Cardinals 'laid an egg' but have everything to play for still

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As the clock ticked toward zero late Sunday afternoon inside State Farm Stadium, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins had seen enough and started walking toward the locker room. As he passed the orange 10-yard-line marker, he stopped and kicked it over.

When the Cardinals' 34-31 loss to the Miami Dolphins was official moments later, Hopkins ripped off his jersey and pads, and ran to the locker room. Close behind him was veteran receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

Neither wanted to be on the field any longer than absolutely necessary. And quarterback Kyler Murray didn't want to talk about it afterward.

At one point during his postgame news conference, Murray waited 22 seconds before answering a question, only to respond with: "Just have to be better."

"We came out here and laid an egg," he added.

Sunday's loss produced anger and frustration not seen before during the Kliff Kingsbury era after a game. A win would have put the Cardinals into first place in the NFC West.

"It wasn't talked about, but we all knew the opportunity that was at hand and if we won this game, what that would mean for us with amongst the division," receiver Christian Kirk said. "That's why it's just, it's so frustrating, and guys have every right to be as mad as they are because we all know how talented and how good we can be. And, it's just ... it's tough, and it's frustrating when we don't do it."

But is this a bump in the road to the postseason or a bad loss that could have straightened the trajectory of the season?

By all vantage points, the Cardinals are still in a good place. Arizona dropped to 5-3 and sixth in the NFC, comfortably in the seven-team playoff picture while sitting tied with the Los Angeles Rams for second place in the West.

The Cardinals still have two games left against the Rams, and they have one each against the Seahawks and 49ers. They would be tied with the Seahawks, whom they beat in Week 7, if they had beaten the Dolphins.

"It's a tough pill to swallow," wide receiver Christian Kirk said. "We shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times and just didn't make the plays when they were needed to walk away with the win."

Murray played as good as he has in a season in which he's been consistently good, running for a career-high 106 yards and a touchdown while throwing for 283 yards and three scores. Kingsbury called Murray's game "really efficient" and took the blame for Arizona not scoring at times.

None of that mattered to Murray as he sat in a hoodie in front of a screen, minutes after an emotionally crushing loss.

Asked what was upsetting him so much at that moment, Murray, again, paused.

"We lost," he finally said.