Bills 19 vs. Cardinals 16: Final Game Grades and Analysis for Arizona
This is a game that the Cardinals should have easily won and there is a lot of blame to go around after this one.
Arizona fans should be embarrassed by their team's performance today. Get well soon Kevin Kolb.
Here are your final game grades and analysis.
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Final Grade: C+
When looking at Kevin Kolb’s performance, the positives greatly outweigh the negatives. He ran into just one sack and escaped a ton of them. He also missed less throws in almost a full game than John Skelton did in two minutes and overtime.
His stats were brutal today. He completed just 54 percent of his passes for 128 yards. One thing he did really well, though, was run the football, picking up 66 yards on five carries.
There are a couple of things that Kolb has to improve on, but this game really proved to me that he is the guy for the job.
Fourth Quarter: C
If the quarterback controversy had moved out of the spotlight even a bit, it is right back to being the most talked about topic. A miscommunication between Kolb and Powell resulted in Kolb having to take it himself. He would be brought down and left the game with what appears to be a rib injury. He made up for an interception with a couple of solid runs on the next drive.
Third Quarter: B-
Early in the quarter we saw flashbacks of 2011, when Kolb ran into a sack. They came back strong following that three and out, though. He would avoid pressure multiple times, running a couple of times and finding Rob Housler once to set up a third and short. He could have done a better job of leading Andre Roberts, but that ball still should have been caught.
Second Quarter: B
We saw a lot of the same at the start of the second quarter as we did in the first. Kolb was doing what he could to avoid pressure. As he was given more time and as plays with quicker routes were called, they started having success. He stepped up and made more throws than he missed.
First Quarter: C
There is only so much that Kevin Kolb can do. He had one play all quarter with a bit of time to throw and his pass was deflected. Even on his 24-yard completion to Michael Floyd, there was still pressure.
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Final Grade: D
There were some great individual performances from the offense today. William Powell made the most of his opportunity, rushing for 70 yards on 13 carries. Larry Fitzgerald became just the second player to hit 10,000 receiving yards before the age of 30.
He caught six passes and had the Cardinals only touchdown of the game. This translates into $11,000 donated to charity.
Putting individual performances aside, the offense scored just 16 points against a defense that had allowed 97 points in its previous two games.
There are a few words for this kind of performance, but none of them are appropriate.
Fourth Quarter: D+
I said it in the third quarter and I will say it again... three points a quarter is not enough. Powell had a few more great runs, but back-to-back penalties cost them. A delay of game on Reagan Maui’a and a false start on D’Anthony Batiste killed a drive that was looking very promising.
Third Quarter: C-
William Powell continued to have success on the ground and it is great to see Housler getting involved. The offensive line wasn’t looking bad early in the quarter, but as soon as I complemented them, they went back to their old ways. Three points a quarter is not enough.
Second Quarter: C+
This offense did have a three and out early in the quarter, but looked a ton better than they did in the first. William Powell is making his presence felt and there are a lot of different players getting involved. Larry Fitzgerald gave the Cardinals the lead with his first touchdown catch of the month. For those of you counting, that is six points for Arizona and $6,000 to charity.
First Quarter: D-
A safety is about as bad as it gets for an offense. This offensive line continues to struggle and the running game wasn’t any better. They put up three points, but you can thank the defense for that. On a positive note, it is nice to see Michael Floyd getting involved.
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Final Grade: B
It is not the same performance we are used to seeing, but the defense put Arizona in a position to win again.
Taking away the final field goal (set up by the interception) and the safety, this unit allowed 14 points. It is a sad day when this does not win you a football game.
There were also some great individual performances in this game. Daryl Washington had 14 tackles and a forced fumble, Patrick Peterson had an interception and O’Brien Schofield had two sacks to go along with seven tackles.
Fourth Quarter: A-
The defense was allowing Buffalo to drive down the field and it was looking like the game was over. That was until they capitalized on a huge mistake from Brad Smith. Patrick Peterson recorded his third interception of the year. Two of those have come in the end zone. This was a huge play for a defense that was tired and struggling at the time.
Third Quarter: D+
You could make the argument that this was the worst quarter of the season for the Cardinals defense. They gave up a couple of first downs early in the quarter and looked silly trying to stop Brad Smith and CJ Spiller. Not a good quarter for the defense.
Second Quarter: A+
After struggling a bit in the opening quarter, this defense was outstanding in the second. They forced three Buffalo three and outs and O’Brien Schofield recorded a sack on the final play of the half. The Bills offense put up a goose egg this quarter.
First Quarter: B-
The defense started off very well as Daryl Washington stripped Fred Jackson on the first play of the game. From there it went downhill. They allowed the Bills to get good field position and pin the offense deep. This resulted in a safety. The defense then gave up touchdown.
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Final Grade: A-
There is absolutely no way this game should be pinned on Jay Feely. Sure, he missed the game-winning field goal, but he shouldn’t have been in that position to begin with.
Furthermore, he had already hit three field goals on the day of over 45 yards including a 61-yard boot to tie the game.
In addition to a solid performance by Feely, Dave Zastudil averaged almost 52 yards per punt today, with two touchbacks and one that pinned the Bills inside their 10-yard line.
Fourth Quarter: B+
Despite missing a 38-yard field goal, Feely also tied the game on a 61-yard kick that shouldn’t have even been attempted in the first place. Zastudil had a great punt in the quarter as well, pinning the Bills inside of their own 10.
Third Quarter: B
The special teams play was not nearly as exciting as it was in the second quarter, but they are getting the job done. Powell opened the half with a decent return and Feely kicked his second 49-yard field goal of the game.
Second Quarter: A
Zastudil had another nice punt in the second quarter and they also executed a pooch kick following the touchdown. Rashad Johnson made some noise as well, running for 24 yards on a fake punt on fourth down.
First Quarter: C+
Dave Zastudil and Jay Feely continue to play well. Zastudil had a 61-yard punt resulting in a touchback, while Feely scored the game’s first points with a 49-yard field goal. The punt coverage was less than stellar, however. They allowed a big return following the safety, giving the Bills great field position.
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Final Grade: C
The man that saved this grade from going under was the head coach himself, Ken Whisenhunt. There are probably some people who want him gone right now, but I saw a lot from him this game.
For a guy who is usually pretty quiet, he showed a ton of emotion today. From yelling at players to referees, he seemed more invested in this game than normal.
As for the rest of the staff, Russ Grimm has needed to go for a while now and Mike Miller is not a good offensive coordinator.
Arizona has needed a play caller since Todd Haley left for Kansas City and it would have been great to see him back this season.
Fourth Quarter: C+
Even though it was working, the Cardinals seemed to shy away from the stretch plays in the fourth quarter. What they were able to do, however, is give Kevin Kolb a bit of time on play action. If they can continue to establish the run early, then this offense may have something going for them.
Third Quarter: B-
After seeing five straight quarters of ugly play calling (dating back to Week 5), it seems like they are finally starting to figure things out. They are no longer setting the offense up for failure. They have stuck to what is working and should be commended for that.
Second Quarter: A
It seems that the more I yell at the TV about how bad the play calling is, the better it gets. There were no miscues defensively and the offensive side of the ball was much better. From screen to toss plays, there were a lot of things different from the first quarter. The fake punt decision was also very gutsy and they get huge props for that.
First Quarter: D+
On the defensive side of the ball, Patrick Peterson was matched up on a tight end for one play and Adrian Wilson was covered Stevie Johnson. This resulted in a Buffalo first down. They continue to run the ball up the middle. Stretch and toss plays need to be called.