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Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals dropped a 20-17 heartbreaker at home to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 5 to fall to 2-3 on the season. What makes the loss worse is that Murray had the ball in his hands with time running out, and the Cardinals had a real chance to at least tie, if not win, the game. However, the Arizona QB had a late-game mess-up that put the team (and kicker Matt Ammendola) in a tough spot. Was it Kyler’s fault? Head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s? Or was it the Cardinals scoreboard operator who doomed the team?

Did Cardinals scoreboard operator at State Farm Stadium cost team the Week 5 game vs. Eagles?

The Philadelphia Eagles are the only undefeated team in the NFL after Week 5. That almost wasn’t the case, though, after traveling to State Farm Stadium to face the Arizona Cardinals.

The game was 17-17 late in the fourth quarter before the Eagles kicked a 23-yard field goal to go up 20-17 with 1:45 left. After the ensuing kickoff, Kyler Murray led his team from his own 25-yard line down to the Eagles 34-yard line with 0:37 seconds left. At that point, Murray spiked the ball to stop the clock and make it 2nd-and-10.

Murray ran up the middle on the next play, running for nine yards before starting his slide. To the TV viewers and on-field referees, it was clear the QB slid short of the first down marker. However, the signal-caller popped up and spiked the ball, making it 4th-and-1 with 0:22 seconds left, forcing the Cardinals to kick a 43-yard FG.

Matt Ammendola, who the Houston Texans cut in training camp and the Kansas City Chiefs signed and cut after Week 3, missed the kick.

So, the big is, why did Kyler Murray slide?

There are plenty of theories. One is that he’s not that smart of a QB (more on that below). Another — which Murray basically said in his postgame presser — is that Kliff Kingsbury was in his ear telling him to clock it.

One last (conspiracy?) theory is that it was the stadium scoreboard operator’s fault. Jimmy Kempski, an Eagles beat writer for the Philly Voice, tweeted after the game, “Stadium down and distance said 1st and 10 on that 3rd and 1 spike. I think the Cardinals thought they had the first down.”

If Murray popped up and saw that, or Kingsbury looked up and saw that instead of looking at the chain gang, it could explain how the ill-advised spike happened. It doesn’t totally let Murray and Kingsbury off the hook, but it does make them look like a coach and player caught up in the moment, not a coach and player who aren’t smart with the game on the line.

Is Kyler Murray a smart quarterback? 

Kyler Murray looks at the Cardinals scoreboard in Week 5.
Kyler Murray looks at the Cardinals scoreboard in Week 5 | Christian Petersen/Getty Images

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Kyler Murray is a bit of an anomaly when it comes to NFL quarterbacks.

He is the shortest QB in the league (a ½-inch shorter than Russell Wilson), and his scrambling style is different than most other NFL signal-caller these days. He also plays in Arizona, one of the least nationally covered teams in the league.

Even his journey to the NFL was odd. Yes, he won the Heisman Trophy at Oklahoma, but he was going to play baseball professionally, not football, after college. Suddenly, he became the No. 1 overall pick by first-year coach Kliff Kingsbury who dumped the previous year’s first-round QB, Josh Rosen, after 13 starts.

The questions about Murray’s mental makeup started during that draft process when he made some strange media appearances. Dan Patrick still points to his awkward pre-draft Kyler Murray interview as one of the strangest of his career.

Fans and media members who’ve suspected Murray isn’t the brightest bulbs seemed to have at least some of their suspicions confirmed after the QB signed his new five-year, $235 million extension.

In the contract was an embarrassing stipulation that said Murray must “complete at least four (4) hours of Independent Study” on game weeks, and he won’t get credit for “Independent Study” if he “is engaged in any other activity that may distract his attention (for example, watching television, playing video games, or browsing the internet).” 

The jokes and memes about Murray playing Call of Duty or Madden instead of watching film abound. When you look deeper, though, and combine it with some of the on-field decision-making and later-in-life decision to play professional football at all, it does call into question both his commitment and his football IQ.