Allen’s Bills face Murray’s Cardinals in showdown
Josh Allen and Kyler Murray have quickly established themselves as two of the most dynamic young quarterbacks in the NFL.
They have defeated opponents with their arms and legs while racking up impressive statistics this season. Allen’s Buffalo Bills head to Arizona to face Murray’s Cardinals on Sunday, with both teams challenging for their respective division titles.
The Bills (7-2) lead the Miami Dolphins by 1 1/2 games in the AFC East, while the Cardinals (5-3) trail the Seattle Seahawks by one game in the NFC West.
Allen lit up the Seahawks’ secondary last week as Buffalo notched its most impressive victory of the season. He passed for 415 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for another score. The third-year QB has 19 passing touchdowns and five more on the ground.
“Josh is as talented of a player as you’ll see when you’re talking about arm strength and athleticism, being able to escape and move and make plays,” Arizona coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “He was awesome last Sunday. You watch that Seattle game, the ball hardly touched the ground.”
Allen’s passing touchdowns are just one shy of his career-best total from last season, when he played all 16 regular-season games.
“He’s continued to grow,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said. “He’s continued to put in the work, acknowledging that he’s not a finished product. That’s impressive. Even though he’s experienced success prior to this season, he stays committed to working his tail off to get better and improve.”
The addition of wide receiver Stefon Diggs has given Allen a true No. 1 receiver. Buffalo traded four draft picks, including a first-rounder, to Minnesota for Diggs. The sixth-year player has hauled in an NFL-best 63 passes for 813 yards, including nine receptions for 118 yards against the Seahawks.
“He’s brought legitimacy to that group, even more than we were before,” McDermott said. “He’s brought energy and a dog mentality to our offense and our football team.”
Murray has tossed 16 touchdown passes and rushed for eight more this season as the Cardinals have reached the 30-point mark four consecutive games. He accounted for four touchdowns in a 34-31 defeat to the Miami Dolphins last week, passing for 283 yards and rushing for 106.
“He’s a special player,” McDermott said. “They’ve scored the (sixth-most points per game) in the league, so they’re an explosive offense and we’ve got to be on our game defensively.”
Arizona also traded for a star receiver during the offseason, bringing in DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Texans. Christian Kirk is emerging as a quality second receiver, scoring five touchdowns in the last three games.
“The biggest deal with him was just staying healthy. He’s been able to put together consistent weeks,” Kingsbury said of Kirk. “He and Kyler obviously have a good rapport and he’s made some big plays.”
Hopkins only caught three passes against the Dolphins, but he’s within striking distance of Diggs for the league lead with 60 receptions.
The Bills had a number of players sit out Wednesday’s practice, including offensive linemen Cody Ford and Brian Winters and cornerback Tre’Davious White.
Safeties Deionte Thompson and Budda Baker and defensive linemen Leki Fotu and Jordan Phillips were among the players missing from Cardinals practice.
–Field Level Media