is expected to practice Monday. “It will be good for that defensive group, that defensive line unit to watch him work and be around him and just getting him around the guys is going to be big for us,” Kingsbury said.

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Rookie Rondale Moore was used as a kickoff and punt returner in the first half, and caught three passes on five targets with a run for 9 yards. He said he felt comfortable in the role.

“Honestly, I think it gives us something to look forward to on Monday (in practice),” Moore said. “We didn’t execute like we wanted to. Luckily we get to go to the drawing board and figure it out.”

The Cardinals kept their starting inside linebackers and three of their defensive backs on the field for the first three offensive series for the Chiefs, all against Kansas City star quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Middle linebackers Zaven Collins, a rookie, and Isaiah Simmons, in his second season, were in on four tackles each.

Mahomes moved his team, playing without speedster Tyreek Hill at wide receiver, down the field 62 yards for a field goal on the opening drive for Kansas City. His short pass completions mixed with runs kept the Cardinals off-balance, but Arizona didn’t give up a touchdown.

Kansas City held the ball for more than eight minutes.

The third series saw Mahomes lead a 15-play drive to the Cardinals’ 5-yard line, with Darwin Thompson rushing for 28 yards on the possession for the Chiefs. But on the final play of the drive, a third-and-goal, Arizona’s Devon Kennard forced Mahomes to roll far to his right and throw while falling out of bounds, and the Cardinals’ Byron Murphy tightroped the sideline in the end zone to intercept the pass.

That highlight was really the only one for the Cardinals in the first half. Arizona didn’t pick up a first down until a 9-yard Moore run on second down with almost 4½ minutes to play in the first half.

“I would definitely have loved to be able to get a touchdown in there, but I don’t think the sky is falling,” No. 1 left tackle D.J. Humphries said. “I’m feeling bad about our offense because we didn’t have it today. I know how much talent we’ve got on offense but like I said, it’s something that definitely will be in our mind this week in practice, but I definitely don’t think the sky is falling, at all.”

Kansas City scored the game’s first touchdown with 1:21 to play in the second quarter. Backup quarterback Chad Henne, in for Mahomes, hit Byron Pringle for 41 yards, which set up Henne’s 17-yard pass to the back of the end zone for a touchdown to Mecole Hardman.

The Cardinals took over with McCoy in at quarterback having replaced Murray after his third series, and McCoy ran an effective hurry-up offense with completions to backups KeeSean Johnson, A.J. Richardson and Jonathan Ward.

But McCoy overthrew Richardson with 23 seconds left in the half, and the Chiefs’ Juan Thornhill made a diving interception in the end zone.

The Chiefs scored on their first possession of the second half, with third-string quarterback Shane Buechele leading a 12-play, 92-yard touchdown drive to give his team a 17-0 lead.

Cardinals safety Charles Washington intercepted Buechle early in the fourth quarter in the end zone. But the Cardinals managed just 151 total yards of offense through three quarters.

Get in touch with Jose Romero at Find him on Twitter at @RomeroJoseM.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Kyler Murray and Cardinals offense struggle vs. Chiefs in preseason

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