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Kyler Murray shows composure despite throwing three picks in rebound performance

Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray threw perhaps his worst interception as an NFL quarterback in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 23-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

It was fourth-and-2 from the Steelers 6 with about 12:33 left in the game. Arizona was down 10. The analytics said go for it on fourth down. Popular belief said kick a field goal and come within a touchdown.

Murray looked for tight end Maxx Williams but threw a pass right into the waiting arms of Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt. Drive over. No points.

But Murray quickly showed how strong his mental game is, even when his passing game was off Sunday.

On his next drive, Murray threw perhaps his best ball of the game, a 24-yard pass, right over Steelers safety Terrell Edmunds’ outstretched arms, and right into the hands of running back David Johnson for a touchdown that pulled the Cardinals within 20-17 with 6:49 left.

A week after the Cardinals turned in their worst performance of the season, a game in which Murray said was the most lopsided loss of his life, Murray showed yet again he has what it takes to play in the NFL, but this time from a different standpoint. He’s already proven he can throw, run and direct an offense. And even if he threw three interceptions Sunday -- two of which were ugly and costly, while the third was a desperation play in the final seconds of the game -- he was able to shake them off and move on to the next play.

Coach Kliff Kingsbury has said time and time again this season that Murray’s mental fortitude impressed him. Murray showed it Sunday afternoon in what amounted to a road game for the Cardinals inside their own stadium.

Steelers fans dominated the crowd, waving their Terrible Towels, booing the Cardinals during warmups loud enough that one would’ve thought it was the Cardinals fans booing the visitors.

And Murray was able to keep his head despite being sacked five times and unable to find running lanes on designed runs.

Describe the game in two words: Bad mistakes. The Cardinals made too many bad mistakes throughout Sunday’s game, whether it was defensive pass interference plays by Byron Murphy, the missed tackle by Patrick Peterson, the interceptions by Murray or the facemask penalty on Terrell Suggs. They all contributed in some way to Arizona being unable to take control of Sunday’s game.

Promising trend: David Johnson was back. The running back had 53 yards from scrimmage on Sunday, his most since the 102 he had against the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 13.

Bold prediction for next week: Johnson will see his playing time increase. He played 19 snaps against the Steelers and will see that increase next week against the Browns.