On third-and-goal at the 6-yard-line and the Arizona Cardinals looking to extend an early 3-0 lead over the Tennessee Titans, Murray rolled out to the right to escape the defensive pressure and heaved the ball back across his body while the run.
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Hopkins did the rest, making an acrobatic catch along the back of the end zone and somehow managing to get both feet down inbounds.
“Kyler put the ball where it needed to be,” Hopkins said. “A quarterback like that, always trying to make a play, I just knew I had to be where he was going to throw the ball.”
With Murray scrambling, Hopkins kept the play alive and managed to get just enough separation from Titans cornerback Jackrabbit Jenkins to make the leaping catch in the end zone. Coming down with both feet inbounds was the tricky part, he said.
“Being in the NFL nine years, I know the most important thing — even if I drop it — is to get my feet down, so I was focused on that,” said Hopkins, who finished the day with six catches for a game-high 83 yards and two touchdowns.
Playing with a mobile quarterback like Murray sometimes requires a little bit of “freestyling” on offense to get open, the 29-year-old receiver said.
“The play is never over until he’s on the ground,” he said. “For us, it’s just being where he needs us to be.”
Terrific Against the Titans
The Murray-to-Hopkins highlight reel continued in the second quarter, when the five-time Pro Bowl receiver turned a short toss from Murray into slick 17-yard score. Hopkins made the catch in front of Titans safety Kevin Byard, then spun away from the defender and sprinted into the end zone.
It was another impressive outing against Tennessee for Hopkins, who has more catches (89) and receiving yards (1,396) against the Titans than any other opponent. Before joining the Cardinals last season, he faced the Titans twice a year as a member of the Houston Texans.
Arizona’s season-opening victory marked the 14th time Hopkins has played against the Titans, and he’s averaged 99.7 receiving yards in those games. He’s topped 100 yards against Tennessee seven times, including a career-best 238-yard performance in Week 1 of the 2014 season.