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Cardinals vs. Bills reaction: What could have been for Arizona

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A look back at the Cardinals game and the rest of NFL Week 6 in the weekly "Morning After" column.

Norm Hall - Getty Images

It was going to be Jay Feely's day.

Just about a minute earlier, Feely had drilled a 61-yard, game-tying field goal. There was no way this 38-yarder would provide an issue.


Feely's kick went off the upright and the Arizona Cardinals ended up losing to the Buffalo Bills 19-16 in overtime to drop to 4-2.

With a win against the Bills, who had been outscored 97-31 in their last two games, the Cards would be sitting in first place all by themselves. Instead, Coach Whisenhunt's squad is in a three-way tie with the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks for the lead in the NFC West.

The Cardinals' defense can't do everything by itself. For the fourth time in six games, Ray Horton's unit produced multiple turnovers. For the fifth time in six games, Mike Miller's unit failed to produce 21 points or more. On the season, the Cardinals are averaging 17 offensive points per game (I took out the James Sanders defensive TD against the Eagles).

In today's NFL, what the Cards have exhibited on offense through six games isn't going to cut it, especially with the next four games coming against the Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons. Not to mention, out of those games, the Niners game is the only one at University of Phoenix Stadium.

The offensive line still isn't blocking -- five sacks were allowed and the running backs averaged only 3.8 yards on 24 carries. Arizona's running numbers were inflated by 66 yards rushing from Kolb and a 24-yard fake punt run from Rashad Johnson. On the positive side, William Powell did impress with 13 carries for 70 yards.

The quarterback play is average to below average. Kevin Kolb and John Skelton continue to be what they are. They, at times, show an ability to move the offense and create plays, but too often they both miss open receivers and can't finish off drives. The offense set a poor tone to the game by being held to a field goal after Daryl Washington forced a fumble on the Bills' opening offensive play of the game and gave the Cards the ball in Buffalo territory.

Flaws that were exhibited through Arizona's 4-0 start were dealt with because they were finding ways to win games. But being outgained and outplayed to come away with wins isn't a sustainable pattern in the NFL. During their four-game winning streak, opponents totaled 1,342 yards compared to the Cards' to 1,056 yards.

On Sunday, the Cards actually outgained the Bills 332 to 306. I would argue they played better in this game than they did against the Dolphins and maybe even the Seahawks.

You can never take away a win from a team when the game clock strikes zero, but the score doesn't always tell the full story of the game. As long as the Cardinals offense continues to struggle, they will leave themselves vulnerable and be in positions to lose games they shouldn't.

When you're about to embark on a schedule featuring Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Roddy White, 17 points per game isn't going to cut it. That's asking too much from a defense, no matter how good they have proven to be.

It started off as 4-0, and now it's 4-2.

Will the Arizona Cardinals be able to straighten their issues out or is this season going to be remembered as the year the Cards got off to the quick start and flamed out?

They aren't at the panic point yet, but the level of concern has to be rising.

Western Hemisphere

The New York Giants physically manhandled the San Francisco 49ers. It didn't shock me that the Giants won; it was how they did it. In their 26-3 victory, New York ran for 149 yards on 37 carries, and San Francisco only ran the ball 17 times for 80 yards. Jim Harbaugh's team tried to be something they weren't and it came back to haunt them.

While the Cardinals offense seems to be stuck in the mud, the Seattle Seahawks offense finally showed growth. Seattle put down the New England Patriots 24-23 behind a 16-for-27, 293-yard, three TD and zero interception performance from Russell Wilson. Pete Carroll's crew being able to pull out a win without its running game in high gear was a big step forward.

St. Louis Rams dropped a hard-fought game to the Miami Dolphins 17-14. I haven't had the chance to watch this game yet, but the stats scream that St. Louis gave this game away. They outgained the Fins 462 yards to 192.

Extra Points

  1. The Atlanta Falcons are the only undefeated team left in the NFL at 6-0. I'm going to keep bringing it up because it can't be ignored: for the third straight week, they won a game they had no business winning. The Oakland Raiders lost the game, the Falcons didn't win it. If I were doing power rankings for the NFC, I would no doubt have the Giants, Packers and 49ers ranked ahead of Atlanta despite the Falcons having the better record. Currently, I have the Falcons in a tier with the Seahawks, Vikings and Bears. Atlanta should be better than those three teams, but they need to prove it by playing better.
  1. Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden is doing some impressive work. He has a makeshift receiving core group, but he is making the players around him better. You would like to see the complete percentage go up, only 55% on the season, and the turnovers need to get cut down. It's very early for this, but Cleveland is at the top of my list for worst to first next season.
  1. What is it going to take for people to recognize how good of a football coach Rex Ryan is? The Jets are 3-3 after they white-washed the Indianapolis Colts 35-9 Sunday afternoon at the Meadowlands. After losing their best player on each side of the ball, everyone wrote them off for dead, including myself. New York is playing New England next week for first place in the AFC East -- pretty incredible story.
  1. Andy Reid can win when he loses his starting quarterback. Andy Reid is showing he can't win when his offensive line is shredded by injuries. This doesn't get talked about enough when it comes to the Eagles because of Michael Vick's turnovers. They don't do a good job protecting the quarterback and their run game is in shambles. The last two weeks, LeSean McCoy has run for 75 yards on 30 carries.
  1. RG3 showed no ill effects of his concussion, leading the Redskins to an impressive win over the Vikings. The offensive talent on that field between him, Peterson and Harvin was wild. Fun game to watch.
  1. Aaron Rodgers, welcome back. You were missed.