AZ 32 BUF 30 Game Review

BigDavis75

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Process Overview:

I will start doing these recaps every week for the Cardinals games. I watch the game live on Sunday and then will be watching the coaches (all-22) footage of the game when it is made available during the week. I will first provide general thoughts on things I’d like to chat about and then provide individual game insights with time stamps and will be doing a heroes and goats section at the end in honor of K9. Hope you guys enjoy!


General Thoughts:

1. Kyler is unbelievably talented. A lot of members of this board understood this when he was drafted but the increase in his level of play from year one to year two has been incredible to watch. He absolutely still misses throws and can make bad decisions at times but he is still hanging up 30 a game and playing at an elite level despite these things. He still has room to throw and is the most exciting player in the league in my opinion. I don’t feel the Cardinals are ever out of a game with him at the helm and he has wiped out deficits against two very good teams in recent weeks.


2. I see Kliff getting a ton of criticism but I see him making some mistakes because he’s a young coach as opposed to fundamental problems with his approach. We are so used to stubborn coaches in Arizona but I don’t see that at all with Kliff. That being said, I’m unsure how he will eventually pan out where there is no doubt in my mind Kyler is a star. I see a few plays a game by the Cards that really catch my eye and a few situational things that drive me nuts as well as the number of penalties we take. We all want him to continue his progression and with all the negatives he is still calling an offense playing at an elite level.


3. There’s not much else to add on the last play of the game but I don’t think Kylers scramble and throw is getting enough credit, I still can’t believe he got that ball to the end zone. We need to give Hopkins more deep shots, I haven’t tape reviewed every game with the all-22 but I don’t think he’s doubled as much as one would think given his lack of deep targets. No one in the league can reliably cover him deep and he’s the best in the game at working the sideline. He skyed three exceptional secondary players to win the game on a hail mary….maybe throw him the damn ball!


4. Jalen Thompson looks absolutely great. Considering he had no offseason and was immediately hurt I am quite impressed. He has a great nose for the ball and is skilled in coverage. This may be the best safety duo I’ve ever seen for the Cardinals although Wilson and Rhodes were quite good.


5. I’m glad to see Simmons playing time go up of course but he needs to be out there more. The snap where he got Josh to the ground and then ran back upfield to make the tackle was one of the best defensive snaps I’ve ever seen. It looked like he was out of position a few times pre snap but I don’t expect this to be a recurring problem with how he was lauded for being a defensive genius. Hicks and Campbell both aren’t playing well.


6. The loss of Peters for the year is huge. In my opinion he’s better than Phillips and this leaves a huge hole against the run. I really hope the injury doesn’t affect him long term and that he stays with the squad. One small upside is getting more playing time for Fotu, Coley and Lawrence so hopefully they can perform.


7. I love how much they worked the run against the Bills, I’ve watched all of their games this year except the Seattle game and they are one of the worst run defenses in the league but still have an above average secondary. We had a good plan for attacking them.


8. I wasn’t happy to see Sweezy in for Murray as he has played well. Murray is the future at one of the guard spots and I don’t see a need to disrupt a good thing.


9. Both teams were in Nickel almost the entirety of the game, with Peters going down this is our best lineup and I’m a bit concerned about facing good running teams.


10. I thought the defense played well and that Vance called a good game. I get the Bills scored 30 but they have a strong offense and Josh had a good game outside of a couple bad throws. Peterson got beat straight up for two touchdowns and their kicker hit three 50 yarders while the Cards turned it over twice. Vance blitzed a ton and threw some exotic looks out there. I saw a lot of stunts and smart play from an injury ravaged front 7 and coverage looked pretty good across the board.


Game Notes:
14:50 - Cards start off with one of these awful bubble screens Kliff loves so much. Hopkins fumbled on this play two weeks ago and these plays often leave our receivers exposed to hits from linebackers and/or D lineman. I wish these plays would stop.


14:20 - Larry gets beat on his block by Johnson but Drake manages to break the arm tackle. I feel like we have seen so few broken tackles by our running backs this year so this one stood out to me.


13:20 - really nice play design here. Humpries and Pugh double the tackle and Daniels comes in motion to cut the DE. Chase breaks a tackle in the hole and takes it for a long gain. Hump and Pugh are really vibing together.


12:00 - nice down blocks by the right side and a good pull from Pugh. Pugh has really looked good in space as well. This is mostly speculation on my part but I think Sweezy has a noticeably different stance on run plays and pass plays. He sits very high on passes and sets up lower than anyone else on the line on runs. This could be a tell for defenses.


10:30 - Murray has a run option he keeps and only gets a couple but he seems to consistently be making the correct decision on these plays. He has been stopped in the backfield or short a few times but nearly every time the run by the RB wouldn’t have been viable either.


10:10 - Arnold looked to be wide open off the break but Kyler missed him and threw to a covered Hop out of the end zone. Klein was rushing free but I would want Kyler to look towards the space vacated by the blitzer there as Josh Allen did repeatedly against Murphy.


10:00 - the Bills decided to put Tre White on the stack side and have the rookie Jacksonn on Hop where White played Hop nearly every other snap. Defended very well but I like taking the shot there on third and goal.


9:50 - former Cardinal Andre Roberts is a very good returner.


9:20 - the Cardinals rush 5 and look to have Hicks and Campbell in a very strange double spy. Peterson gets beat by Diggs on a crossing route and Josh finds him. As most of you know, Allen has turned into quite the player, he’s like a more athletic prime Big Ben.


8:40 - a really nice down block by Gabriel Davis and Budda absolutely erases what looked like a decent run play.


8:00 - this was an awesome play by the Bills. The Cardinals did their zero down lineman arrangement and the Bills went to a quick screen to Brown. Buddha overran the play and Kirkpatrick and Thompson were blocked out of it. Nearly every Bills offensive lineman got free to assist downfield and Kirkpatrick ran down Brown from behind. It’s always nice seeing Smoke do well, I wish his time in Arizona didn’t end the way it did.


6:30 - cool gadget play by the Bills with McKenzie throwing to Allen. They used this same play against the Texans in the wild card game last year. Neither Baker or Kirkpatrick could make the play in space and Kennard tried chasing McKenzie. This type of play is very hard to defend but Kennard seems to lose contain or chase too often on things that appear to be going to the strong side.


5:50 - Drake goes the wrong way and neve receives the handoff. By the looks of the blocking it would have been a huge gain.


5:20 - Klein makes another good play running laterally and tackles Hop on the drag. This drag by Hop seems to be a favorite of Kliffs and he gets a big gain on it later.


4:30 - I can’t tell if this was the double spy play here again or if Hicks and Campbell were in man and took a while to realize their marks were in full protection, either way they had no impact on the play and Kirkpatrick gets beat one on one by Brown.


2:40 - we blitz Murphy out of the slot and Josh finds a man in the space he vacated. This happened a few times and Josh clearly was winning the chess game here. That being said we did get a hit here.


1:20 - zero DL defense and Simmons gets to Allen. He rolls out of the pocket and finds Brown on the sideline. I like how much pressure Vance was sending this game but Josh made us pay.


:30 - double ILB blitz works and Campbell stops the runner for a loss. Reminded me of the Dansby/D Wash days :(


2nd Quarter

14:30 - I’m not sure what was going on during this play. Reddick and Hicks were in zone and everyone else looked to be in man. Diggs goes wide open at the end of this play but thankfully Golden gets a hit which causes a bad throw from Josh that Peterson drops.


13:00 - back to back false starts followed by an overthrow from Kyler. This team gets way too many penalties.


12:10 - Hughes jumps offside and we don’t get a free play here which confused me a bit.


12:10 - double inside blitz from nickel by the Bills and Cole and Edmonds pick it up nicely. Kyler hits Arnold underneath for a big first down. Arnold had a good game and was getting a ton of space.


10:20 - Daniels misses a block on the toss with Hughes dipping under him and the play gets blown up.


10:00 - another screen for no yardage on second. A big reason why these fail is that Beachum and Sweezy aren’t athletic enough to get out in space. The next down Kyler has a good escape and he has Arnold open by what looked like a good bit but maybe the window wasn’t there or Kyler didn’t feel comfortable putting it over White. The defensive end came clea which looked like a mistake by Humphries.


8:40 - Murphy with another blitz but he turns his back to make contact with the blocking back which allows Josh a clear route upfield. Murphy had a really nice sack in the Seattle game but he had a couple very bad rushes this game.


7:30 - this was a really frustrating play. Bills only had two guys running routes past the LOS when Cardinals dropped four and Diggs ended up pretty open on a comeback.


6:20 - Cards run an interesting 2 deep where they drop Jalen and Kirkpatrick and have Budda playing man. Mckenzie catches the ball underneath and Budda makes one of his classic downhill tackles.


5:45 - the right side of the O Line dives at the legs of their defenders in what I assume is another one of our awful first down screens but the Bills have it covered so well Kyler doesn’t even attempt the throw. I cannot say this enough - stop running this play.


4:30 - Pugh has a really nice block to spring Drake after he breaks an arm tackle. I think this was Kenyan’s best game despite the fumble.


3:30 - Klein blew up Edmonds in pass pro and flushed Kyler out. It looked like Kirk got held on his route, it seemed like we weren’t getting any calls early.


3:00 - love going for fourth here, near midfield with only needing 5 yards. Arnold is the only open guy and Kyler finds him. The play looked like a double clear out to give Kyler a read between Fitz and Arnold at the sticks.


2:10 - huge hole for Chase where they run behind Pugh who gets to the second level with another excellent block.


2:00 - weird backfield setup where Maxx and Daniels are offset from Drake. Oliver pretty much single handedly breaks this play up by shooting the space vacated by a pulling Pugh.


1:40 - Kyler moves everyone over to the left side of the formation and the play is a slant for Hop. I think the Bills knew exactly what this play was because Hughes was ready to jump and bat the ball and Hyde floated over pre snap to the side Kyler motioned everyone off of. We narrowly avoid a pick by Poyer on the next play when Kyler was throwing to what looked like a covered Fitz. Walking away with three field goals was frustrating this half.


:50 - Peterson begins this play covering Diggs and then passes him off to Baker. Peterson is watching Josh the whole play and sage to the crossing route behind him and drops a pick he should have had. We were throwing a lot of different coverage looks at Josh this half, kudos to Vance.


:30 - Coley wins his matchup and, along with Reddick, flushes Josh out of the pocket. Campbell was right on the throw. The Cardinals had a lot of very strong plays on defense this half and the Bills kicker hit three 50 yarders, the last of which pissed me off pretty badly.


3rd Quarter

14:00 - Baker blitzes and Josh finds Beasley underneath. Hicks doing what he does routinely in zone coverage and not taking anything away from the QB.


13:40 - zone blitz where we drop Mauro and Blackson and Josh immediately finds Brown. I’m not sure if Josh is great against zone blitz or if the cat is out of the bag after how much Vance has been deploying it lately. I think another issue is that the drops off the snap are too deep by our shallow guys. On most of these plays everyone is open underneath at the start of their routes. Whatever it is, I hope it gets solved because the zone blitz was a huge reason for turning the Seattle game around.


13:00 - great coverage across the board on this play, I thought for sure Coley was going to get flagged for the hit on Josh but I love his effort here. I think he is a much better option than Mauro for snaps.


12:40 - well designed blitz where Golden immediately goes to the inside and Campbell gets a free run at Josh. Campbell seemed to be blitzing more this game.


12:20 - huge play by Peterson getting to Diggs on the screen. This was the exact same play Brown almost scored on in the first quarter.


12:00 - cool little special teams play where Budda was set up as gunner blocker and he moved in to set up as an extra rusher and Kirk dropped down to grab his gunner. Thuis caused Buffalo to take a delay of game. It’s a small thing but stuff like this adds up over the course of the year and is something Amos would never dream of.


11:30 - defense was playing too well so I guess we had to have a turnover on the first play of the drive.


11:10 - D line has a nice play against the run with Blackson getting held very obviously. I wonder if he will ever be lucky enough to draw a holding call.


10:00 - Peterson gets toasted here on the TD. It was man across the board with us dropping 7 and Hicks free underneath and Budda free deep. I saw some discussion about whether this was zone or man so I wanted to clear this up.


9:30 - Sweezy and Cole get beat but Williams and Drake are both there with timely blocks to allow Kyler to find Kirk who beat double coverage on the sideline.


9:10 - beautiful double clear out with a wide open Hop on a deep cross.


8:40 - hold by Sweezy negates a nice catch and run by Fitz.


7:00 - Pugh blocks Oliver a good 5 yards out of the play on this one. Running behind our left side is quickly developing into a strong aspect of the offense.


6:10 - Humphries sets up as our RT and Jones is in at LT on this play, blocking was great and Drake probably should have finished it.


5:50 - textbook option by Kyler - Hughes goes for Drake and Kyler goes in untouched. Nice down block by Humphries here too.


5:40 - We are in nickel but with Simmons as slot. They run strong side and Mauro gets blocked out of the play but Blackson comes over to make the tackle from the weak side DL position.


4:40 - this is the play where Reddick got hurt but he made a great play in space on Diggs. Reddick having a quiet game otherwise.


3:20 - really nice coverage by Hyde here on Fitz, it’s a shame we couldn’t get him going this game.


2:10 - big tackle by Reddick on Buffalo’s second consecutive run.


1:50 - Simmons is in for Campbell after the injury, it is wild how smooth he looks in zone drops. Offside by Blackson and Josh gets a big completion to Singletary. This play was negated by a block in the back by Buffalo. Murphy also decided to hug Josh instead of finishing his tackle on this play...bit of a misstep for both teams.


1:40 - Josh attempts a throw to the TE where Simmons is 20 yards downfield in his pocket. Peterson had sagged off his double team on dig to read Josh and pick the ball. Wish he got a real return out of it but we will take it.


1:30 - Kyler again makes the right read on the keeper and leaves Worley in the dust and makes a huge gain. I need to remind myself not to think of these plays as routine, no one else in the league can do this.


:10 - beautiful keeper by Kyler where he zips past the entire defense. Absolutely moving at a different speed.


:00 - we again blitz our nickel corner, Joseph this time, and Buffalo counters with a screen. Big tackle by Thompson to stop what could have been a big gain, he literally jump steps around Dawkins’ block.

4th Quarter

15:00 - Blackson rides his block to get a stop in the backfield, Joseph still in for Murphy. Blackson played pretty well overall this game.


14:30 - we drop 7 from the 0 DL formation and no one flashes out quickly enough to Beasly who gets the first. All night we got pretty good pressure on these types of plays but Josh was just faster and our zones were too soft off the snap, regardless of situation.


13:30 - good penetration by Mauro, Coley and Reddick clean it up from the strong side. Coley’s effort popped to me a number of times while watching the tape, hope he keeps it up.


13:10 - this is THE Simmons play - he had a really nice rush to get to Josh, his speed got him into the backfield a few times tonight. He then gets up, celebrates for a moment and then runs the play down to finish it. It was much funnier to watch this on the all-22 because I assumed he got right up but the time Singeltary’s cutback took allowed all of this to happen.


12:50 - Kirk had a nice return here but I hate watching him as a returner. The play he has later is simply abysmal.


12:40 - great blocking all across the line and Drake breaks another arm tackle, this is the guy we tagged. It looked like Maxx tweaked his ankle on this play.


9:20 - bad sequence of events on the interception. I saw a long discussion about which player should be responsible for this. How about both? Kyler made a bad throw that was low and behind Fitz and Fitzgerald got both hands on it and it bounced off his hands. Normally this is just an incompletion, absolute crap luck that it bounced right to their defender in a big spot in arguably our biggest game of the year. You just have to shake your head at that one.


9:00 - penalties start rolling in for Buffalo. I thought Coley got held on the play they called illegal procedure on.


8:50 - Reddick with a really nice rush and pressure and Coley draws the late hit, I’ll credit this one to Coley’s effort again as he will not give up on the QB in these spots (he beat a double here as well).


7:30 - I cannot overstate how bad this return was by Kirk. He lost 8 yards and put us inside our own 5.


4:40 - Lee doesn’t get the punt blocked and Sherfield draws a block in the back, good showing by our special teams.


4:20 - Kirkpatrick with a monstrous pick coming from a trailing position. Different players find ways to make huge plays on this team and it makes me so excited as a fan.


4:20 - I think Cole just missed Klein at the line here which causes instant pressure on Kyler so we get a throwaway.


4:10 - Klein gets picked up by Chase but beats the block to get hands on Kyler. This would have been a big gain and probably the ball game. As I’ve said, I have watched a lot of the Bills and I haven’t seen Klein play this well all season. Missing Milano has hurt them a ton but Klein stepped up this game. Second consecutive three and out and we don’t take a minute off the clock, awful. Nice play by Washington on the punt at least, we really shut Roberts down after his early return.


3:50 - pre snap confusion as they split Singletary out wide and Peterson had to swap with Hicks. It seemed like each time they ran this formation it confused our assignments, I have no idea why.


3:20 - good pressure by Reddick, I can’t believe he didn’t bring Josh down but good work by Moss sticking to his block. Unbelievable catch by Beasley next play.

3:00 - pass break up by Simmons but great coverage everywhere. Kirkpatrick goes out with an injury, looked lower body - maybe his foot again?


2:50 - Again confused pre snap. Baker, Hicks and Simmons are all wandering around. I’m not sure this is on Simmons because I have seen Hicks have to move pre snap multiple times this game just before the ball is snapped.


2:00 - big breakup by Baker. Peterson this time was on Moss split out wide with both of our ILBs over the center. Hicks, Simmons and Baker were all calling out pre snap in this spot. I understand I’m harping on this but it seems like half the back 8 had one idea what should happen when an RB was split out and the other half had a different idea.


1:20 - Beasley ends up beating Murphy again but Josh misses a wide open Moss who would have gotten about 40 yards. It looked to me like Hicks decided to double a crossing route and vacate Moss.


:40 - Peterson gets burned here. He seemed to have outside leverage as well when I assume you want to play inside with a single deep safety.


:20 - Kyler rolls out on a play that takes a very long time to conclude. Kyler had Kirk streaking open about 30 yards downfield but it would have been a tough one to hit.


:00 - KYLER TO HOPKINS UNBELIEVABLE!! What an amazing ending, this is why we do what we do as fans.


HEROES

Kyler

Hop

Pugh

Humphries

Kirkpatrick


GOATS

Peterson

Murphy

Mauro

Hicks






 

daves

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Great writeup @BigDavis75!

8:00 - this was an awesome play by the Bills. The Cardinals did their zero down lineman arrangement and the Bills went to a quick screen to Brown. Buddha overran the play and Kirkpatrick and Thompson were blocked out of it. Nearly every Bills offensive lineman got free to assist downfield and Kirkpatrick ran down Brown from behind.
Aha, watching live I didn't realize the Cards were in their 0-6-5 defense. I was wondering how the heck the Bills got all 5 O-linemen out in front of the screen for a huge gain.

Joseph has been using the 0-6-5 with a few twists on what the players do post-snap for several weeks now. It sure confused the Seahawks last time, but i was afraid teams would start figuring out how to exploit it. Obviously it's only used in 3rd and long, but still... audibling to a screen or QB draw could be deadly, and I fully expect Seattle to be ready for it tomorrow. Hopefully the Cards have some new twists and will be prepared with counter-moves to the inevitable opponent adjustments.

...dave
 

Cardsfaninlouky

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Great writeup @BigDavis75!


Aha, watching live I didn't realize the Cards were in their 0-6-5 defense. I was wondering how the heck the Bills got all 5 O-linemen out in front of the screen for a huge gain.

Joseph has been using the 0-6-5 with a few twists on what the players do post-snap for several weeks now. It sure confused the Seahawks last time, but i was afraid teams would start figuring out how to exploit it. Obviously it's only used in 3rd and long, but still... audibling to a screen or QB draw could be deadly, and I fully expect Seattle to be ready for it tomorrow. Hopefully the Cards have some new twists and will be prepared with counter-moves to the inevitable opponent adjustments.

...dave
VJ has a lot to be desired as our DC. Having said that, the adjustments he's made in the 2nd half against the Bills & "Shehawks" have been amazing. Loved the way in the 2nd half against Seattle that he showed pressure, like all out pressure, then post snap they all dropped into coverage except maybe one. That one play where Simmons got the INT was awesome. Seattle will try & exploit that front Thursday night for some big gains but their starting Center is in concussion protocol still & probably won't play? The Center is the QB of the OL & has to make the right reads & calls, advantage Arizona there. Carson is still out for them but I think their other RB will play? We'll see how it goes but I really like our chances. Their defense is dead last at 32 & we should be able to move the ball with ease. They are better against the run, 4th I believe but still not a great shut down rushing defense. I think Drake can find some lanes if our OL can hold their blocks? After you get behind Wagner & Wright, their secondary is horrible.
 

oaken1

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VJ has a lot to be desired as our DC. Having said that, the adjustments he's made in the 2nd half against the Bills & "Shehawks" have been amazing. Loved the way in the 2nd half against Seattle that he showed pressure, like all out pressure, then post snap they all dropped into coverage except maybe one. That one play where Simmons got the INT was awesome. Seattle will try & exploit that front Thursday night for some big gains but their starting Center is in concussion protocol still & probably won't play? The Center is the QB of the OL & has to make the right reads & calls, advantage Arizona there. Carson is still out for them but I think their other RB will play? We'll see how it goes but I really like our chances. Their defense is dead last at 32 & we should be able to move the ball with ease. They are better against the run, 4th I believe but still not a great shut down rushing defense. I think Drake can find some lanes if our OL can hold their blocks? After you get behind Wagner & Wright, their secondary is horrible.
That weak secondary is probably why they are rated so good against the run
 
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BigDavis75

BigDavis75

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Great writeup @BigDavis75!


Aha, watching live I didn't realize the Cards were in their 0-6-5 defense. I was wondering how the heck the Bills got all 5 O-linemen out in front of the screen for a huge gain.

Joseph has been using the 0-6-5 with a few twists on what the players do post-snap for several weeks now. It sure confused the Seahawks last time, but i was afraid teams would start figuring out how to exploit it. Obviously it's only used in 3rd and long, but still... audibling to a screen or QB draw could be deadly, and I fully expect Seattle to be ready for it tomorrow. Hopefully the Cards have some new twists and will be prepared with counter-moves to the inevitable opponent adjustments.

...dave

Agreed, I still want to run it a handful of times because it reliably gets pressure but I think our issue is how soft the zones are at the snap on this formation. Basically everyone is open early in the routes and the QB should be audibling to get the ball out quickly. Hopefully Vance tightens this up with how well Josh Allen did against it.
 
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