The Arizona Cardinals, one of the league's most surprising teams this season, hosted the Buffalo Bills on Sunday afternoon. The Cardinals came into the match-up with a 4-1 record, while the Bills were at a below average 2-3 record.
Arizona wanted this win for a lot of reasons, but most importantly, they wanted to keep up their superb performance so that they could compete with the established 49ers and young and versatile Seahawks, both being division rivals. And the Bills, well, they needed to get back on track after being slaughtered by the San Francisco 49ers 45-3 last week. So, either way, this game was important for both teams.
And with that, the game was played. Back and forth they went, and the game was closer than ever. The Bills ended up edging out the Cardinals in overtime, with Rian Lindell kicking the game winning 25-yard field goal. It was a great game played by both Buffalo and Arizona, and there were a lot of things to take away from it. Since I can't list them all, here are the top five things that we learned from yesterday's game:
1. The Buffalo Bills have a lethal backfield: With Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller in the backfield as Buffalo's two running backs, it would be safe to say that the Bills are stacked at that position. Fred Jackson has established himself as a premiere tailback, as he has rushed for at least 900 yards each of the past three seasons.
C.J. Spiller has really exploded this season, rushing for over 450 yards and four touchdowns, through only six games. On Sunday, Jackson and Spiller both reached the end zone once, and they had over 140 yards rushing combined. Look for them to shred NFL defenses in the future.
2. Kevin Kolb is a mobile quarterback: On Sunday, either the Bills' pass rush was unbelievable, or the Cardinals' offensive line was garbage. Whatever the case, Kevin Kolb took a beating. He was constantly flushed out of the pocket and forced to make tough throws on the run or just throw it away. But Kolb didn't take that all game. He only ran the ball five times, but he racked up 66 yards on those carries! That's a 13.2 average and if you ask me, it's pretty good. Especially because a couple of those runs were on a 1st-and-20 that Kolb saw nobody open and ran for 15+ yards. Maybe he learned a thing or two from Michael Vick back in their Philadelphia days.
3. Jay Feely is confusing: Jay Feely, the Arizona Cardinals' kicker, is a proven veteran in this league. He's been around for quite some time, he's been a Pro Bowl alternate, he knows the NFL. He also knows a good amount about kicking. So when Jay Feely drilled the 61-yard field goal to tie the game up with just over a minute left in the game on Sunday, not many people were surprised. Well, I was. Just a little bit, I mean the kick was from 61 yards away! So with that kick, Arizona was riding high on confidence, and that's why they were speechless when Feely missed the game-winning 38-yard field goal in overtime. 38 yards? But he just hit a 61-yard kick! Interesting...
4. Larry Fitzgerald is still elite: This might sound obvious, but it's true. Fitzgerald reeled in six passes yesterday for a total of 93 yards, to compliment his touchdown reception. That puts him at 430 receiving yards for the season to go along with three touchdowns. Beyond the numbers, you'd have to watch the game to see just how spectacular Fitzgerald still is. Sure, he dominated in the years past and has had his bumps, but he's been one of the most consistent receivers the league has seen in a long time. He's only 29 years old and has a lot of life left in those legs. He can't be stopped, and defenses around the league know that.
5. The Buffalo Bills are a crummy football team: Yeah, they play in a division that is spearheaded by the legendary New England Patriots, but aside from that, what else can you say? The other two teams in in the AFC East are the media-crippled New York Jets and the young and inexperienced Miami Dolphins. The Bills have at least a decent shot at a wild card, and though their 3-3 record is tied for the division lead at the moment, it won't be for long. They allowed the Patriots to score over 30 straight points against them! 30! I mean at some point you have to gather yourself and get it together, and I'm waiting for when that moment will come for the Bills.
On Sunday, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for just above 150 yards, and he threw no touchdowns. Are you kidding me? There's no way that type of play, especially against a defense like the Cardinals' will get you anywhere. The Bills need to run the ball more to their two talented running backs, because Fitzpatrick is not quite the answer.