Josh Allen appeared to have won Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals with one of the NFL’s best throws of the day to take a late Buffalo Bills lead.
But Kyler Murray did him one better — much better.
With Arizona trailing, 30-26 at the Buffalo 43-yard line with 11 seconds remaining, Murray escaped pressure and heaved a Hail Mary into the end zone down the left sideline.
DeAndre Hopkins leapt through a trio of Bills defenders to make the grab and take the lead with 1 second remaining, stunning the Bills in a 32-30 Cardinals win.
Josh Allen’s huge throw for naught
Murray’s winner arrived just 33 seconds after Allen appeared to have delivered his own dagger for the Bills with a pinpoint 21-yard pass to Stefon Diggs in a tight window in the end zone.
That play concluded a 12-play, 78-yard drive that seemed to cap a comeback win for Buffalo. But Murray responded by delivering on his promise as one of the NFL’s most exciting young players with a throw that will make his and the NFL’s long-term highlight reel.
What was better — the catch or the throw?
Hopkins’ catch was perhaps even more spectacular than Murray’s play and further evidence that Arizona’s trade for the four-time All-Pro from the Houston Texans was one of the best moves of the NFL offseason.
Three Bills defenders — safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde, and All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White — had a chance at the ball, needing only to knock it to the ground. Hopkins, long lauded for the best hands in football, lived up to his reputation and demonstrated why the Cardinals awarded him with the big-money extension the Texans refused.
"It was on 3 people,” Hopkins said after the game. “They were in position. It was just a better catch by I."
The frantic finish capped a wild day in the desert that saw four lead changes and the Cardinals rally from a 23-9 third-quarter deficit only to see the Bills retake the lead in the game’s final minute.
Wild game, by the numbers
The Bills held Murray in check as a passer for most of the day, denying him a touchdown pass until the fateful final throw. Murray finished completing 22 of 32 attempts for 245 yards with the touchdown to Hopkins and an interception.
As he struggled through the air, Murray did damage with his feet, tallying 61 yards and two touchdowns on 11 rushes.
Hopkins was once again Murray’s top target, tallying seven catches for 127 yards and the score. Kenyan Drake returned from injury to add 100 yards on 16 carries.
Allen completed 32 of 49 passes for 284 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also led the Bills with 38 rushing yards on seven carries. Diggs caught 10 passes for 93 yards and the late touchdown, while Cole Beasley led the Bills with 11 catches for 109 yards and a score.
Big result for both teams
The Cardinals improved to 6-3 with the win to keep pace with the Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks in the hyper-competitive NFC West. The Rams beat the Seahawks on Sunday afternoon to ensure the three-way first-place tie.
The loss dropped the Bills to 7-3, still good enough for first place in the AFC East, but just a half-game ahead of the resurgent Miami Dolphins, who improved to 6-3 and 3-0 behind rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with a win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.
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