The Arizona Cardinals suffered a very disappointing 19-16 overtime loss to the Buffalo Bills yesterday at University of Phoenix Stadium. A win would have lifted the Red Birds into sole possession of first place in the NFC West – thanks to the Giants dominant victory over the 49ers. Arizona's Report Card for Week Six is in. Let's take a look:
Despite some fine performances from Larry Fitzgerald (six receptions, 93 yards, 1 TD) and William Powell (13 carries for 70 yards), the Cardinals still only managed to score 16 points against a team that entered the game allowing 35 points a game. Not good. That fact was not lost on Fitzgerald.
"Across the board I think we were happy with the way we ran the football, " the All-Pro wide receiver said via NFL.com at the post-game press conference. "You know, it's just the points. We have to score more points."
They sure do. Fitzgerald has now topped 10,000 career receiving yards, joining Randy Moss as the only two wide receivers in NFL history to top that mark under the age of 30. Kevin Kolb (14-26, 128 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) was sacked five more times – the last time it forced him out of the game late in the fourth quarter with a rib injury. He'll have an MRI today.
John Skelton, who had not played since Week One due to an ankle injury, showed a great deal of rust by going just 2 for 10 for 45 yards and a very poorly thrown ball that was intercepted in overtime by Buffalo's Jarius Byrd to set up Rian Lindell's game-winning field goal. Kolb gained 66 yards on five scrambles but LaRod Stephens-Howling disappointed with just 22 yards on 11 carries. The Bills also did a nice job shutting down Andre Roberts (two catches for 18 yards).
The Cardinals held Ryan Fitzpatrick to only 153 yards in the air and recorded two sacks, both by O'Brien Schofield. Patrick Peterson had another interception and William Gay recovered a fumble. Daryl Washington was his usual active self with a game-leading 12 tackles.
Arizona had trouble stopping C.J. Spiller (12 carries, 88 yards, 1 TD) but kept both Fred Jackson (83 yards from scrimmage) and Stevie Johnson (82 receiving yards) out of the end zone.
As usual, the Red Birds' defense kept them in the game. They always seem to. If they could just get some help from the offense…
Special Teams: B+
This would have been an A grade if Jay Feely made the 38-yard FG attempt (the ball was tipped by Buffalo's Alex Carrington) that would have won the game in regulation. Feely though did boot a team-record 61-yard field goal that would have been good from 65 yards away. That tied the game up at the time at 16-16 with 1:09 remaining. He added a pair of 49-yard field goals earlier in the contest.
Once again, punter Dave Zastudil was spectacular, averaging 51.8 yards on five punts, including one inside the 20. He's performed like a Pro Bowler all season.
Arizona's kickoff coverage held Buffalo's Brad Smith and Leodis McKelvin in check while Peterson averaged 12 yards on three punt returns. One of these weeks the second-year standout is finally going to break one all the way.
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