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Special Teams Again In Cardinals' Spotlight

Posted Sep 25, 2016

Notes: Butler hurting, Canaday struggling; Mathieu's near-recovery; Peterson's pick

Cardinals kicker Chandler Catanzaro and holder Drew Butler celebrate Catanzaro's 60-yard field goal Sunday.

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – Special teams is often the overlooked unit among the three phases of the game, but it was front and center for the Cardinals again Sunday.

From an injury to a bad snap to a long field goal, activity on those downs played a large role during the 33-18 loss to the Bills.

The most significant effect came from a high snap by long snapper Kameron Canaday on a field goal attempt in the third quarter. The ball bounced off holder Drew Butler’s hands and bounded backwards toward midfield.

Bills safety Aaron Williams scooped up the loose ball and returned it 53 yards for a touchdown to give Buffalo a commanding 30-7 lead. Coach Bruce Arians said Canaday is struggling mentally right now and has to “grow the hell up.” He also had a low snap on a potential game-winning field goal attempt in the opener.

Arians said the position will be re-evaluated on Monday.

“It ain’t got nothing to do with anything but between his ears,” Arians said.

Canaday was clearly shaken after the game. When asked how he was feeling, he said, “It’s tough.” Punter Drew Butler tried to offer him some encouragement after the mistake.

“We’ve all been there,” Butler said. “If you play in the NFL, everybody is going to be there at one point or another in their careers. For him, it’s happened earlier and he’s learning that lesson.”

Butler punted four times in the game but sprained his ankle midway through the contest, forcing kicker Chandler Catanzaro to take over the duties. Catanzaro punted two times for 66 yards.

“It was weird,” Catanzaro said. “I hadn’t done it in a game since high school. I tried to do the best I could.”

Butler didn’t know the extent of his injury, but if he is sidelined for a significant stretch the Cardinals would need a replacement. Arians said both the punter and long snapping positions will be evaluated this week.

Later in the game, Catanzaro nailed a 60-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 30-16 with 10:36 to play, but the Cardinals never got closer than that.

“It was a cool moment, but we lost the game,” Catanzaro said.


Safety Tyrann Mathieu had a golden chance to make his first big play of the season but booted it. He did a fantastic job of blowing up an option pitch in the backfield and had the fumble right in front of him.

Mathieu had designs of scooping the ball and returning it for a 65-yard touchdown to cut the team’s fourth-quarter deficit to seven, but accidentally kicked it out of bounds.

“The way I hit the ball, I was chasing it and I could never really get a good grip on it,” Mathieu said. “It was bouncing all over the place. And when I finally did have it in my hands, I don’t know if my foot or my knee hit it.”

Arians was fine with the decision-making process.

“Pick it up and score,” Arians said. “Don’t kick it out of bounds, though.”


Cornerback Patrick Peterson had one of the top individual plays on the young season when he picked off a Tyrod Taylor pass in the first quarter.

Taylor threw a deep pass down the sideline and Peterson saw it quickly. He was the only one in the area and made a spectacular one-handed catch while also tapping both feet in bounds.

“I saw the quarterback launch it, and I had to go back and get it because I don’t get many opportunities,” Peterson said. “I had to make the best of it, and what a catch it was.”


Safety Tony Jefferson will be on hand as the featured guest for this week's "Monday Nights at the Big Red Brew Haus" inside University of Phoenix Stadium. Doors open at 5 p.m.

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