Bills Save Season with Win over Cardinals
The Buffalo Bills were on the ropes. The Bills defense had given up 97 points in the last two games and the free agent signing of Mario Williams was being questioned on talk radio. On Sunday, the Bills defeated the Arizona Cardinals 19-16 in an overtime game with an ending so bizarre, I am not sure how to explain it.
Fred Jackson scored a touchdown on a 1 yard run late in the third quarter to give the Bills a 16-13 lead that they took into the fourth quarter.
With just over 3:00 remaining in the game, and the Bills still leading by three, Brad Smith lined up in the wildcat formation and attempted to throw a knockout blow. The pass was intercepted by Patrick Peterson and the Cardinals had life.
Kevin Kolb lead the Cardinals to midfield and then was knocked out of the game. John Skelton was forced off the bench and into the game. Just two plays later, Skelton and the Cardinals faced a fourth and 11 with the game on the line. Skelton found Larry Fitzgerald for a game saving first down. The Cardinals failed to gain another yard and decided to attempt a 61 yard field goal to tie the game.
Cardinals kicker, Jay Feely, had never made a field goal longer than 55 yards. The Cardinals chances to tie the game were grim. Twitter was blowing up with questions of why the Cardinals would try such a long field goal. Feely stepped up to the ball and drilled it through the uprights. The kick would have been good from 65 yards and the Cardinals had tied the game with just over a minute remaining.
The Bills got the ball back but went three and out and were forced to punt the ball back to the Cardinals. The punt was a shank and the Cardinal took over at their own 47 yard line with plenty of time to give Feely a chance to win the game in regulation. Skelton found Larry Fitzgerald again, this time for 20 yards to the Bills 28. Feely was going to get a chance to win the game at the gun by kicking a 38 yard field goal, a chip shot compared to the 61 yard bomb he had just made to tie the game.
Feely’s kick never had a chance. The kick was an ugly knuckle ball that hit the upright and fell harmlessly to the ground. The game would go to overtime.
Bills coach Chan Gailey talked about the extreme wave of emotions after the game.
“You don’t think there is any way a guy is going to make a 61-yarder,” Gailey said, “and then you think for sure he is going to make the short one and he doesn’t.”
The Bills got the ball first in overtime and gained a few first downs before punting to the Cardinals. On the Cardinals third play in overtime, Skelton was intercepted by Jairus Byrd who retuned the ball all the way to the Cardinals six yard line.
Ryan Lindell easily made a 25 yard field goal to give the Bills the victory.
Many of the Bills players cited the decision to stay out west after their loss to the 49ers as a key factor in the Bills victory.
“We were away from the distractions and it was just us here in Arizona,” Byrd said. “It was a chance for us to soul search, get corrected what we needed to get corrected without the distractions of being at home. It was great for us mentally.”
- Mario Williams had his best game of the season recording 2 of the Bills 5 sacks
- Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington had 14 tackles, 12 of them were solo
- The announced attendance was 60,385 many of whom were dressed in Bills jerseys
- Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller both had touchdowns for the Bills
- Larry Fitzgerald scored his third touchdown of the season
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