OPINION: Three observations: Another poor third quarter hurts Bills in loss

Check out three observations from Buffalo's 32-30 loss to Arizona
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DeAndre Hopkins’ last-second game-winning touchdown on Sunday completely erased what would’ve been an impressive, thrilling victory for the Buffalo Bills over the Arizona Cardinals.

Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray connected with Hopkins in the end zone on a 43-yard bomb with two seconds left on the clock to push Arizona past the Buffalo, 32-30.

The loss snaps a three-game winning streak for the Bills, and they’ll now head into the bye week with a record of 7-3.

There is a lot Buffalo can take away from this game, positive and negative.

The Bills played a great first half and did a good job controlling Murray and limiting the high-powered Arizona offense.

However, another sluggish third quarter, a trend for Buffalo this season, put the Bills in a hole heading into the fourth quarter. Even Stefon Diggs’ 21-yard go-ahead touchdown catch with 34 seconds to go wasn’t enough to seal the victory.

The Bills will, unfortunately, have to think about this loss for two weeks. They’ll look to bounce back in Week 12 when they host the Los Angeles Chargers at Bills Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 29.

Here are three quick observations from the loss to the Cardinals on Sunday:

1.) Another poor performance in the third quarter

Allen and Bills head coach Sean McDermott both said after the game that it shouldn’t have even come down to the final play.

Buffalo held a 16-9 lead at halftime and led 23-9 early in the third quarter following a Cole Beasley touchdown reception.

Following Beasley’s score, the Cardinals completely turned the tables. Arizona scored 17 points on three consecutive drives, with Murray rushing for a pair of touchdowns.

After Beasley’s touchdown, Buffalo’s next two drives ended in a 12-yard punt from Corey Bojorquez, which led to a Cardinals field goal, and an Allen interception that set up Murray’s second rushing score just three plays later. Up until their final drive that ended in the Diggs touchdown, the Buffalo offense had nothing to show in the second half after Beasley’s score.

They punted three times and Allen was intercepted twice. So, one could certainly claim if the Bills cleaned up that third quarter just a little bit, this game’s result could’ve looked differently.

2.) Run defense's woes continue

Along with their play in third quarters this season, defending the run has also been a lingering issue for the Bills.

The defense did do a good job of limiting the offense, especially Murray, in the first half, holding Arizona to three field goals despite getting inside the Bills' 25-yard line on each of those drives. The Cardinals came into Sunday’s game with a 75% success rate in the red zone, good for fifth in the National Football League, but were 0-for-2 in the red zone in the first half against the Bills. Buffalo also did a good job getting pressure on Murray on third downs, with Arizona going just 5-for-13 on conversions.

But despite the Bills’ efforts, Arizona’s second-ranked rushing attack was still very effective. The Cardinals ran for 217 yards as a team. Kenyan Drake led the way with 100 yards on 16 carries, with Murray finishing with 61 yards on 11 touches. Chase Edmonds added 56 yards on eight carries as well.

Arizona’s 217 rushing yards are the second-most the Bills have given up to any opponent so far this season, trailing only Kansas City, who tallied 245 yards on the ground in a Week 6 victory over Buffalo.

3.) Tyler Bass may have found his groove

Let's not be solely negative following a loss that ended on a last-second Hail Mary touchdown.

Bills rookie kicker Tyler Bass was great in the first half. He made all three of his field goal attempts on Sunday, with each surpassing his previous career-best.

Bass nailed kicks from 54, 55 and then 58 yards, with the last one coming as time expired in the second quarter, giving the Bills a 16-9 lead to take to the locker room at halftime.

Since Bass’ 6-for-8 performance in the Bills’ 18-10 win over the New York Jets in Week 7, he’s made seven of his last eight field goal attempts over the last three games, with the only miss being a 61-yard kick just before halftime last week against the Seattle Seahawks.

Bass didn’t have any opportunities to attempt another field goal in the second half, but he kept the Bills ahead early with his leg in the first two quarters.

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