With 34 seconds left in Buffalo’s Week 10 game om Sunday, the Bills took a 30-26 lead over the Arizona Cardinals and they looked to be heading to an 8-2 record… but the football Gods had other plans.
With 11 seconds remaining, Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray threw a prayer to the end zone, and somehow, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins managed to catch it for the miraculous touchdown with three Bills defenders around him. The catch gave the Cardinals the win and sent the Bills into their bye week stunned.
It goes without saying, players in Buffalo’s locker room was much like your living room. Guys were at a loss for words when describing whawt happened.
“It’s gonna be the only thing on our mind for the next two weeks,” quarterback Josh Allen told reporters.
But as the leader of the team, Allen attempted to find optimism at the moment.
“But I think it’s also a good thing. It makes us hungry. You’re not gonna win every game, but to lose this one the way we did… it hurts. But it’s fuel for the fire,” Allen said.
Bills safety Jordan Poyer, who was one of three defenders surrounding Hopkins on the final play, was more matter of fact with his assessment.
“Frustrating. Extremely disappointed,” Poyer said via video conference. “Somehow, someway, we gotta get that ball out of D-Hop’s hands… I thought we guarded it pretty well, we had three people around him. Just gotta find a way to make a play.”
Safety Micah Hyde, also in on the play, said that no one in the Bills locker room felt good after what went down.
“My reaction? Pissed,” Hyde said. “It felt like the ball was in the air for 10 minutes on the last play… he just beat us in the air, he timed it perfectly. That one hurts.”
The fact the Bills had just driven down the field to get the–what at the time appeared to be winning touchdown themselves– made this ending even tougher to swallow. Especially for the defense.
“It’s like a huge gut punch that took the wind out of you,” Bills defensive end, Jerry Hughes said after the game. “Certainly have been on the other side of things, but it sucks. It’s a huge gut punch because our offense executed a great drive in that situation.”
While this one hurts, the Bills are still 7-3 at the bye and remain in first place in the AFC East. Left tackle Dion Dawkins tried to keep the positives in mind.
“It was a Mike Tyson haymaker. It hurt,” Dawkins said. “But the good thing is, I know what it feels like and my teammates do too. I guarantee with the guys we have here, we’ll never have this feeling again.”
Head Coach Sean McDermott wrapped up things in a way most Bills fans can surely relate to.
“It hurts. It hurts. It hurts bad… but that game should not have come down to that play,” McDermott said. “At the end of the day, give them the credit… they made a special play.”
While not the way Buffalo wanted to enter their week off, the Bills now get some much needed time to rest and recover before kicking off the final stretch of six games.
No one wants to lose, but it’s how you respond to the losses that define who you are as a team. After a loss like this, we will certainly see what the Bills are made of.