Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals probably didn’t need any bulletin-board material for their matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 12 of the 2022 NFL season.
Yet, the AFC West franchise has provided the Cards and their franchise quarterback with a little extra motivation. The Chargers trolled Murray with a playful jab at the quarterback’s eventful and contentious offseason.
A telling clip featured in the Chargers’ highly entertaining video marking the official release of the league schedule on Thursday, May 12. The video was released on the team’s social media channels and made reference to Murray’s own misadventures on Instagram earlier this year.
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Chargers Take Jab at Murray’s IG Scrub
The Chargers made anime their theme to mark this season’s schedule. Dry humor and artwork combined to offer an amusing insight into each game.
Their road game against the Cards on Sunday, November 27, was addressed at the 1:21 mark and depicted Murray deleting all Cardinals-related posts from his social media:
It was an obvious reference to Murray scrubbing his accounts of any mention of the Cardinals back in February. The Cards soon followed suit in a back-and-forth that played out publicly and raised speculation about Murray’s long-term future in Arizona.
Murray’s about to play on the fourth year of his original rookie deal, and his actions were initially viewed by some as an open plea for a more lucrative contract. That speculation was ramped up when Murray’s agent, Erik Burkhardt, released a statement outlining his client’s desire for “long term stability for both the organization and himself.”
The apparent standoff took another turn in April, when NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported the Cardinals “have yet to make a contract offer.”
Murray finally appeared to put a line under things when he responded to former Cardinals’ teammates Patrick Peterson and Chase Edmonds speculating the quarterback’s future may lie elsewhere:
Murray’s show of commitment was timely for a franchise needing to rebound after an erratic 2021 season. The Cards started 7-0, but went 4-6 the rest of the way before losing 34-11 to eventual Super Bowl champions the Los Angeles Rams in the Wildcard playoffs.
It was a chastening postseason debut for Murray, who still has a lot to do to prove he can be an elite QB and consistent winner in the pros. He’ll face several tough tests of his credentials this year, not only against Chargers’ Pro-Bowl passer Justin Herbert, but also another AFC West quarterback who has been a thorn in the Cardinals’ side over the years.
Cardinals’ Schedule Heavy with Daunting QB Matchups
Herbert outgunned Murray in 2021, throwing for 5,014 yards and 38 touchdowns, compared with K1’s 3,787 yards and 24 scores. Week 12 is the chance for Murray, who actually got his first taste of NFL action against the Chargers in a preseason game back in 2019, to prove he can match Herbert throw for throw.
It’s a daunting task, but far from the only unforgiving QB matchup awaiting Murray on the Cards’ schedule:
Two games in particular stand out. First, there’s the trip to face the Denver Broncos three weeks after hosting Herbert and the Chargers.
It means another matchup against Russell Wilson, who swapped life with the Seattle Seahawks for a place with the Broncos after a blockbuster trade this offseason. Wilson accrued a record of 11-8-1 vs. the Cardinals during his time with the Seahawks, per StatMuse.
Wilson’s last game against the Cardinals was a 38-30 Seahawks win in Week 18 last season. He threw for three touchdowns, while Murray was sacked five times.
The Cardinals would have been glad to see the back of Wilson after 10 years of facing him twice a season. That’s a fate now awaiting the Chargers, who also took a shot at Wilson, a jape that earned a rebuke from ESPN’s Mina Kimes, who reminded the Bolts how Wilson often had the last laugh against the Cardinals:
Seeing Wilson again will be tough for the Cardinals, but so will hosting Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Christmas Day in Week 16. As if Brady, Wilson and Herbert weren’t enough, the season will start with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs visiting State Farm Stadium.
Murray will be shorthanded for his duel against Mahomes while premier wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins serves the first of his six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s PED policy. Fortunately, Hopkins will be back well in time to try and help Murray have the last laugh against Herbert and the Chargers.