The Buffalo Bills ended the Arizona Cardinals 8-game home winning streak, following a dramatic overtime game at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Bills seemed to correct their defensive woes of the past two weeks. After allowing 1200 total yards and 97 points in their previous two losses, the Bills held the Cardinals to 16 points.
Arizona helped by not capitalizing on opportunities. After Jay Feely kicked a 61-yard field goal to tie the game, a new career long, the Cardinals forced a punt and moved into Buffalo territory, only for Feely to miss a potential game winning 38-yard field goal. The Bills were successful rushing four and keeping both safeties deep guarding the pass, which opened up the running game for Arizona.
The Arizona offense recorded it’s first 300 total yard game of the season, highlighted by William Powell’s 70 yards on 13 carries, and Kevin Kolb’s 66 yards on 5 carries. Eventually, the Bills knocked Kolb out of the game in the 4th quarter, after one of Kolb’s multiple scrambles. John Skelton looked rusty in relief of Kolb, and aside from two big passes to Larry Fitzgerald, struggled with the pressure and situation. The Bills focused on shutting down the Arizona pass offense, and the Buffalo pass defense was the key to the game in the end. The Bills recorded 5 sacks and 2 interceptions on Arizona, and created the game winning field goal after Jarius Byrd’s interception on Skelton in overtime.
Buffalo’s defensive line finally showed up, as Mario Williams recorded two sacks. Williams was effectively getting pressure rushing from multiple spots, with the Cardinals Bobbie Massie having another rough game. Chris Kelsay was effective replacing Mark Anderson, recording 7 tackles and a sack. The Cardinals offensive line has now allowed 22 sacks in the last 3 games. Free Safety Jarius Byrd’s 2 interceptions were critical to the Bills success. Byrd was patrolling deep all game, and seemed to have a read on Arizona’s passing tendencies.
The Bills generated 306 total yards, and C.J. Spiller broke out of his meager slump, rushing for 88 yards on 12 carries and 22 yards on 4 receptions. Spiller had one of the Bills two critical touchdowns, and Fred Jackson had the other in an otherwise frustrating game for the veteran. Stevie Johnson had the Bills longest pass play, but was held to 82 yards on 6 receptions, facing superstar Patrick Peterson most of the game.
Buffalo did just enough to get the win. The Arizona defense allowed 17 of the Bills 19 points, as Buffalo recorded a safety early in the game. The Buffalo possession following the safety was the Bills first touchdown, starting the drive with good field possession after a 33-yard return by Leodis McKelvin. The Buffalo defense getting that safety essentially caused a 9-point swing in the game.
The Arizona defense was solid again. Daryl Washington had a career high 14 tackles, and caused the Bills fumble to start the game. Patrick Peterson had another interception, as the Cardinals secondary kept Ryan Fitzpatrick without a touchdown. Despite O'Brien Schofield's 2 sacks, the Cardinals seemed to struggle generating pressure when it had to, letting the Bills sustain long drives in critical times. The Arizona defense hasn't allowed 20 points yet this season, and although the Bills had 306 yards of offense, the Cardinals bent but didn't break, and gave the offense chances to win the game right until the end.
The Bills were motivated by their two previous embarrassing losses, and the Cardinals looked flat despite 9 days to prepare. Now the Cardinals are the ones with two losses to look back on, and motivate them for a tough stretch. Arizona prepares for a difficult 3 games, going to Minnesota next week, then Monday Night Football against the 49ers, and finally a trip to Lambeau Field to face the Packers. The Bills look to continue their momentum against the Titans at home next week. Then their bye week gives Buffalo an extra week to prepare to go to Reliant Stadium, and face one of the AFC’s best, the Houston Texans.846365