Lisa Matthews and Kyle Odegard recap an incredible win over the Bills on the Cardinals Post-Game Show.— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) November 16, 2020
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The clash between the Arizona Cardinals and the Buffalo Bills was a fun one en route to the former defeating the latter in a 32-30 nail-biter thanks to what could be the play of the season, with DeAndre Hopkins out-jumping three Bills defenders to haul in a Kyler Murray Hail Mary in the waning seconds for the game-winning touchdown. That followed an outstanding throw and catch on the other side from Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs to give the Bills a late lead, but a Buffalo victory was not meant to be.
Though the Cardinals got the win, the game didn't start in the way many predicted ahead of kickoff. Instead of a potential barnburner between Josh Allen and Kyler Murray, it was defense stealing the show, limiting the usually dynamic young quarterbacks to zero game-breaking plays down the field for much of the game. The biggest offensive highlight of the first half landed in the first quarter, when Bills wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie took a fake reverse and threw it back to Allen for an eventual touchdown scamper. The trickery gave the Bills an early lead they maintained at halftime, as Murray tried desperately to find an opening for a big play in the face of a relentless pass rush that also contained him on the ground early.
Murray eventually would break through as the second half rolled along, but the Bills defense left it all on the field with key stops late in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately for Buffalo, Allen turned into a mistake machine when they needed him most, and that was ultimately their demise in the desert.
Despite losing starting tight end Darrell Daniels and starting nose tackle Corey Peters to injury -- both carted off ahead of halftime -- the Cardinals found a way to get the win and are now neck and neck with rival Seattle Seahawks for the lead in the NFC West. The Bills, however, have now come back down to Earth just a bit more, having just lost to a magical Murray game-winning toss to Hopkins.
Why the Cardinals won
Football is 60 minutes long, not 59 minutes and 59 seconds.
It took nearly the entire clock for Arizona to figure out how to break through the wall the Bills defense presented in the first half and into the third quarter, but figure it out they most certainly did. Murray came alive in the second half, at one point leading both teams in rushing and in rushing touchdowns, seemingly gassing Buffalo's defensive unit in the process. Kudos to the Bills for clamping back down on key drives in the fourth quarter, but nothing would deter Murray from trying to will his team to victory. With the odds completely against him and only half a minute remaining in the game, the former Rookie of the Year did just enough to move the Cardinals' offense in position for what would happen next.
He'd take the snap with only 11 seconds left to play, with no timeouts, under duress as he ran full speed to his left (he's right-handed, by the way), and deliver a Hail Mary that only one person on the field had the talent to catch. That person was DeAndre Hopkins who, after a quiet first half, finished with 127 receiving yards and a walk-off touchdown that will never be forgotten by either team.
The Bills defense did all it could, but eventually had nothing left in a game that also forced them to try and overcome two interceptions from Josh Allen -- with Patrick Peterson and Dre Kirkpatrick making Allen pay big for throwing ill-advised passes.
Why the Bills lost
Too many mistakes, in a contest where they couldn't afford it, considering the who and the where.
Going against Murray any place on Earth is a daunting enough task for any defense, but to do so in Arizona makes it that much more so. Still, the Bills defense was exceptional for much of the game, but the aforementioned giveaways by Allen were ultimately their undoing. In what was close contest throughout, the seven points scored off of Allen's errors gave the Cardinals a chance at stealing the win in the end, escaping with a two-point victory. Allen's touchdown toss to Diggs over Peterson was as clutch as you'll find, as was his timely throws to an athletic and determined Cole Beasley on that drive, but the reality is the Bills had control for most of the game and only truly began to lose momentum when Allen got messy with the ball.
There were two other drops by Peterson that could've led to Allen having a four-interception day. What also torpedoed the Bills was an unwillingness to give the run game a bit more of a showing in the light of a lead, seeing Allen struggling with his decision-making, and knowing time of possession is the 12th defender against Murray.
Instead, they allowed Allen to throw 49 times on the road -- against an opportunistic secondary, no less -- and must now live with the consequences. This was a loss that didn't have to happen to Buffalo, but in several ways, they earned it.
Some players are built different, and Murray falls into that category. Having been bottled up for much of the game, he began gashing a fatigued Bills defense and this 15-yard touchdown run gave the Cardinals their first lead since the first quarter, and provided Arizona with all the belief they needed to set up for a magical finish.
Murray is a wizard.
Play of the Game
There can only be one, and this is IT:
The reigning Super Bowl MVP reacts
"DeAndre Hopkins is a monster man!!!" - Patrick Mahomes on Twitter
The Cardinals will now try to complete a 2020 sweep of the 6-3 Seahawks, while the Bills take the loss into the bye week and try to prep for a bounce back in Week 12 against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Catch all the highlights and action from you might've missed in the live blog below.