ESPN went wild slobbering over Colt McCoy before the 49ers waxed him

The 49ers blew out Colt McCoy's Cardinals Monday night.

The 49ers blew out Colt McCoy's Cardinals Monday night.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

Colt McCoy was benched early in the fourth quarter of the San Francisco 49ers' four-touchdown beatdown of the Arizona Cardinals Monday night. The sight of Trace McSorley strapping his helmet on must have been a shocking one for ESPN's Monday Night Countdown crew, which had spent a lengthy pregame segment blasting injured Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray. By the end of the segment, you'd be forgiven for thinking McCoy must be somewhere between 2018 Nick Foles and Jesus Christ.

McCoy is a 36-year-old journeyman who has thrown for 14 touchdowns in the past 11 years. He isn't on the Ryan Fitzpatrick level of "guy you're intrigued to see come off the bench"; he's a reliable backup who won't make atrocious mistakes. He isn't even close to as good as Jimmy Garoppolo. That's exactly what played out Monday night. He hit on 70% of his passes but averaged only 6 yards per attempt and was picked off once against zero touchdowns. 

It's clear that ESPN was either playing up a QB controversy storyline to give the game some drama, or some Cardinals sources have been destroying Murray privately. (The two are not mutually exclusive.)

Each member of the panel went in on Murray and conspicuously praised McCoy, starting with Larry Fitzgerald, who said that Cardinals receivers DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green had told him they loved playing with McCoy. "The comments from former teammates are glowing about his leadership," Fitzgerald said. Fitzgerald's words obviously have some weight, as he played with Murray in Arizona in 2019 and 2020.

Robert Griffin III and 49ers legend Steve Young were even more explicit in ripping Murray to shreds. "It just seems like Kyler's on his own sheet of music when he's playing the game," Griffin said. 

Suzy Kolber then teed it up for Young, suggesting that Murray might not "love" football like McCoy does. Young essentially accused Murray of being an entitled know-it-all. "I think everyone here on this panel, everyone I hear on the Cardinals is saying — please, Kyler, go back to school," Young said. "Tighten it up... Get that efficiency going. We know that you can handle all of it, but you cannot be the know-it-all. That's gotten you this far, but it won't take you the distance."

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A smiling Adam Schefter put an exclamation point on Young's rant. "And there are none of those issues with Colt McCoy, who's got the universal respect of everyone in that building," Schefter said.  

Universal respect is apparently good enough for a lone win over the reeling Los Angeles Rams, which McCoy led the Cardinals to last week. Against an excellent defense like the 49ers, that's not going to cut it.