Bills flatten mistake-prone Cardinals for 1st win
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — On a day quarterback Carson Palmer threw four interceptions and safety Tyrann Mathieu couldn’t field a fumble and kicked the ball out of bounds, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians saved his bluntest critique on long snapper Kameron Canaday.
This, after all, wasn’t the first time a bad snap from Canaday has cost the Cardinals (1-2) three weeks into the season.
"Grow the hell up," Arians said following a 33-18 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. "It has nothing to do with anything but what’s between his ears."
Canaday’s latest blunder came in the third quarter with Arizona trailing 23-7 and kicker Chandler Catanzaro lining up to attempt a 32-yard field goal. Canaday’s snap sailed high and through the hands of holder Drew Butler. The ball was recovered by Buffalo safety Aaron Williams, who returned the fumble 53 yards for a touchdown.
Two weeks earlier, Canaday’s bad snap resulted in Catanzaro missing a 47-yard attempt wide left in the final minute of a 23-21 season-opening loss to New England.
Canaday had very little to say following the game.
"It’s tough," he said. "It was just high."
And when asked what Arians had told him, Canaday responded: "Nothing."
Whatever pride the Cardinals took in not turning the ball over in their first two games went out the window against Buffalo.
Palmer closed the game by throwing an interception on each of Arizona’s final four possessions. Three of the interceptions came when Arizona had the ball inside the Buffalo 30.
The costliest one came with 2:25 left and after Cardinals defensive tackle Corey Peters tackled running back LeSean McCoy for a safety to cut Buffalo’s lead to 33-18.
Three plays later, facing third-and-16 from the Buffalo 20, Palmer sailed a pass into the end zone that was easily picked off by Stephon Gilmore.
"Disappointed in myself and the way I played," said Palmer, who finished 26 of 50 for 287 yards and was sacked five times.
It marked the fifth time he’s thrown four interceptions in one game, and first since a 49-15 loss to Carolina in last season’s NFC championship game.
The miscues weren’t limited to offense and special teams.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Mathieu burst into the backfield and batted down quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s backward pass intended for Robert Woods. Mathieu, however, failed twice in attempting to scoop up the ball and instead kicked it out of bounds at the Arizona 40.
"Yeah, it’s frustrating. I’ve been making that play since I was 4 years old," Mathieu said. "But like I said, it was just one of those days. The ball just didn’t bounce our way at all."
The Cardinals entered the game with a NFL-leading seven takeaways — four interceptions and three fumble recoveries. They forced just one against Buffalo with Patrick Peterson intercepting Taylor.
"A lot of it was self-inflected," receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. "Our defense gave us some opportunities that we never ever capitalized on, unfortunately."
McCoy scored twice for the Bills, and quarterback Tyrod Taylor also scored on a 20-yard run at a time the Rex Ryan-coached Bills spent the past week taking the brunt of criticism after opening the season 0-2.
The win also came on the heels of Ryan firing offensive coordinator Greg Roman and replacing him with running backs coach Anthony Lynn.
McCoy scored on 24- and 5-yard runs, and finished with 110 yards rushing after combining for just 117 in his first two games. Taylor had 76 yards rushing, including a 49-yarder, the longest by a quarterback in team history.
And suddenly, the Bills’ offense started resembling the one that led the NFL in yards rushing last season.
"This is what we do. This is what we are built for," guard Richie Incognito said. "This is the way we were assembled in the offseason and it’s nice to see everything come to fruition."
The Cardinals combined for just 2 yards net offense and no first downs on their first five possessions.
David Johnson scored on 4- and 22-yard runs for Arizona.
Catanzaro was forced to take over the punting duties after Butler hurt his left ankle on the final play of the first quarter. Backed up in his own end zone, Catanzaro’s first punt traveled 47 yards.
He then shanked his next punt early in the third quarter. It traveled just 19 yards and bounced out of bounds at the Cardinals 47.
Arians called Butler’s ankle as being "severely sprained."
Catanzaro did hit a 60-yard field goal , the longest in a Bills home game. The previous record was Bills kicker Steve Christie hitting a 59-yarder in 1993.
Larry Fitzgerald finally made a catch in Orchard Park.
The Cardinals receiver extended the NFL’s longest active reception streak to 182 consecutive games with a 3-yard catch on a crossing pattern midway through the first quarter. Fitzgerald’s streak began during his rookie season and after he failed to make a catch in a 38-14 loss at the Bills on Oct. 31, 2004. It stands as the only game of his career he’s not had a reception. He finished with seven catches for 60 yards.
Injuries continue to hamper the Bills, who were down three starters. And that doesn’t include starting defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, who is suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, or defensive end Shaq Lawson (offseason shoulder surgery) and linebacker Reggie Ragland (torn knee in training camp).
Watkins has been bothered by a sore left foot he had surgically repaired in April. He then aggravated the injury when a teammate stepped on his foot during a walk-through last week. Also out were cornerback Ronald Darby (hamstring) and left tackle Cordy Glenn, who missed his second consecutive game after aggravating an injury to his left ankle.
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