Patriots

Bill Belichick praises Cardinals QB Kyler Murray as 'hard to defend'

Patriots

The New England Patriots will face one of the NFL's best young quarterbacks for the third consecutive week in Sunday's Week 12 game against the Arizona Cardinals at Gillette Stadium.

Arizona leads the league in total yards and is among eight teams averaging 28 or more points scored per game. The Cardinals also are the league's top rushing team. They rank No. 2 in rushing yards and No. 1 in both yards per carry and rushing touchdowns.

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Kyler Murray is the engine that drives the Cardinals' high-powered offense.

The second-year quarterback has completed 68.3 percent of his pass attempts for 2,644 yards with 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions. 

Murray is not just an impressive passer, however. He's also one of the best running quarterbacks. The 2018 No. 1 overall draft pick leads all quarterbacks with 619 rushing yards, and his 10 rushing touchdowns are one behind Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook for the league lead. 

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The 23-year-old quarterback's dual-threat skill set makes him a tough player to defend, as Patriots head coach Bill Belichick explained Monday.

"He's very athletic, quick and fast. He really has a lot of tools," Belichick said during his weekly interview with WEEI's "Ordway, Merloni & Fauria". "He throws the ball well and is hard to tackle. He can escape the pocket and extend plays. He's hard to defend.

"They have good receivers, obviously (DeAndre) Hopkins and (Larry) Fitzgerald, good tight ends, (running back Kenyan) Drake. They got a lot of good players. They move the ball and score points."

The Patriots have not fared too well against dual-threat quarterbacks this season. 

 
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Russell Wilson tallied 327 total yards with five touchdown passes and one interception in the Seahawks' win over the Patriots in Week 2. Lamar Jackson tallied 294 total yards with two touchdown passes and one interception in the Ravens' loss to the Pats in Week 10. And in Sunday's Week 11 defeat to the Texans, Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson torched New England's defense for 380 total yards, two passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown.

Murray is fully capable of posting a similarly impressive stat line, and if the Patriots don't make the required adjustments defensively after Sunday's loss to the Texans, they likely will suffer a seventh loss this weekend and see their 2020 playoff hopes fully evaporate.