A look at how ugly the Arizona Cardinals’ offense was without DeAndre Hopkins – NFL Nation

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TEMPE, Ariz. – The day after the Arizona Cardinals’ season ended in the wildcard round of the NFL playoffs, coach Kliff Kingsbury said losing wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in Week 14 affected their finish.

“It was effective, there is no doubt,” Kingsbury said. “I think he’s one of the best players in the whole league in any position. And especially in the red zone, I think you saw some matches there in terms of touchdown percentage, things of that nature.

“He’s a guy, you have to know where he’s on defense every single snap and have to do things to try to take him away. And that opens up other aspects of your offensive, and so he has a great value when “It’s going to be on the pitch, and unfortunately we did not have him. And we have to learn from that and get better the next time he has to lose time. Hopefully it is not so often.”

Kingsbury said what everyone already knew, and he could have said it in a dozen different ways, but it still explored how much losing Hopkins affected the Cardinals’ attack. It changed everything.

When Hopkins went down late in the week 14 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football while squeezing his knee, leading to a season-ending operation, Arizona’s attack lost its focus. The Cardinals had 10-2 – by being 10-3 – and shared the best record in the NFL while having a firm grip on the NFC West.

Afterwards, the season fell apart. Without Hopkins down the stretch – he also missed three games after a Week 8 loss to Green Bay – the Cardinals were 1-4, including the playoff defeat, and their attack looked pedestrian. The Cardinals averaged 18.8 points in the last five games without Hopkins compared to 30.2 in games with him.

It’s not just that Arizona didn’t score. It did not move the ball. The yard difference in week 15 through the wildcard game was minus-26. When Hopkins and quarterback Kyler Murray were on the field – Murray missed the same three games as Hopkins in November – it was plus-62.

Delivery touchdowns per. trials dropped from 5.9% with Hopkins to 2.4% without him in December and January. That fight continued in the red zone, as Kingsbury said. At Hopkins, Arizona’s touchdown rate in the red zone was 65.9%. Without him, it dropped to 35.7%.

Murray’s completion rate was 71.6% with Hopkins and 63.1% without him. Arizona had an average of 1.9 passes per game. fight with Hopkins and one without him.

And having Hopkins on the field dictated how defense played Cardinals. Murray was lightning fast on average three times more per. match without Hopkins in December and January.

“I do not know who plays us differently,” Murray said. “I just know that when you do not have DeAndre Hopkins out there, you’re going to look a little different in terms of staff.”

Murray did not describe having Hopkins on the field as “tough”. It was for everyone, including Murray. Without Hopkins in the last five games, his average time in the pocket fell 0.04 seconds and he completed 3.6% fewer throws on 20 or more yards.

Hopkins ended the year with 572 receiving yards and a team-high eight touchdowns on 42 catches in 10 games. In the last five games without him, no teammate was near the total. Tight-end Zach Ertz had 28 catches for 253 yards, and wide receiver Christian Kirk had 24 for 264 yards and a touchdown, but AJ Green had 12 for 194. Antoine Wesley, an undrafted receiver who played for Kingsbury at Texas Tech, filled essentially Hopkins’ role in the offense. Wesley had three touchdowns in the last five games, all of which came out of the isolated receiver position to the left of Murray, where Hopkins lined up.

The good news for the Cardinals? Kingsbury said Hopkins is expected to be 100% within the next month.

“Hop, you’re talking about one of the top 10 players in the entire league,” Kingsbury said. “It starts there when you plan the game, and without him you just have to find different ways.”

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