Kyler Murray said there was “no quit” in the Arizona Cardinals’ locker room after the team marked his return from an 11-month injury lay-off with a dramatic win over the Atlanta Falcons.
Murray returned to the field for the first time in 335 days on Sunday, having torn his anterior cruciate ligament in a game against the New England Patriots last December.
His eagerly anticipated comeback looked likely to fall flat when Atlanta’s backup quarterback Desmond Ridder ran in a touchdown with just two minutes and 33 seconds remaining, putting the Falcons 23-22 ahead.
However, Murray led Arizona on one last 70-yard drive, which was capped by Matt Prater’s 23-yard field goal to double the Cardinals’ win tally for the season with a 25-23 success.
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Asked about the decisive drive after the game, Murray said: “At that point, you’ve got to make your mind up. There’s no quit in that group and I think we showed that today.
“I just want to win. It feels good to win. I mean, that’s like the icing on the cake.
“To come out here and lose and then have all this build-up be for what, you know what I mean? I’m just happy for us and the team, man. I’m just happy.
“It may sound cliché, but for me, it was like, at the end of the day, if it comes down to it being in my hands, I’ve got to make something happen.”
Murray finished with 249 passing yards and 33 rushing – including a six-yard touchdown in the third quarter – to lift the struggling Cardinals to 2-8 for the season.
Running back James Conner, who also returned after missing four games with a knee injury, said of Murray: “He’s making magic happen.”
Arizona’s rookie head coach Jonathan Gannon was surprised by the ease with which Murray slotted in following his lay-off, telling reporters: “Honestly, I didn’t have any expectation.
“Like I told you guys all week, I was just happy that the guy was back because I know what he went through to get back to this point.
“Less than a year on from a major injury and to play at the level he played today…
“He just broke down the team and said, ‘I’ve got to be better.’ There’s a lot of meat on that bone from the offensive side and that’s what he’ll continue to do.”