49ers

McCoy, Bills hand Cardinals their second loss of the year

mccoy-bills-win.jpg

McCoy, Bills hand Cardinals their second loss of the year

BOX SCORE

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- LeSean McCoy scored twice and safety Aaron Williams returned a botched field-goal snap 53 yards for a touchdown in leading the Buffalo Bills to a 33-18 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor also scored on a 20-yard run at a time the Rex Ryan-coached Bills spent the past week taking the brunt of criticism after opening the season 0-2.

The win also came on the heels of Ryan firing offensive coordinator Greg Roman and replacing him with running backs coach Anthony Lynn.

McCoy scored on 24- and 5-yard runs, and finished with 110 yards rushing after combining for just 117 in his first two games. Taylor had 76 yards rushing, including a 49-yarder, the longest by a quarterback in team history.

Ryan's defense also bounced back after allowing 493 yards in 37-31 loss to the New York Jets on Sept. 15. The Bills limited Arizona to 348 yards and intercepted Carson Palmer on each of Arizona's final four possessions.

Stephon Gilmore had two interceptions.

Arizona (1-2) unraveled a week after a 40-7 win over Tampa Bay, and had a five-game road winning streak snapped going back to last season.

The Cardinals combined for just 2 yards net offense and no first downs on their first five possessions. Palmer finished 26 of 50 for 264 yards and was sacked five times.

David Johnson scored on 4- and 22-yard runs for Arizona.

The Bills took control in building a 30-7 lead on Williams' fumble return with 2:25 left in the third quarter.

With Chandler Catanzaro lining up to attempt a 32-yard field goal, Kameron Canaday's snap sailed high and through the hands of holder Drew Butler. Catanzaro missed in an attempt to fall on the ball, and the ball squirted loose. Catanzaro missed a last-minute field goal in the opener against New England because of a poor snap.

Trailing 30-16 midway through the fourth quarter, the Cardinals had a golden opportunity slip through their fingers.

Safety Tyrann Mathieu batted down quarterback Tyrod Taylor's backward pitch intended for Robert Woods for a fumble. Mathieu failed twice attempting to scoop up the ball and instead kicked it out of bounds into the Cardinals sideline.

The Bills' defense then secured the victory on Arizona's next possession, when Gilmore intercepted Palmer's pass up the left sideline intended for John Brown. The turnover led to Buffalo putting the game away with Dan Carpenter hitting a 45-yard field goal.

DOUBLE DUTY

Catanzaro was forced to take over the punting duties after Drew Butler hurt his left ankle on the final play of the first quarter. Backed up in his own end zone, Catanzaro's first punt traveled 47 yards.

He then shanked his next punt early in the third quarter. It traveled just 19 yards and bounced out of bounds at the Cardinals 47.

Catanzaro did hit a 60-yard field goal , the longest in a Bills home game. The previous record was Bills kicker Steve Christie hitting a 59-yarder in 1993.

FINALLY, FITZGERALD

Larry Fitzgerald finally made a catch in Orchard Park.

The Cardinals receiver extended the NFL's longest active reception streak to 182 consecutive games with a 3-yard catch on a crossing pattern midway through the first quarter. Fitzgerald's streak began during his rookie season and after he failed to make a catch in a 38-14 loss at the Bills on Oct. 31, 2004. It stands as the only game of his career he's not had a reception. He finished with seven catches for 60 yards.

DEPLETED BILLS

Injuries continue to hamper the Bills, who were down three starters. And that doesn't include starting defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, who is suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, or defensive end Shaq Lawson (offseason shoulder surgery) and linebacker Reggie Ragland (torn knee in training camp).

Watkins has been bothered by a sore left foot he had surgically repaired in April. He then aggravated the injury when a teammate stepped on his foot during a walk-through last week. Also out were cornerback Ronald Darby (hamstring) and left tackle Cordy Glenn, who missed his second consecutive game after aggravating an injury to his left ankle.

Kwon Alexander will fill Reuben Foster's void, John Lynch believes

Kwon Alexander will fill Reuben Foster's void, John Lynch believes

49ers general manager John Lynch acknowledged that he signed Kwon Alexander to fill the void left by former 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster, who was released last season. 

In an interview with 49ers.com, Lynch spoke about how he and his staff brought back several familiar faces to the linebackers room. He was also very frank about what the team lost in Foster as a player. 

“Let’s be honest,” Lynch said. “We had a void that we thought we had filled with Reuben Foster. Things transpired there. We had a void there and that stinks but you can’t just sit there and pout, you gotta say ‘OK, let’s do something.'

“We needed a dynamic football player at that position. It’s a very critical position in our scheme and this became the guy. Kwon became the guy that we wanted to be that guy.” 

Alexander has many of the same on-field characteristics as Foster. He’s known as a hard hitter who flies around the field, making players think twice about going across the middle. He may make some mistakes in the game, but his passion and heart are recognized by his teammates. 

“I think what stood out to us with Kwon,” Lynch said, “he’s a dynamic football player. He’s a tone setter. You need tone-setters on your defense. 

“I think he’s a guy that when you watch him, when you talk to people who played against him, people who played with him, he’s exactly that. His type of play running all over the field, hitting people, getting the ball, it’s contagious. We need that.” 

The 49ers' admiration for Alexander grew as they did more research on him. They understand it may take some time before he returns to 100 percent health.

[RELATED: Kwon Alexander overcame tragedy, adversity]

“The more we watched him the more we liked,” Lynch said. “We knew he was coming off an ACL injury but we got comfortable with the medical part and also got comfortable with 'Hey, we are going to wait as long as it takes.' This is a long-term investment. He’s doing very well in his rehab.” 

The staff ideally would like to see Alexander lined up next to Fred Warner, who had a stand-out rookie season. They also brought back Elijah Lee, special teams contributor Mark Nzeocha, and signed ex-Panther David Mayo to a two-year contract to fill out the linebackers room.

Top NFL draft prospect Josh Allen thinks he's best player available

Top NFL draft prospect Josh Allen thinks he's best player available

Josh Allen does not lack confidence.

The edge rusher out of Kentucky, who is linked to both the 49ers with the No. 2 pick and Raiders at No. 4 in next month's NFL draft, spoke highly of his abilities during his pro day Friday.

"You can just watch the film, watch the games," Allen told ESPN on Friday. "If you're talking about stats, I mean, I finished second in the nation in sacks, playing in the SEC, which doesn't throw the ball as much as other conferences.

"I'm physical. I played the whole season. I played every game. I'm healthy. I just think I'm the best edge rusher, the best pass rusher, the best overall player in this draft."

OK then.

Allen put up tremendous numbers in his senior season at Kentucky, totaling 17 sacks and 88 tackles, including 56 solo. The 49ers and Raiders both desperately need someone who can rush the quarterback, so Allen fits the mold for both teams.

Allen told NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco that he has scheduled pre-draft meetings with both the 49ers and the Raiders.

The latest speculation is that the 49ers will draft Ohio State edge rusher Nick Bosa with the No. 2 pick, as the Cardinals -- who own the No. 1 pick -- have been heavily linked to Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray. If both Bosa and Allen are available to the 49ers, GM John Lynch will have his pick of the two edge rushers.

[RELATED: Draft prospect Quinnen Williams dined with 49ers at IHOP]

The Raiders, meanwhile, have to wait until No. 4 to see if Allen is still available. If both the Cardinals and 49ers pass on the Kentucky standout, only the Jets at No. 3 would stand in their way of getting -- as Allen puts it -- "the best overall player in the draft."

Time will tell whether Allen lives up to his bold proclamation. But it seems as if the 49ers or Raiders would be lucky to find out.