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Heartbreak in the Desert

Photo by Mark J. Rebilas, USA Today Sports

Written by Bobby Greco

A wild game in the desert heat of Arizona led to one of the most heartbreaking losses the Buffalo Bills have suffered in a long time. Sunday’s interconference battle between the Bills and Cardinals truly had it all. Both teams had ups and downs, but it was also a really hard-fought battle. Surprisingly for most of the game, the big story was the play of the defenses. However, we all know that is not what this game will be remembered for. In what will go down as one of the greatest catches in NFL history, Deandre Hopkins hauled in a last-second Hail Mary to give the Cardinals a big win and that was after a great Allen to Diggs go-ahead TD with 34 seconds left. To be honest, so much happened in this game, it’s actually difficult to know what parts to write about. I think both teams showed a ton of grit because there were multiple points for both teams that could have taken them out of the game and they both fought back to win the game… Unfortunately, Buffalo ran out of time and didn’t get the chance to respond.

I would say the Buffalo offense had an interesting game, it wasn’t a bad game and it wasn’t spectacular either. The Bills were able to drive the field pretty well all game but ended up kicking a lot of field goals. For that I will say, it was great to see rookie Tyler Bass finally come into his own. He was money for Buffalo yesterday and ended up setting a career-high three times, his longest being 59 yards. Allen had an up and down game. He was pretty efficient completing 65% of his passes for 284 yards and 2TD, but he had 2 interceptions that really cost them. The first INT Josh kind of tipped his hand and with a player with the caliber of Patrick Peterson, that is something he is going to see. Because of that, Peterson was able to leave his assignment and get into the passing lane for the pick. On Josh’s second INT there was really nothing different he could have done, it was just a fantastic play by Dre Kirkpatrick. Diggs and Beasley continued their strong seasons and both came up very clutch for the Bills offense. Beasley made a one-handed sideline catch, that I swear he must have grown four inches to grab and Diggs’ go-ahead TD goes without saying how big that was. That being said, the run game once again was almost nonexistent. I know I’m going to sound like a broken record here, but Buffalo please sign a fullback. I just don’t get it anymore, there is a clear weakness of the offense and it seems like they aren’t going to do anything about it. Arizona brought a lot of pressure, but the Bills O-Line played well for the most part. At the same time, there were some mistakes and they need to clean up the penalties.

Defensively, Buffalo came into this game undermanned due to COVID, and I think they rose to the occasion. 2020 6th round pick Dane Jackson got his first career start, filling the void for Levi Wallace and really proved that he belonged. He even ended the opening drive by shutting down a pass to Hopkins and he was covering him 1on1. He suffered a minor injury late in the 3rd quarter, which was when Arizona took their first lead. A.J. Klein filled in for Matt Milano again and though he had one of his better performances, there is just too big of a drop-off when it comes to pass coverage. With that being said, I think the coaching staff had a fantastic game plan. Besides a couple of plays throughout the game, the pass game wasn’t there for Arizona and the D-Line was getting good pressure on Kyler Murray. Buffalo’s defense did find out how quick and elusive Kyler was though because they did have a few missed tackles. That, unfortunately, would cost the Bills, because had they been making sure tackles, they would have prevented two touchdowns. Even in the loss, with the last drive included, I think that Buffalo had a really strong performance. When you look at the Hopkins TD, you will see Buffalo had him triple covered and couldn’t have played it any better. Unfortunately, Hopkins decided to flex his hands and he came down with the win.

Overall Buffalo played well and though it is a devastating loss, I am not at all discouraged by it. The team showed a championship mentality, by just fighting for the win by doing whatever it takes and it just didn’t go their way this time. Now they can take a well-deserved break this week for their bye, get healthy and come back ready to finish off the season winning a division title.

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