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Panthers – Cardinals (16-26): Baker Mayfield, mediocre, sinks his team

Carolina Panthers (1-3) – Arizona Cardinals (2-2): 16-26

In a game of remarkable offensive poverty, Arizona did the bare minimum to get rid of a Panthers team that has neither talent nor direction on offense. Baker Mayfield (22/36, 197 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT) is a weakness, and he takes the hopes of the Panthers with him week after week. DJ Moore (50 yards), Christian McCaffrey (108 yards, 1 TD) and the defense tried to keep the game alive, but Kyler Murray (207 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 1 TD on the ground) made the difference in the last act, with 21 points in five minutes.

Gradually helped by a running game and a line that woke up in the second half, he used his legs as much as his arm to bring victory. The defense on the contrary was dominant from start to finish, promising for the future. Arizona is getting back into the race for the NFC playoffs, while Carolina worries and becomes a favorite for the top 5… of the 2023 draft.

Journey to the End of Boredom

97 yards, 0/6 in 3rd attempt and 0/2 in fourth, 0 point (s). Here is the cumulative balance sheet of the two attacks in the first quarter. An understatement to say that this first act felt like an offensive purge, with the defensive lines taking over the offensive lines. Baker Mayfield is still a shadow of his former self, but Kyler Murray is no better.

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It is the latter who will unlock the game in spite of himself, by launching a nasty interception for Frankie Luvu who will mark the defensive touchdown for Carolina (7-0). A few minutes later it was again Arizona who scuttled themselves, with a missed snap on the fourth attempt which gave possession to Carolina in the opposing camp. But as this match is not one of the beautiful offensive game, Carolina returns the courtesy with an ugly fumble from Rashard Higgins.

Marquise Brown then carries her team, to put her kicker in position, successfully (7-3). DJ Moore and Christian McCaffrey carry their team, and Carolina is then in position to make the break. But like this match, the drive will end with an interception by Jalen Thompson after a deflection from Moore. The Panthers do not abdicate and take advantage of the last 30 seconds of halftime to go up the field and score a field goal (10-3). A return to the locker room after a sad spectacle on both sides, but Matt Rhule’s men are smiling.

Arizona with forceps

The start of the second half is more exciting, with Arizona finally advancing the chains. Kyler Murray relies on Zach Ertz (47 yards, 1 TD), who scores the touchdown taking advantage of the errors of the Panthers’ defense on this drive (10-10). former first round CJ Henderson can particularly blame himself, with an interference that cost a lot of yards.

This drive has the effect of freeing Arizona, which finally advances in attack. After a series of 15 games and 9 minutes, the Cardinals take control of the game without scoring a touchdown (10-13). James Conner (77 yards) and Eno Benjamin (45 yards), the duo of runners, finally brings some support to Kyler Murray and the results are immediate.

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The momemtum has changed, and Baker Mayfield finished condemning his team with a new interception, this time for Dennis Gardeck. Kyler Murray takes care of covering the 4 yards necessary to score and make (finally) the difference (10-20). Only 2 minutes later, Hollywood Brown (88 yards, 1 TD) will also score a touchdown (10-26). Carolina isn’t able to pull off a first down, and the Cardinals defense should be applauded for that.

The Panthers save the honor by Christian McCaffrey, too late however to give any hope to his team (16-26). Baker Mayfield is whistled by his stadium, an unfortunate but just consequence for a still catastrophic latch.

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