The Buffalo Bills were one play away from a win over the Arizona Cardinals and an 8-2 start to the season Sunday.
Unfortunately for the Bills, that one play didn’t go their way.
“As young as this kid is, Kyler Murray, you expect the unexpected,” Pro Football Hall of Famer Ken Houston said on The DA Show. “It was just unbelievable.”
By now, you’ve probably seen Murray’s incredible Hail Mary fling to DeAndre Hopkins in the desert. Hopkins, a three-time first-team All Pro, hauled in a 43-yard prayer with three Bills draped all over him.
It was incredible.
“You’re supposed to knock the ball into the ground,” said Houston, a 12-time Pro Bowl safety. “We used to try to intercept it, [but] then you [tried to knock] it into the ground. Everybody’s gotten smart. You got three guys surrounding [Hopkins] and if you knock the ball into the ground . . . it’s a Hail Mary. That’s why they call it that.”
It was a wild and crazy game. Bills quarterback Josh Allen found Stefon Diggs for a 21-yard score to put Buffalo up 30-26 with 34 seconds to go. Murray, though, led the Cardinals 75 yards in four plays for the game-winner.
“Four people had a chance at the ball, and all hands were on the same level,” Houston said. “It’s still amazing to me. I thought the defense played it great, other than just knocking the ball down. You could probably throw that ball 100 more times, and they’d knock it down 99 out of 100. But on that one particular play, it was destiny. They believed more than the opposition, and they caught it.”
While Hopkins' catch was incredible, one must wonder if a Hail Mary is easier to convert nowadays relative to when Houston played.
“A defensive back, I don’t know how you play football anymore,” said Houston, who played in the NFL from 1967 to 1980. “It’s a clear advantage to the offensive receiver. So when you see it, you just hope . . . you won’t be on national TV like they were last night. It’s something that you dread. I feel good for the Cardinals, but I feel sorry for the [Bills]. But that’s what makes the game so great.”
A Bills win would have maintained their two-game cushion in the AFC East. The Miami Dolphins (6-3), however, have won five in a row and are now just one game out of first place.
“It’s devastating,” Houston said. “There are plays that you will remember for the rest of your life, and that will be one of them. That play won’t go away. I don’t know what you could possibly learn from that play because four guys are in position for the ball. They didn’t do anything wrong; they just didn’t hit the ball. But you just step back and you learn from it and you feel bad about it for a couple of days and you go on to next week. But that’s a game-changing, life-changing experience, and you will forever be known by that.”