TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — The games aren't going well these days for the Arizona Cardinals. The practice field at least provides a little hope.
That's where franchise quarterback Kyler Murray is nearing his return from a 10 1/2-month absence due to a torn ACL in his right knee. The Cardinals have a little more than two more weeks to elevate Murray to the active roster after he was designated to return from the physically unable to perform list last Wednesday.
Until he plays, the Cardinals (1-6) are essentially in a holding pattern. They lost their fourth straight game Sunday, falling on the road to the Seattle Seahawks 20-10.
Fill-in quarterback Joshua Dobbs has played OK in his seven games this season and that so-so trend continued against the Seahawks. He completed 19 of 33 passes for 146 yards and ran for 43 yards and a touchdown, making a few big plays but also missing some juicy opportunities.
First-year coach Jonathan Gannon has stayed supportive of Dobbs, even through the ups and downs.
“The pass game takes all 11,” Gannon said. “We’ve got to do a better job throwing the ball.”
The Cardinals actually had a 10-7 lead Sunday in the second quarter, but allowed the final 13 points. It continued a trend — they've been outscored 57-12 over the second half in the past four games.
“I think our hitting's there, our effort is there, the fight is always there,” Gannon said. “We've just got to fight a little better and that's talking to all of us.”
The Cardinals are getting a little healthier in the secondary. Rookie cornerback Garrett Williams played his first game of the season — snaring an interception — and two-time All-Pro safety Budda Baker returned after missing five games with a hamstring injury.
Baker led the team with six tackles.
“Thought he looked good,” Gannon said. "Coming back from the injury that he had as quick as he did, I mean, he’s a warrior, man, and it’s good to have him out there. Made some good plays in there today, but he definitely helps us out as a team and a unit.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
Arizona's offense simply isn't producing at a very high level.
The Cardinals forced three turnovers Sunday, but were only able to convert them into three points. They're averaging less than 14 points per game during their four-game losing streak.
The roster has a few interesting playmakers, including receivers such as Hollywood Brown and Rondale Moore, along with second-year tight end Trey McBride, but Dobbs hasn't been able to get them the ball consistently.
RB Emari Demercado. The 24-year-old has taken advantage of his extra playing time now that James Conner is on the IR with a knee injury. Demercado ran for 58 yards on 13 carries Sunday, including an 18-yard gain.
LT D.J. Humphries. One of the team's few established veterans, Humphries made a serious gaffe in the second quarter by getting ejected after making contact with an official during an altercation with a Seahawks player.
“Our guys know the non-negotiables are fighting and touching a ref,” Gannon said.
60 — The Cardinals have lost their last four games by a combined margin of 60 points, getting beat by an average of more than two touchdowns per game. Arizona looked as though it might overachieve this season after three competitive games to start the schedule — including an impressive win against the Cowboys — but their lack of talent and depth at several spots is starting to show.
The Cardinals hope for more reinforcements in the secondary soon. S Jalen Thompson (hamstring) and CB Antonio Hamilton (groin) are both battling injuries and were inactive against the Seahawks.
Murray's health continues to be the biggest storyline as the Cardinals prepare for another tough game. They'll host the Ravens (5-2) on Sunday.
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