A few observations on the Buffalo Bills’ 32-30 loss to the Arizona Cardinals:
- The catch by DeAndre Hopkins on the game-winning Hail Mary was otherworldly. Leaping over three defenders, especially. But I’m still of the mindset that defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier needed to have more defensive backs near the goal line to knock that pass down. Usually when you see an opposing team try a Hail Mary pass, there are at least five or six – sometimes seven – defensive backs in the end zone ready to knock the pass down. If they didn’t have enough guys active in order to do so (which is entirely possible because of the injuries the Bills have endured on the back end), that would make sense. But still. There should have been more defenders back there on the final play.
- Speaking of Frazier, his unit’s woes continued. They allowed 217 rushing yards to Kyler Murray and company on 35 attempts – that’s more than six yards a clip – and what bothered me the most about it was that every time Arizona attempted a read-option play, Buffalo defenders would almost always take the running back and not stay on Murray. Murray would then keep the ball himself and have tons of room to run. It was frustrating and it was a continuation of the defensive struggles the team has had all year, despite the three sacks and two turnovers they created. Something needs to be done about this by McDermott and Frazier, or else the defense will be their downfall this season.
- Buffalo’s wide receivers were excellent throughout the day – Cole Beasley in particular. Stefon Diggs may be the team’s best wideout and John Brown is essential to the downfield passing game, but Beasley might be the team’s most important pass catcher. His ability to find holes in zone coverage, beat defenders in man coverage and consistently move the chains is second to none. There’s no telling where this offense might be without Beasley.
- It wasn’t Josh Allen’s best day at the office, nor was it his worst. His interceptions were egregious, but he also made some good decisions and the drive in the fourth quarter that ended in the touchdown to Diggs was efficient.
- Too many penalties were taken – especially on offense – to the point where it seemed as if Buffalo had reverted back to the form they had shown against Tennessee. It was an ugly and undisciplined second half.
- In between Beasley’s touchdown that increased the Bills’ lead to 23-9 and Diggs’ score late in the fourth quarter, the team ran 17 offensive plays in which they accumulated a grand total of 33 yards, punted three times, took four penalties for 35 yards and turned the ball over twice. The Bills could have put the game away on those five drives and shot themselves in the foot multiple times.