We thought the Bills put it all together two weeks ago in the win against Miami. We were wrong. In the best, total team effort since week 2 last year the Bills defeated the Cardinals 38-14 in a game that was filled with the autumn elements that have become the norm in Western New York over the years.
Any good Bills fan knows that when the wind is gusting at 30 -35 mph into the tunnel end zone that the wind will play a factor. The Cardinals, coming to Buffalo from sunny Arizona, had lost 16 straight road games and weren't used to this weather. The Bills played the wind to perfection in the first quarter as they took over their first possession at the Cardinals 26 yard line after a punt. They were held out of the end zone by the league's best red zone defense and settled for a 3-0 lead.
That was one of the few times the offense would be held out of the end zone as they were very effective in the red zone the rest of the way. They used the wind to their advantage after their next defensive stop to start at their own 45 yard line. This time they were not going to be denied. Willis McGahee gave the Bills their first rushing touchdown in 37 quarters to complete a 4 play, 55 yard drive that he was the star of. McGahee had a 23 and 24 yard run on the drive before scoring from the five yard line to give the Bills a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter could have been their undoing since the Cardinals had the wind, and it looked for a while like that would be the case. The Cardinals drove down for a touchdown thanks to two bad penalties by the Bills. A roughing the passer call against Sam Adams gave the Cardinals a big lift even though the call was a terrible one as Adams didn't do anything wrong. Aaron Schobel spoiled a Ryan Denney fumble recovery with an offsides penalty. Those two breaks put the Cardinals in position to score on a four yard touchdown run to pull them within three at 10-7.
At that point, it looked to be a game, but Terrence McGee would have none of it, he returned the ensuing kickoff 87 yards for a score as the Bills may have gotten away with a hold by Josh Stamer on the play. The score may have deflated the sails of the Cardinals and the Bills were able to go into the locker room at halftime with a 17-7 lead.
It stayed that way into the fourth quarter and that was good news for the Bills as they had the wind in the final quarter to go along with the lead. It was time to put the game away, something the 2004 Bills have had trouble doing. They didn't on this day. Three straight possessions started deep in Arizona territory thanks in part to punt returns of 34 and 40 yards by Nate Clements. All three possessions resulted in Buffalo touchdowns to blow the game wide open.
Drew Bledsoe was quiet in this game, throwing for just 81 yards, but the weather dictated that style of play. He made his completions count as he threw touchdown pass of 8 yards to Eric Moulds and 12 yards to Tim Euhus to put the game away.
McGahee would put the icing on the cake with his second score of the game to give the Bills a 38-7 lead enroute to the big victory. It was a day where the Special teams played their best game since the Super Bowl years. The defense was dominating and not letting the Cardinals do anything, especially in the second half when they only had 95 yards. The offense didn't do that much, but they played clean, no turnovers, no sacks, and Bledsoe managed a good game. They even made the big plays in the fourth quarter to turn a close game into a rout.
They have now won two of three with the Jets coming to Buffalo next week. They could really turn their season around if they can beat a playoff contender, showing that the wins over the NFL also rans are no flukes. If they can play as well as they did today, and get the elements to their advantage once again, they could pick off the Jets.
Here are our exclusive gameballs and goats from the Bills win over the Cardinals: