Cardinals stun Bills on late Hail Mary

The Bills Report

GLENDALE, ARIZONA – NOVEMBER 15: Quarterback Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals runs the ball as defensive tackle Justin Zimmer #61 and defensive end Mario Addison #97 of the Buffalo Bills defend during the first half at State Farm Stadium on November 15, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

The Bills fell to 7-3 Sunday after a 32-30 loss on the road against the Cardinals. Read the game blog here for a recap of the all the action as it happened.

The Bills are playing in Phoenix, where it’s 80 degrees and the roof is open at State Farm Stadium.

Buffalo won the toss and elected to defer. The Cardinals get the ball first.

1st Quarter

Cardinals went no-huddle on their first drive and motored right down the field, but rookie Dane Jackson locked up DeAndre Hopkins on third and goal from the five and the Bills held Arizona to only a field goal on their opening possession.

The Bills answered pretty dramatically. A 40 yard Andre Roberts return set Buffalo up at the 37 yard line. A 31 yard receiver screen converted third and 8 to get Buffalo in the red zone. Then, Brian Daboll got tricky. Isaiah McKenzie took what looked like a jet sweep and threw back to Josh Allen for a touchdown. The play was very similar to the touchdown the Bills scored on the opening possession of the playoff against Houston last year. Bills lead 7-3.

A miscommunication on second down forced Kyler Murray to eat a seven yard loss and the Cardinals went three and out on their second possession.

2nd Quarter

Cardinals are the fifth most frequent blitzing team coming into the game and the Bills O-Line comes up big on Buffalo’s second possession. A third and 6 blitz is beautifully picked up and Brown gets free for an 11 yard carry. The Bills catch a break on the next series when Allen throws one right to Patrick Peterson, but traffic flying back distracts him from making the interception. Tyler Bass follows by banking a 54 yard field goal off the right upright and the Bills up their lead to 10-3.

Arizona opens their second drive with a 28 yard pass to DeAndre Hopkins. The Cardinals convert a third down near midfield after a Jerry Hughes offside shrunk 3rd and 13 to 3rd and 8. However, a coverage by A.J. Klein that started with Mario Addison pressure forces another field goal try. Zane Gonzalez is good from 42 yards. It’s 10-6 Buffalo.

Bass answers that three with another long one. A 14 yard throw to Diggs sets Bass up for a 55 yard shot, again from the left hash. This one flirts with the right upright, but goes through for a 13-6 lead. Bass has set career longs on each field goal try so far today.

Cardinals put a good drive together, but the Bills made them earn every inch. Murray converted 4th and 5 just across midfield on a throw to tight end Dan Arnold. Then, Murray barely picked up the first down on a third and 13 scramble. However, Jerry Hughes and Jordan Poyer knocked down passes from the three yard line. Poyer darn near picked his out of the air for an interception. The Cardinals settle for another three and a 13-9 deficit. Sean McDermott used all three time outs to preserve some time at the end of the drive, so the Bills will have about 80 seconds to work with before the half.

Bass strikes again. He nails a 58 yarder just before the half. The Bills got a couple breaks from the Cardinals. Peterson dropped his second interception of the game. On third and 5, the Cardinals called a time out after a player left with an injury. Any injury in the final two minutes is a charged time out and calling two time outs in a row is a five yard penalty. That flag gave the Bills a first down and helped set up the field goal. Bills lead 16-9 at the half and get it first in the second half.

3rd Quarter

Roberts opens the half with a poor choice, returning the kick from deep in his end zone, but only getting to the ten. The Bills get a few first downs, but stall near their own 40. However, the first Cardinals play is a fumble. Taron Johnson got his shoulder on Kenyan Drake’s arm and the ball pops free. It rolls ten yards forward and Jackson is there to make the recovery.

The Bills don’t take long to make Arizona pay. Allen hits Cole Beasley on a 22 yard TD throw. Allen had all day to throw and Beasley was able to find space in the deep corner of the zone. Bills now have a commanding 23-9 lead.

Cardinals finally find the end zone on their next drive. The Bills lost Jackson to a knee injury on the second play of the drive. The third play was a 38 yarder to Hopkins. Arizona had to convert a 3rd and 3 in the red zone, but Murray capped the drive with a waltz in one yard TD run. Cardinals back within 23-16.

The Bills go three and out on their next possession and then Corey Bojorquez hits only a 12 yard punt. The Cardinals take over on the Buffalo 30. The Bills defense steps up. though. Tremaine Edmunds and Taron Johnson open with a tackle for a two yard loss and Micah Hyde knocks a third down pass away that really never had a shot of being completed. Cardinals get their 4th field goal and draw within 23-19.

Allen has been flirting with a Patrick Peterson interception and Peterson finally gets one. The Bills had a first down inside Cardinals territory on a great throw by Allen with a defender draped on him. A Dawson Knox illegal block negated the play. Peterson makes the interception on the next throw as Allen tried to squeeze on in to Knox. It seemed like a poor decision.

The Cardinals make short work of the turnover. Four plays and they are in the end zone for their first lead of the game. Murray opened the drive with a 28 yard run and capped it with a 15 yard score. Buffalo now trails 26-23.

4th Quarter

The Bills offense continues to struggle. Two runs netted minus-4 yards. Allen did a nice job to beat a blitz and convert a third down to Beasley. On the next third down, Allen avoided a sack by floating an incredibly dangerous pass to Singletary, who seemed like he might break free for an amazing conversion. Instead, the Bills punt again and Christian Kirk returns the punt 25 yards to the Arizona 32.

Arizona was steamrolling down the field, but the Bills got a monster break. A 2nd and 12 pass to Larry Fitzgerald was not good, low and behind him. He went low to make the catch, but the ball popped out of his hands and bounced right to Jordan Poyer. The play was reviewed, but it stood and the Bills start at their own 30. Incredible break for Buffalo.

Bills could not move it. In fact, they mostly went backwards. Four penalties moved Buffalo 35 yards in the wrong direction. They were in 3rd and 33 at one point. Bojorquez hits a good punt, though and the Bills pin Arizona at their own two yard line.

The Bills defense gets a huge three and out. They stuffed the line of scrimmage on third and one. Cardinals had to punt, but a flag on the return moves Buffalo back to their own 48 to start the drive with under five minutes to play.

And on the first play after the punt, Allen throws an interception to Dre Kirkpatrick. The coverage was pretty good. The throw was a bit late and a bit behind Gabriel Davis.

Defense steps up big again. The Cardinals try three passes after getting stuffed on the third and one. They go incomplete, incomplete, all out blitz Taron Johnson sack. Bills get another chance from their own 22.

The first first down on this drive comes via an unreal Beasley one handed catch at the sideline on third and 4. They have second and 5 near midfield at the two minute warning. The Bills kept on coming. Another third down conversion to Beasley was followed by a 17 yarder to Beasley. Then, Allen stuck one in the end zone to Stefon Diggs from 21 yards to give Buffalo a 30-26 lead.

And then a miracle happens. From the Buffalo 40 yardline, Murray unleashes a Hail Mary and Hopkins pulls it down for a game winning touchdown. Tre White, Hyde and Poyer were all right there, but Hopkins just got a little higher. It’s one of the all-time finishes in NFL football. It just goes against the Bills. Arizona wins 32-30.

Allen had a pretty good day, apart from the two interceptions. He was 22 of 39 for 284 yards and two touchdowns. Beasley had the monster day receiving with 11 catches for 109 yards and a score. Diggs very good also: 10 catches for 93 yards and the late go-ahead TD. John Brown was six for 72. The run game was non-existent. Singletary and Zack Moss combined for 35 yards on 11 carries.

Arizona rushed it for over 200 as a team. Drake finished with exactly 100 yards. Murray had 61 and two touchdowns on the ground. He was 22 of 32 for 245 yards in the air with an interception and the gift from the Almighty touchdown. Hopkins had a pedestrian day before the late TD, but ended up with seven catches for 127 yards and a score.

The Bills fall to 7-3 and their lead over Miami in the AFC East is now only a half game after the Dolphins beat the Chargers. It’s gonna be a long bye week to stew over this loss.

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