West Coast Shocker: Hail Murray, Full Of Kyler Murray To DeAndre
Hopkins: Cardinals 32 – Bills 30
Paul “MR NFL” Adamo
Written by Nathaniel Brown on 16 November 2020
The Bills never cease to amaze and disappoint over the last 30 years, and Sunday they
wrote another stupefying, mindboggling, head scratching loss into the annals of stinkers
that belong solely as property of the Buffalo Bills. But first an acknowledgement to the
opposition and their unique quarterback.
I have seen the quickest feet in the West and the NFL, and (his name is Kyler Murray)
they belong to one Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals. Yes, that includes Lamar
Jackson of the Ravens. There was a well-known 60’s cartoon, “Speedy Gonzalez”,
which was based in the Southwest and known for its famous line “Arriba, Arriba, Andale,
Andale”, which Speedy yelled out whenever he displayed his incredible running speed
and came to the rescue. Sunday, I kept hearing in the back of my mind “Arriba, Arriba,
etc. whenever Murray kept the ball on a spread option read or took off from the pocket
on an ad-libbed scramble. The Cardinals, who rarely huddle, mimicking the up-tempo
offenses displayed on college football Saturdays, moved quickly down the field on the
opening possession to the Bills five yard line, stalled, and settled for a field goal. 3-0.
The Bills again, as in almost every game this season, started slowly on defense. A well-
played, evenly played first half, highlighted by three Tyler Bass field goals, 54, 55 and
58 yards as the Bills lead 16-9 at the half. Not allowing an Arizona touchdown in the
first 30 minutes the Bills defense was disciplined and in position for the most part,
containing Murray but still very susceptible to giving up rushing yardage. The Bills
scored a on all four of their first half possessions. Josh Allen caught a 12 yard
touchdown pass from Isiah McKenzie, trickeration, a well-timed called gadget play after
the Cardinals first possession. Allen’s second touchdown catch after the playoff game
against Houston last season.
A 16-9 halftime Bills lead with both Allen 11/18, 109 yards and Murray 13/19, 102 yards,
effective, not spectacular, big yardage and scoring plays were minimal and the
expected high scoring shootout was kept in check until the second half. Chasing Kyler
Murray in the first half usually tires defensive fronts in the second half and that is when
Murray is most effective. The Bills offense scored midway in the third quarter to push
the Bills lead to 14 points, 23-9 as Cole Beasley caught a 22-yard touchdown strike
from Allen, set up by the Cardinals RB Kenyan Drake fumble giving the Bills the balls on
a short field, 36 yard line. Both Cole Beasley and Stefon Diggs had big games and John
Brown made some plays, with Beasley’s 11 catches (9.9 avg.) for 109 yards and Diggs
10 grabs (9.3 avg.) for 93 yards, and Brown 6 catches, 72 yards (12 avg,) They have
established themselves and one of the best trios in the league. Brown’s chronic injured
knee has kept him from even better numbers.
9:52 of the third quarter, trailing 23-9 the Cardinals scored 17 unanswered points as
Murray very much resembling a college spread option quarterback sparked the
comeback on touchdown runs of 1-yard and 15-yards. The NFL offenses used today,
the spread option schemes, are the college offenses we see every Saturday so the
Lamar Jackson’s and Kyler Murray’s, Daniel Jones and Justin Herbert’s etc., step right
into offenses as rookies seamlessly. No learning curve needed, as the difference
between the college and pro game offensively that was once so pronounced is now
gone. The Cardinals took the lead 26-23 with 1:08 left in the third quarter.
Allen had two second half interceptions, the Bills had 9 penalties for 69 yards (drive
killers) and Corey Bojorquez’s Bills had a 12 yard punt; all contributed to the Cardinals
comeback. Before Josh Allen regained his poise and engineered what looked to be the
winning drive, 12 plays, 78 yards and a bigtime diving end zone reception by Stefon
Diggs for 21-yards, the Bills had five possessions; three punts and the two Allen picks.
The Bills scored with 39 seconds in the game, 39 seconds for Kyler Murray to drive 75
yards and complete a 43- yard HAIL MURRAY, to DeAndre Hopkins, you won’t see a
better effort to outjump and take the ball away from three defenders, leaving 2
seconds on the clock. You can question the defensive strategy of the Bills, not
pressing the receivers at the line and not defending the end zone in front of the Cardinal
receivers. But the Bills blew a 14 point lead, gave up more than 30 points again and still
can’t defend the run as the Cardinals rushed for 217 yards. Josh Allen salvaged a bad
second half with that last drive. For all of Murray’s athleticism, he will never be known as
a great passer; Allen the better passer, evident Sunday, even with the two interceptions.
Allen’s stats, 32/48, 284 yards, 2 TD’s, 2 Int. Murray 22/32, 245 yards, 1 TD, 1 Int.
If the Bills don’t win the AFC East, this game will haunt them all off season. What a
difference a week can make in the NFL, as the Bills are now 7-3 and have their bye next
week. With both the Dolphins (6-3) and Patriots (4-5) winning Sunday, if they both win
next Sunday the Dolphins will be tied with the Bills, the Patriots two games behind with
six games to play.