• AP

  • SHARE

DeAndre Hopkins knows that football fans might view his final, winning catch on Sunday as some sort of miracle. Even the players and coaches for the Arizona Cardinals couldn’t hide their disbelief when he jumped over three Buffalo defenders and came down with the ball.

But the three-time All-Pro insists there was no magic needed. Just skill.

“Two plus two equals four,” Hopkins said in his usual low-key delivery. “Go downfield. Throw it up.”

That’s exactly what the Cardinals did. Kyler Murray completed a stunning 43-yard desperation pass to Hopkins with 2 seconds left to lift Arizona to an improbable 32-30 victory over the Bills.

The catch was as sensational as the throw, which was quickly dubbed a “Hail Murray.”

The game appeared lost for the Cardinals until Murray rolled out to his left as the seconds ticked off the clock. He flung the ball toward the end zone, where Hopkins was waiting with three Buffalo defenders draped all over him.

“I knew when it left my hand it had a chance,” Murray said. “You play quarterback, you can tell the trajectory, the touch of the ball.”

Somehow, Hopkins ripped the ball away from the mass of bodies, and the Cardinals started a wild celebration in the end zone.

“I’m still kind of at a loss for words,” Arizona coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “What a phenomenal play.”

Josh Allen threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs with 34 seconds left that looked like it would win it for the Bills (7-3). But Murray and the Cardinals (6-3, tied for the NFC West lead) ended the Bills’ winning streak at three games with the improbable throw and catch.

It was a crazy ending to another entertaining Cardinals game, which usually have come down to the final seconds in recent weeks. Murray threw for 245 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Hopkins had seven catches for 127 yards – and he’ll remember the last one for a long, long time.

“It was on three people. They were in position. It was just a better catch by I,” Hopkins said.

The Cardinals trailed 23-9 midway through the third quarter but responded with two touchdown drives sandwiched around a field goal to take a 26-23 lead by the beginning of the fourth. Murray, wearing bright yellow cleats, ran for both of the touchdowns, including a 15-yard dash up the middle that gave Arizona its first lead of the day.

“He is playing at a ridiculous level,” Kingsbury said. “You have seen it the last few weeks after that first month. Offensively, we have really settled in. Mixing in tempo making great decisions whether it is with his feet, his arm. It is fun to watch. He’s making us right on a lot of plays.”

Allen was having a mediocre game until the late drive that lasted 12 plays and went 73 yards. The quarterback capped the series with a perfect throw to a diving Diggs, who finished with 10 catches for 93 yards. But it wasn’t enough for the Bills, who couldn’t stop Hopkins in the end zone.

“Yeah, I thought we guarded it pretty well,” Bills safety Jordan Poyer said. “We had three people around him . … It’s really not a whole lot of anything else to say, just got to find a way to get that ball out of his hands some way, somehow.”

Allen completed 32 of 49 passes for 284 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Cole Beasley had 11 catches for 109 yards and a touchdown.

“You’re not gonna win every game, but to lose this one the way we did — it hurts,” Allen said.

Buffalo pushed ahead 23-9 when Allen hit Beasley for a 22-yard touchdown after Arizona’s Kenyan Drake lost a fumble.

But the Cardinals responded with a nine-play, 85-yard drive that ended with Murray’s 1-yard touchdown run. Zane Gonzalez followed with a 45-yard field goal and Murray ran for a 15-yard score for the 26-23 lead.

Allen handed the ball off to Isaiah McKenzie, who then turned and threw it back to the quarterback, who ran 12 yards for Buffalo’s opening score. Allen is the 11th Buffalo player to catch a touchdown pass this season, a franchise record.

Tyler Bass added field goals from 58, 55 and 54 yards for a 16-9 halftime lead. The rookie’ 54-yarder bounced off the right upright before going through for three points. They were the three longest field goals of his short career.

The Cardinals had a frustrating first half with 206 total yards but zero touchdowns. Gonzalez made field goals from 23, 42 and 21 yards.

Steelers 36, Bengals 10

In Pittsburgh, Ben Roethlisberger threw for a season-high 333 yards and four touchdowns despite being forced to stay away from the team facility all week due to COVID-19 protocols.

Roethlisberger, one of four Steelers put on the COVID-19 list last Monday following contact tracing after tight end Vance McDonald tested positive for the coronavirus, completed 27 of 46 passes on a blustery afternoon at Heinz Field. Roethlisberger connected with Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster for touchdowns in the first half and found rookie Chase Claypool twice in the second half as Pittsburgh improved to 9-0.

Cincinnati rookie quarterback Joe Burrow struggled to generate any momentum behind a patchwork offensive line. Two weeks after a promising victory over Tennessee, the Bengals (2-6-1) were reminded how much work remains under second-year head coach Zac Taylor. Cincinnati went 0-for-13 on third down and Burrow spent much of the second half under duress.

Rams 23, Seahawks 16

In Inglewood, California, Jared Goff passed for 302 yards, Darious Williams made two interceptions and the Rams took a share of the NFC West lead with Arizona and Seattle.

Malcolm Brown rushed for two touchdowns and Darrell Henderson had another score as the Rams (6-3) returned from their bye and held the Seahawks to three points after halftime to win for the fifth time in the rivals’ past six meetings.

Saints 27, 49ers 13

In New Orleans, Drew Brees was pulled at halftime with a rib injury after passing for just 76 yards and one touchdown, but Alvin Kamara scored three times and the Saints’ defense largely stifled San Francisco (4-6).

Brees’ injury appeared to occur when defensive tackle Kentavius Street was called for a personal foul on a sack in which he got a clean shot at the 41-year-old quarterback and landed directly on top of him. Officials ruled Street violated the NFL’s “bodyweight rule,” which bans defenders from landing on a defenseless passer with all or most of their weight.

Brees missed just two plays after the hit and returned for a third-down pitchback to Kamara that resulted in a 2-yard touchdown that tied it at 10.

Patriots 23, Ravens 17

Dolphins 29, Chargers 21

Raiders 37, Broncos 12

Buccaneers 46, Panthers 23

Packers 24, Jaguars 20

Lions 30, Washington 27

Giants 27, Eagles 17

Browns 10, Texans 7

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

PHOTO GALLERY (CLICK TO ENLARGE)