Kliff Kingsbury Made Questionable Decisions in Final Minute of Loss to Seahawks

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury made several questionable decisions in the final minute of his team’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night.

Down 28-21 and starting a drive with 2:21 remaining, the Cardinals marched 52 yards to get to first and 10 from the Seahawks’ 27-yard line. At this point, it looked like Seattle’s defenders were on their heels, and Arizona was on an inexorable march to the end zone.

The next play was an incomplete pass intended for Chase Edmonds. That’s when the decision-making got murky. On 2nd and 10, with 50 seconds remaining, Kyler Murray targeted Larry Fitzgerald in the end zone. The pass fell incomplete. Then, with the play clock winding down, Kingsbury took a timeout and Murray looked visibly annoyed. After the Seahawks took a subsequent timeout, Murray threw a pass to Andy Isabella that, if completed, had a good shot at winding up in the end zone, but it also fell incomplete. Murray was sacked on fourth down to seal the game.

Here’s why this play-calling is questionable. First, the Cardinals had plenty of time and did not need to rush to punch it in. These plays had a high degree of difficulty, and there were myriad ways for Arizona to try to get it closer to the end zone before going for the score.

Secondly, not targeting DeAndre Hopkins, who caught a miraculous touchdown on a Hail Mary in triple coverage against the Bills on Sunday, was bananas.

Finally, if the Cardinals HAD scored on second or third down when they were taking end zone shots, Russell Wilson would’ve had ample time to get the Seahawks into field goal range to set up a victory in regulation.

I understand that football coaches have the mindset that they have to worry about scoring first before being concerned about timing. However, anyone who’s watched football this past decade knows that 40-50 seconds is all the time in the world for Russell Wilson to cook up some magic, especially if he has to move only about 40-45 yards in that time to give his team a shot.

The Cardinals let a golden opportunity slip away from them in the final minute of Thursday Night Football, thanks in large part to Coach Kingsbury.

Written by Ryan Glasspiegel

Ryan Glasspiegel grew up in Connecticut, graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and lives in Chicago. Before OutKick, he wrote for Sports Illustrated and The Big Lead. He enjoys expensive bourbon and cheap beer.


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  1. I did not see the game so I was very interested in seeing the questionable calls made by Kingsberry. But after reading your article, I am still looking for the questionable calls. You mention Murray did not target Hopkins but I assume perhaps the Seahawks thought Hopkins might be the main target and were focusing their attention on one of the best receivers in football. Any chance Hopkins was double covered o these plays? I imagine a coach as good as Carroll was also thinking his #1 proority was to cover Hopkins. Or is your opinion that Murray should throw it to Hopkins regardless of the coverage or whether he was open? And was not throwing to Hopkins a Kingsberry decision or was Hopkins simply part of the progression of reads, which is the case for most pass plays in the NFL, and Murray could not find him open? Second, many coaches feel it is easier to throw into the end zone from 20 yards out instead of 5 yards out because there is more room for the receivers to get open. I find it hard to call that bad decision making when there are plenty of coaches who would do the same thing. I like your thinking about trying to run the clock down before scoring but that is far trickier to do than it is to write about it. I do not find that bad decision making. I believe most pro coaches will score when given the chance and play defense rather than run down the clock and try to score a TD on the last play, especially since that gives the coach one down to score instead of three or four. I am not a Kingsberry fan so I was hoping for some excellent hard hitting facts on how he cost his team the game, but your article left me wanting at least one bad decision on Kingsberry’s part.

    • Bad decision: Calling time out with 1 second left on play clock as snap was about to happen.
      Even if they don’t get the play off you are only 5 yards back, not much difference when you need a touchdown. As for the rest of the stuff on who was targeted and when… well Kyler is the one pulling those triggers not KK. All those plays have primary and secondary receivers, save the time out, KM could have checked down to underneath receivers. Only bad decision I see was calling the time out. The rest was on KM. BTW NOT a KK fan either.

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