Kyler Murray completed a stunning 43-yard desperation pass to DeAndre Hopkins with 2 seconds left to lift the Arizona Cardinals to a 32-30 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
The catch was as sensational as the throw.
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. Somehow, the three-time All-Pro came down with the ball, and the Cardinals started a wild celebration in the end zone.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Brady returns to old form as Buccaneers beat Panthers
Tom Brady threw for three touchdowns and scored on a run and running back Ronald Jones II burst free for a 98-yard touchdown scamper as the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers bounced back for a 46-23 victory against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday afternoon at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.
The Buccaneers (7-3), who racked up 544 yards of total offense, swept the season series from Carolina, both times following a loss to the New Orleans Saints by beating the Panthers.
Brady, who was coming off one the worst performances of his 21-year career with three interceptions in last Sunday night’s 38-3 home setback to New Orleans, was 28-for-39 for 341 yards.
The Panthers (3-7) lost their fifth consecutive game despite quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s two touchdown passes. He was 18-for-24 for 136 yards and an interception before exiting with a knee injury on a fourth-quarter sack with about five minutes left.
Jones finished with 192 rushing yards on 23 carries, sparking the team’s huge second half.
Dolphins win 5th in a row
Tua Tagovailoa tossed two touchdowns and improved to 3-0 as a starter in leading the host Miami Dolphins past the Los Angeles Chargers 29-21 on Sunday afternoon.
Miami (6-3) won its fifth straight game as Tagovailoa completed 15 of 25 passes for 169 yards and no interceptions.
Tagovailoa outdueled fellow rookie quarterback Justin Herbert, who was selected sixth in the 2020 NFL Draft — one spot after Tagovailoa.
The Chargers (2-7) are in last place in the AFC West, and Herbert is 1-7 as a starter. Herbert completed 20-of-32 for 187 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard came up with a game-changing interception in the fourth quarter. It was his fifth pick of the season, tied for the NFL lead.
Alex Smith makes 1st start since 2018
Alex Smith took another big step in his personal comeback.
His team, on the other hand, fell just short again after another late rally.
Smith’s first start since November 2018 nearly finished in storybook fashion when he threw for 390 yards and led Washington back from a 21-point third-quarter deficit. But the Detroit Lions ultimately prevailed 30-27 on Matt Prater’s 59-yard field goal on the final play. Smith completed a career-high 38 passes, but his team couldn’t completely overcome some missed opportunities in the first half.
Smith appeared twice in relief earlier this season, an inspiring return to the field after he endured a broken leg, 17 surgeries and a life-threatening infection. Detroit was up 24-3 on Sunday before Smith calmly led Washington back.
“I think that was the scary part — is how normal it felt,” Smith said. “Felt really normal; a little bit, I’ve got to pinch myself how lucky I am to feel that way.”
Now the question is whether Smith can guide Washington to a playoff spot, somehow still a possibility despite the team’s 2-7 record. NFC East-leading Philadelphia is only 3-5-1.
Washington trailed 20-3 last weekend against the New York Giants before Smith led another big comeback. That one came up short in a 23-20 loss.
Saints beat 49ers but lose Brees to injury
Drew Brees struggled to predict the long-term effects of a crushing hit by San Francisco defensive tackle Kentavius Street, who landed on top of the 41-year-old quarterback after de-cleating him with a clean shot.
Brees only knew that despite how effective he was on a touchdown drive at the end of the first half, his body wouldn’t let him continue beyond that on Sunday.
“When I came out in the second half and started throwing the ball (to warm up), it became really apparent that I wasn’t going to be effective,” Brees said. “I’m not sure what tomorrow holds, but you can know I’m going to do everything I can to be as effective as I possibly can for next week.”
The rest of the New Orleans Saints overcame Brees’ second-half absence for a 27-13 victory over the 49ers, using Alvin Kamara’s three touchdowns and a strong performance by their defence to secure their sixth straight victory.
But now it’s unclear who the starting quarterback will be when the Saints (7-2) host Atlanta next weekend.