Making It Look Easy
October 26, 2020

The real reason Kyler Murray was smiling mid-play before throwing a TD to DeAndre Hopkins

If you went to bed early on Sunday night (shamefully raises hand), you missed a gem of a NFL game between the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals. Somewhat shockingly, the Cardinals came out on top, completing a 10-point comeback with under three minutes to play and eventually winning at the very end of overtime, 37-34.   

Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray was brilliant, outplaying MVP candidate Russell Wilson, who uncharacteristically threw three interceptions. Murray was so good that he made it look easy, even smiling in the middle of a play that he threw a touchdown pass on. Yes, that really happened: 

Naturally, this clip took the internet by storm, with many surmising that Murray was grinning because he had DeAndre Hopkins in 1-on-1 coverage. It's a fair assumption, and Hopkins coming down with the 35-yard TD grab only strengthens the theory. 

However, a closer look at the entire play, including the pre-snap portion, would show you that Murray may be smiling because they caught the Seahawks defense sleeping. NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah pointed this out on Monday morning, showing that Murray and the offensive line all looked to the sideline as if they were going to change the play. That caused the Seattle defenders to let their guard down, and Murray quick-snapped them and dropped a dime to Hopkins: 

As Jeremiah notes, the corner at the very top of the screen begins slowly walking forward and then places his hands on his hips, almost like he thought he had time to catch his breath. A number of other Seattle defenders were also caught completely flat-footed, all of them thinking that Arizona was stopping to get a new play from the sideline. It's a genius move by Murray and Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury, and the rest of the Arizona offense. Catching the Seahawks napping was more likely the reason Murray was smiling, though having Hopkins in 1-on-1 coverage is a laughing matter as well.