Kyler Murray needed to be helped off the field after absorbing a nasty hit.
The Arizona Cardinals watched more than just their playoff hopes take a huge blow on Saturday night.
Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray took a brutal shot while trying to extend what a potential game-winning drive. Arizona failed to convert the fourth down, but the concern was less about the fail conversion and more about Murray who stayed on the turf well after the play was over.
— Sports ②④x⑦ (@B_R_R_D) December 27, 2020
Murray’s teammates surrounded him and eventually helped him up and off the field.
It appears that the aftershock of the shot Murray took wasn’t as bad as it initially seemed, and the sting of defeat probably factored into how long Murray remained on the turf. But anyone who saw the shot that Murray took would be hard pressed to give him a hard time about staying on the ground for a while, regardless of the context.
Had the first down been converted, it’s unclear what the damage sustained would have meant for the rest of whatever the drive ended up being.
How can the Arizona Cardinals still make the NFC Playoffs?
What is clear — or at least getting clearer — is the Cardinals dwindling playoff hopes. The loss to the 49ers backs Arizona into a corner and miraculously (and inexplicably) puts the Chicago Bears in a prime position to make the playoffs as the last NFC Wild Card team in.
A loss by the Cardinals next week coupled with a win by the Bears in Week 16 would likely mean the Bears and Mitchell Trubisky sneak into the playoffs over the Cardinals. Chicago can lose one of its last two games (their Week 17 matchup against the Packers being a likely loss) and still make the playoffs thanks to the Cardinals upset loss on Saturday.
Arizona can still make the playoffs even if the Bears win on Sunday. The Cardinals control their own destiny, but would need a win against the Rams to clinch a playoff berth. The Bears losing twice would go a long way in helping the Cardinals, but Chicago would need to have a dud against the Jaguars, who are actively tanking to remain in possession of the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
There’s a lot that still needs to shake out in the NFC playoff picture, but the Cardinals hopes of a playoff trip this year are dwindling by the second.