Murray’s lone series began at the Arizona 2 following a fumble recovery by linebacker Jordan Hicks. It didn’t end in points, though that was no fault of his own.
The Cardinals were called for a pair of penalties on the drive, including an illegal touch by wideout KeeSean Johnson, who went out of bounds before catching Murray’s seventh throw of the night.
It went down as Murray’s lone incompletion and resulted in a loss of down. Murray was sacked on the next play, which forced a punt. Kingsbury said there was a miscommunication that led to quick pressure, causing Murray to dive to the ground before getting hit.
He spent the rest of the game on the sidelines.
“I wanted to score,” Murray said. “I wanted to go back in. … I was itching for more.”
The Cardinals’ first-team defense played one series. It allowed the Chargers to easily march down the field until Hicks saved the day by stripping running back Austin Ekeler and recovering the fumble himself.
“They hit some runs on us we’d obviously like to have back, but I’ll have to evaluate the film and see what went wrong on those plays,” Kingsbury said.
The Chargers scored first on a 4-yard touchdown run by Justin Jackson early in the second quarter. The Cardinals knotted the game on a 22-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Brett Hundley to wide receiver Trent Sherfield right before halftime.
Zane Gonzalez gave the Cardinals a 10-7 lead by nailing a 55-yard field goal with 6:16 remaining in the third quarter and running back Wes Hills pushed it to 10 with a 7-yard touchdown run early in the fourth. The Chargers cut the deficit to one possession on a 32-yard touchdown run by quarterback Easton Stick but the Cardinals held on for Kingsbury’s first NFL coaching victory.
“Winning always means something,” Kingsbury said. “If you’re a competitor, you’d rather win than lose.”
Sherfield had four catches for 44 yards and the score along with a special teams tackle, bolstering his case to make the team.
Outside linebacker Pete Robertson had two tackles and a sack. He returned a fumble 43 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter but the play was overturned on review. Rookie safety Tyler Sigler had a fourth-quarter interception.
While there were other bright spots, the postgame focus was on Murray. The true measure will come one month from now, but the early returns are promising.
“It wasn’t too fast,” Murray said. “I know it’s not the regular season yet, but I felt pretty relaxed, pretty comfortable.”