GLENDALE, Ariz. – If you continue to play with fire, eventually you are going to get burned. That’s exactly what happened to the Arizona Cardinals as the Buffalo Bills snapped Arizona’s eight-game home winning streak with a 19-16 overtime win.
“Just disappointing overall from the standpoint of not being able to close out a game,” Ken Whisenhunt said. “We have been so good at doing that, especially at home.”
The Cardinals offense got off to one of its typical slow starts. Buffalo outgained Arizona 84-14 in the first quarter. The first two series of the afternoon resulted in a three and out followed by a safety as Kevin Kolb held onto the ball too long.
The offense showed some life in the second quarter as Kolb directed a 10-play, 67 yard drive that end with a nine yard touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald to give Arizona a slim 10-9 lead at halftime.
Still, the Cardinals pass blocking continued cause problems.
Kolb was sacked five times for a total of 23 yards and continually had to escape the pressure and scramble for runs. Kolb was forced to leave the game in the fourth quarter with a rib injury after William Powell ran the wrong play.
“He had a mental error on that play,” Whisenhunt said. “It was supposed to be a draw to him.”
That gave John Skelton a chance at redemption. And he nearly delivered.
Trailing 16-13, Skelton completed a 17-yard pass on fourth down to Fitzgerald to put the Cardinals in Buffalo territory. Arizona failed to move the ball any further. Jay Feely hit a 61-yard field goal to tie the game with 1:14 left.
The Cardinals defense forced a three and out on the following possession and set up Feely for a game-winning 38-yard field goal, but the ball careened off the upright after it was tipped at the line.
“You go from the top of the world to feeling about as low as you can feel,” Feely said. “As a group, we have to make a 38-yard field goal.”
The Cardinals had their chances in overtime, but costly mistakes struck again. Jarius Byrd intercepted Sketon, Bryd’s second pick of the evening, and returned it 29 yards to the Arizona six. Two plays later, the Bills were celebrating a road victory.
“We have to make some plays earlier in the game so we aren’t living on the edge,” Whisenhunt said. “It didn’t go the way that we wanted it to, but we fought. We just didn’t execute.”
The Cardinals are now in a three-way tie for first place in the NFC West after the San Francisco 49ers lost and the Seattle Seahawks upset the New England Patriots. Arizona now enters the toughest part of their schedule. Five of the Cardinals next six opponents are .500 or better. A Green Bay win tonight at it will be six for six.
Kolb’s status for next week in Minnesota is uncertain for the time being, meaning the Cardinals quarterback shuffling could resume once again.