The Cardinals marched down the field methodically on the first drive of the game before stalling at the Bills’ 5-yard line to settle for a Zane Gonzalez chip shot.
What was expected to be a shootout went a similar way for much of the first half with Arizona and Buffalo getting surprising stops, making for a 16-9 Bills advantage at the break.
The Bills went ahead 7-3 with 6:31 in the first quarter when quarterback Josh Allen pitched the ball to receiver Isaiah McKenzie. He threw it back to Allen, who rumbled for a 12-yard touchdown catch.
From there, the kickers were front and center.
The Cardinals operated closer to the red zone with Gonzalez nailing that 23-yard kick on the opening drive. He later nailed a 42-yard field goal.
For the Bills, third-down stops by Arizona closer to midfield made way for 54-, 55- and 58-yard makes for kicker Tyler Bass.
The Cardinals looked set on getting into the red zone before the first half ended.
Down 13-6 at Buffalo’s 48-yard line, head coach Kliff Kingsbury went for it on 4th-and-5, and quarterback Kyler Murray hit tight end Dan Arnold streaking across the middle to pick up the first down.
Later, on a 3rd-and-13 play, Murray scrambled with five receivers downfield to narrowly get the first down at the Bills’ 6-yard line.
But after a Kenyan Drake run for three yards, two Murray passes were batted at the line of scrimmage. To cap the season-high 16-play drive, Gonzalez hit a 21-yard field goal to bring Arizona within 13-9 with 1:28 left in the second quarter.
A seven-play drive in the final 1:24 for the Bills — aided by a delay of game penalty on Arizona for calling a timeout after a charged injury timeout — ended with a 58-yard field goal by Bass at the end of the first half.