BUF-ARI grades: Bills pick apart Carson Palmer in win over Arizona

The Buffalo defense shined against Arizona in the Bills' Week 3 win.

| 9 months ago
(Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

(Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

BUF-ARI grades: Bills pick apart Carson Palmer in win over Arizona

Buffalo Bills 33, Arizona Cardinals 18

Here are the top-graded players and biggest takeaways from the Bills’ Week 3 win over the Cardinals.

Buffalo Bills

Quarterback Grade: Tyrod Taylor, 67.3

Taylor struggled when throwing the ball downfield and when under pressure. He was completed just 2-of-8 passes with an interception when targeting 20 or more yards downfield. When under pressure he completed just 2-of-8 passes for 5 yards and was sacked 4 times. He was steady in the shorter to intermediate areas completing 12 of his 15 attempts and Bills receivers’ three dropped passes didn’t do him any favors either.

Top offensive grades:

G John Miller, 77.6
TE Nick O’Leary 74.0
QB Tyrod Taylor, 67.3
HB LeSean McCoy, 67.1
T Jordan Mills, 61.2

Right side of line with almost perfect day in pass protection

Right guard John Miller and right tackle Jordan Mills both had stellar days in pass protection. Neither allowed a sack, hit or hurry on the day. For Jordan Mills, the Cardinals’ game was his third consecutive positively graded pass-blocking game.

LeSean McCoy also provided a boost to the Bills offense. His grade would have seen a boost if not for a costly fumble. He generated 77 of his 109 yards after contact, forced three missed tackles and averaged 6.8 total yards per attempt.

Top defensive grades:

CB Stephon Gilmore, 85.2
S Corey Graham, 83.1
DT Kyle Williams, 82.8
LB Preston Brown, 82.5
LB Zach Brown, 81.6

Secondary shines as a unit

Four different members of the Bills’ secondary graded out above 75 against the Cardinals, and a quick look at the stat sheet shows why. Buffalo held Carson Palmer under 300 yards despite throwing the ball 50 times. The Bills defense picked off four passes while knocking five more away, suffocating receivers with tight coverage all afternoon. Stephon Gilmore allowed just four catches on eight targets (including a fairly meaningless long pass late in the game) while nabbing two of those picks and a pass deflection, and Corey Graham tallied an interception and two pass deflections on his six targets. Aaron Williams just missed the cut of our top five defensive grades, but he too played well, not allowing any of the four passes thrown his way to be completed.

Arizona Cardinals

Quarterback grade: Carson Palmer, 31.6

Carson Palmer achieves quantity but not quality

Sometimes the numbers can lie, but with Palmer’s 35.9 QB rating they do anything but. While one of his four interceptions was a clear miscommunication with the receiver, he had several more dangerous passes that Bills’ defenders graciously let fall to the turf that easily could have upped his turnover count. Add to that a poor late game fumble that the Cards were lucky to recover and his complete ineffectiveness throwing deep (1-of-7 for 25 yards and 3 picks) and you have a day every bit as bad as his performance in last year’s championship game.


Top offensive grades:

WR Larry Fitzgerald, 75.8
HB David Johnson, 75.3
LG Mike Iupati, 74.3
WR Jaron Brown, 71.6
RT D.J. Humphries, 71.3

Shipley hinders offensive line’s performance

While free agent signings like Mike Iupati and Jared Veldheer helped solidify the left side of the line, Arizona has left some of the other positions fall by the wayside, and center A.Q. Shipley struggled against a solid Buffalo interior. His 28.1 run-blocking grade was primarily at the hands of Kyle Williams, though Shipley struggled at the second level as well, contributing to the Bills’ linebackers’ strong grades in run defense. A low snap late in the fourth was saved with a quick reaction by Palmer, though the quarterback was crushed for his effort by Jerry Hughes. While the Cards have one of the most talented groups of skill position players in the league, their weak points on the line could hinder this offense.

Top defensive grades:

LB Kevin Minter, 83.9
S Tony Jefferson, 83.5
CB Patrick Peterson, 82.4
DE Calais Campbell, 80.3
LB Chandler Jones, 80.2

Cardinals defense with strong performers in loss

There are a lot of familiar names listed at the top for the Cardinals. Patrick Peterson allowed just two catches on four targets and made a spectacular one-handed interception deep down the right sideline. Quarterbacks have just a 44.4 rating when targeting Peterson this season. Calais Campbell was stout against the run with two stops and also had a hurry and a batted pass. Chandler Jones added four hurries and a sack and in just three games has already surpassed his pass-rushing grade from a year ago.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Bills CB Stephon Gilmore, 85.2

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.

  • Mark Mccollough

    How does McCoy not score higher? It mentions the “costly fumble” which wasn’t costly at all as Buffalo recovered it within 1 yard of were the fumble occurred when McCoy was going down on the play. Unless it was expected that McCoy was going to latteral to a guy who would advance the ball, nothing was lost. So the fumble itself had zero impact on anything. Are you guys grading on the box score, or watching the actual game?

    • Thomas W

      I suppose they penalize all fumbles regardless of who recovers b/c it could have hurt the team. Recovery can be a crap shoot. Hurt-the-team can be difficult to judge. E.g., Taylor’s INT was actually a good punt, and Palmer’s 2nd INT was a blessing for Arizona. So they try not to judge that way.

    • crosseyedlemon

      It’s my understanding that “impact” is not a consideration when grading is conducted and that is probably a reasonable approach because to do so would result in much conjecture and confusion.
      Take for example a situation where a player makes a great punt return for a game winning touchdown only to have it nullified because a teammate committed a dumb penalty. The fact that the play winds up having zero impact shouldn’t preclude the returner earning a good grade for his effort.

  • crosseyedlemon

    Not sure how Carson with 4 INTs grades out almost twice as good as Fitz did with the Jets but they both need to improve dramatically so it’s probably a moot point.
    I’m wondering if Bill Doer will have the courage to make an appearance and explain (in the usual detail) why his beloved Cardinals weren’t ELITE against Buffalo.

    • Brandon Chester

      Lol I was curious about the same thing. In fact I clicked on this article particularly to see if he’s on here.