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Cardinals: Three Takeaways From Thrilling Win vs. Raiders

There is plenty to dissect after the Arizona Cardinals Week 2 victory against the Las Vegas Raiders.
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The Arizona Cardinals had a comeback win to remember in Week 2, defeating the Las Vegas Raiders 29-23 in overtime after being down 20-0 at halftime.

Anything is possible in the NFL and the Cardinals proved that on the road. It didn't seem like an Arizona victory was possible until Kyler Murray converted a 21-second two-point conversion to make it a 23-15 game with 8:13 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Arizona is now 1-1 and will take on the Los Angeles Rams next week in their first NFC West divisional matchup.

But first, here are the three takeaways from Sunday's electrifying win.

Murray's Heroics Help Aid Kliff Kingsbury 

Kyler Murray Chandler Jones

Of course, it goes without saying that the Cardinals don't have DeAndre Hopkins or Rondale Moore on offense.

But the fact remains, Kingsbury's offense on Sunday was out of sorts more often than not. Arizona had just 86 yards off offense in the first two quarters. They were also forced to call a timeout three times for the day to avoid a delay of game. 

Miscommunication and lack of cohesiveness on offense were the main reasons for the team being down 20-0 at the half.

It didn't help that James Conner exited in the third quarter with an ankle injury and didn't return.

Luckily for Arizona, Murray put the team on his back in the second half. He led an 18-play game-tying drive in the fourth quarter and finished the day throwing 31-for-49 completions with 277 passing yards and a touchdown with one interception.

Murray also had his first connection with Marquise Brown, who caught six passes on 11 targets. Greg Dortch, filling in for the injured Moore, recorded four catches on four targets for 55 yards and a touchdown.

The Cardinals paid Murray big bucks in the offseason and his big-game abilities while fighting through obstacles is what the franchise hopes to see more of moving forward.

Defense Finished Strong

Davante Adams

After giving up 44 points to the Kansas City Chiefs last week, there wasn't a lot of optimism heading into the Raiders matchup — especially with Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow opposite a depleted Cardinals secondary.

The Cardinals gave up a two-yard touchdown from Derek Carr to Adams in the opening drive of the game. It looked like Las Vegas' offense had domination of the game, totaling 253 yards in the first half.

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Arizona's defense would then give up three points and score six for the remainder of the game. The biggest play was Isaiah Simmons forcing a fumble from Renfrow in overtime, which led to Byron Murphy Jr. returning it 62 yards for the game-winner.

Vance Joseph's defense held the Raiders scoreless over the final 16 minutes of regulation. Cardinals defenders were at the right places at the right times and the game-ending results backed up their play.

Offensive Line Rebounded

Kyler Murray

The line of scrimmage wasn't Arizona's friend in the first half, especially on offense. Mason Crosby had a sack on Murray and the defensive line caused a Murray intentional grounding penalty. Overall for the day, the Cardinals were 3-of-13 on third-downs and the offensive front was a big reason why.

Yet, the Raiders wouldn't record a sack in the second half. Cardinals veteran starting left guard Justin Pugh said it best after the game.

"The second half was our team," Pugh said. "The first half I don't know who that was … We out-toughed them, we out-lasted them."

Murray looked comfortable in the second half. That's no easy task for the offensive line with Crosby and former Cardinal Pro Bowler Chandler Jones on the edges.

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