In the thick Jacksonville heat, it felt like the Arizona Cardinals would gag away a bad road game against a winless Jaguars club. Cards fans have seen these eggs laid before.
After sleepwalking early, Arizona trailed 13-7 at halftime, following Kliff Kingsbury's decision to try a 68-yard field goal at the end of the half that led to a ridiculous 109-yard return from the Jags' Jamal Agnew to bring Jacksonville to life.
After halftime, the Jaguars continued to surge as the Cards fluttered. Kyler Murray heaved a head-scratching interception on the opening drive of the third quarter. The defense couldn't slow the Jaguars, who pounded out an eight-play TD drive with all 75 yards coming on the ground.
With the Cardinals trailing 19-10 deep in the third quarter, it was setting up as a disastrous loss for Kingsbury. According to Next Gen Stats, following James Robinson's TD to put Jacksonville up by nine points, Arizona had just a 29 percent win probability.
The next three minutes flipped that.
"I'm glad we fought through adversity today," Murray said of Arizona's 31-19 win, via ESPN. "I'm frustrated, but as a team, I've been here, two, three years now and the last two years, we would have lost that game for sure."
According to ESPN, the Cards moved to 5-12-1 with Murray when trailing by nine or more points. Two of those wins came each of the past two weeks.
"To see us fight through that and come on the road, obviously, any given Sunday, not looking at anybody's record, you can be beat on any given Sunday by anybody," Murray said. "So, it's good to get a win any way you can. That's what we came out here and did, and that was the goal coming on the road, getting a win and that's what we're leaving with."
Much was made of Arizona's offseason veteran additions, including J.J. Watt and A.J. Green, two aging players with extensive injury histories. Would they be able to contribute at a high level? On Sunday, those additions made massive plays.
Watt's rush on a flea-flicker directly led to Lawrence panicking and tossing the pick-6. With DeAndre Hopkins quieted by Jacksonville, Green stepped up, generating 112 receiving yards on five catches (his first 100-yard receiving day since Week 7, 2018).
The mix of savvy veterans and playmaking youth have the Cards confident they can overcome.
"I think the mental capacity of this team, the maturity of this team," Murray said. "We've been there. A lot of our young guys have stepped up. A lot of young guys played a lot of reps, and me, as well, not getting flustered, coach Kingsbury not getting flustered, us just stick sticking to it, and seeing it through to the end."
Sunday was a game that good teams find a way to win while middling teams botch. The Cardinals are a good team.