Trace McSorely led the Arizona Cardinals to 23 points in the first half on their first offensive attempt in the game. Jarrett Guarantano has completed his 7 of his 10 in-game throws in the NFL’s first.
The Cardinals relied on 3- and 4-string quarterbacks against the Cincinnati Bengals in Friday’s preseason opener.
Despite Kyler Murray and Colt McCoy missing, they stepped up with an opportunity for the Cardinals to win 36-23.
Head coach Cliff Kingsbury named McSorley a starter this week, calling the fourth-year QB a gamer with “Moxie.”
Mussorley showed that with his athletic play throughout his first half performance.
The former Penn State standout player recorded touchdown drives of 79 and 75 yards.
McSorley completed three passes not including a long pass interference call on his first drive of the game, ending with a 4-yard touchdown pass on a run to Andre Vaselia.
He used his feet to evade the pressure, gaining 16 yards and showing body control while moving left to throw a strike to Baselia.
With two minutes remaining in the first half, he did not display his athleticism in a third-and-six or better play.
McSorley faced pressure from the center as four rushes collapsed the pocket, but spun off the arms of multiple defenders.
The quarterback ran to his right and lofted a deep pass to the sideline near the run. I played 36 yards.
McSorley scrambled for 16 yards after two plays to set up a short touchdown run for Jonathan Ward.
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He finished the half with 163 yards on 13-of-22 passes.
Kingsbury said after the game, “He handled the offense the way I wanted him to.” We tend to find ways to put ourselves in the zone.”
Picked up by the Cardinals as an undrafted free agent in May, Guarantano relieved McSorley at halftime and immediately threw his first touchdown pass.
Arizona had great field position on their first late drive after a 55-yard punt return from Greg Dorch, with Guarantano quickly handling the Bengals’ backup.
He completed his first three throws, and his third was a 5-yard touchdown to Johntre Kirklin. Guarantano also threw his ball perfect to hit Kirklin left in the short corner of his zone at the end.
Kingsbury said of Guarantano on Wednesday: “So we’ll see how it all unfolds. Both of them, I’m really proud of their progress.”
Neither quarterback turned the ball on Friday, and the Cardinals were up 36-9 with the duo leading until the third quarter.
Together, they gained 217 passing yards and completed 20 of their 32 throws.
Kingsbury said Murray would be unlikely to play this preseason, even if he wore a suit. McCoy has been dealing with “arm pain” and he hasn’t thrown a ball for much of the week.
The Cardinals may have to rely on McSorley and Guarantano to keep the offense going until another game is played next Sunday.
Perhaps they’ll throw the ball to more starters in Arizona next week against the Baltimore Ravens.
The Cardinals had three quarterbacks left on their roster last year, with McSorley and Guarantano battling to claim their spot.
Arizona will have to make a decision this week on who to keep on the roster, as teams have to pick 85 of the 90 players by Tuesday.