Kyler Murray

49ers will have hands full with Kyler Murray for foreseeable future

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AP

49ers will have hands full with Kyler Murray for foreseeable future

The 49ers got off to a winning start to the 2019 NFL season Sunday with a 31-17 road victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Unfortunately for San Francisco, nobody in the NFC West lost.

The LA Rams went into Carolina and earned a tough 30-27 win over the Panthers, and the Seahawks managed to hold on and beat the Cincinnati Bengals 21-20 in Seattle. Both of those results were somewhat expected, as the NFC West squads were favored in both matchups.

That can't be said for the Arizona Cardinals, who were underdogs at home against the Detroit Lions. They didn't win, but they didn't lose either, as Arizona erased an 18-point second-half deficit to stun Detroit on the way to a 27-27 tie.

While the Cardinals never got a chance to attempt a game-winning kick in overtime, they wouldn't have even reached that point if not for the heroics of their rookie quarterback.

Kyler Murray, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, looked somewhat overmatched in the preseason, and that remained the case Sunday as Detroit built a 17-3 lead in the first half, over which he completed just 6 of 16 passes for 41 yards and zero touchdowns with one interception. The second half -- and especially the fourth quarter -- presented a different story.

After the Lions increased their lead to 24-6 just 13 seconds into the fourth quarter, Murray began to work his magic. His deft touch was on display, as he found running back David Johnson down the seam for the first touchdown pass of his career.

That cut the Cardinals' deficit to 24-16, and in the final minute of regulation, Murray pulled Arizona even to send the game into OT.

With first-and-goal at the Lions' 4-yard line, Murray rolled out to his right and found none other than the immortal Larry Fitzgerald for a touchdown to pull the Cardinals within two. 

Then, on the two-point conversion, Murray connected with Christian Kirk for the game-tying score.

Arizona got the ball to start overtime, and on the second play, Murray showed off his arm strength, finding Fitzgerald deep down the left side to set up a go-ahead field goal.

On each of those plays, you can see aspects of Murray's skill set that made him so appealing to Kliff Kingsbury and the Cardinals. Murray's athleticism is off the charts, he has great arm strength and accuracy, and as Week 1 showed, he also has a flair for the dramatic.

[RELATED: What we learned about 49ers in season-opening win over Bucs]

The 49ers' defense played a key role in their season-opening win, but moving forward, it sure looks like they'll have their hands full with Murray for many years to come.

Antonio Brown had simple message for Kyler Murray after Raiders-Cardinals

Antonio Brown had simple message for Kyler Murray after Raiders-Cardinals

There was a lot of star power at State Farm Stadium on Thursday night.

It was No. 1 overall draft pick Kyler Murray's second preseason game, and Antonio Brown donned the silver and black for the first time as a Raider, although he didn't play.

The Raiders' defense had its way with Murray, holding the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner to 3-for-8 passing for 12 yards and 4 yards rushing. Paul Guenther's defense also sacked Murray twice, including once for a safety. 

Despite the poor outing, Murray seems confident he and new head coach Kliff Kingsbury can put up big numbers in the desert with the Air Raid offense.

Following the Raiders' 33-26 win, Brown -- who remains out as he rehabs from frostbitten feet -- met up with Murray and had a simple message for a player many consider one of the future faces of the league.

Preach, AB.

[RELATED: AB believes he's misunderstood, but he has 'tough skin']

Murray looked sharp in his preseason debut, but he was flustered by the Raiders. The Cardinals' atrocious offensive line, which almost got Josh Rosen killed a year ago, hasn't improved at all. That's a huge issue for a team that plans to go empty and try to sling the pill a lot. Of course, Kingsbury and Murray also admitted their game plan was very vanilla as they continue their install.

As for Brown, the Raiders star went through pregame drills and appears to be close to showing the world he still is one of the game's top receivers.

Raiders' Lamarcus Joyner happy to disrupt Cardinals' 'pretty boy' offense

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USATSI

Raiders' Lamarcus Joyner happy to disrupt Cardinals' 'pretty boy' offense

Kyler Murray, Kliff Kingsbury and the Arizona Cardinals' offense are hoping to take the NFL by storm.

The Cardinals hired Kingsbury to bring his Air Raid offense to the desert, and he promptly drafted Murray with the No. 1 overall pick.

While the two might form an electric pairing, they got a rude awakening in their second preseason game Thursday against Lamarcus Joyner and the Raiders at State Farm Stadium.

The Raiders flustered Murray all night. The 2018 Heisman Trophy winner went 3-for-8 for 12 yards on the night. He also rushed for 4 yards and was sacked twice, including once for a safety by Joyner.

The veteran safety has made his distaste for college offenses known, and he was more than happy to disrupt the NFL's newest hot item. 

"Well, it's pretty boy football," Joyner told ESPN's Lisa Salters about the college offense during the third quarter. "It don't allow the defense to play physical like the game was meant to be. So, you know, when you go against offense like that, you have to introduce that physicality to them because they don't want to do that." 

So, what does Joyner see as his goal as it pertains to offenses like Kingsbury's?

"Run that kind of offense out of the NFL," Joyner said with a smile.

The Raiders signed Joyner in the offseason, looking to revamp Paul Guenther's defense. The Florida State product is hoping to transform the entire culture surrounding a unit that was eviscerated last season.

"I think with the spirit of belief," Joyner said when asked how he plans to turn the unit around. "You have to positive energy and get the guys in the locker room believing. I mean brotherhood, you can move mountains with that."

[RELATED: Raiders' Carr, Jacobs carve up Cardinals in preseason cameo]

The Raiders' presumed first-unit defense shut down Murray and the Cardinals on Thursday night in their first real action together.

For Guenther and Joyner, it's so far, so good.