TEMPE, Ariz. -- Wide receiver Eric Moulds had a talk with Doug Flutie on the field before Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals. It was a brief conversation, but it gave Moulds an indication of what was to come from the Buffalo Bills quarterback.
"Doug told me that his arm felt great, and he felt like he would throw the ball well," Moulds said. "He went out and did just that."
Indeed. Flutie completed 21 of 32 passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-21 victory over the Arizona Cardinals at Sun Devil Stadium.
It was a far cry from a week ago, when Flutie was roundly criticized by fans and media for his performance in a 19-17 loss to the New York Giants at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
"It felt good," Flutie said. "I saw things very well and throwing the ball felt great."
"The difference between this week and last week is this much," continued Flutie, holding two fingers an inch apart. "It's a fine line between having a good day. Last week, up until that last drive where it was desperation, I was probably 15 of 28 for about 175 or 180 yards and one touchdown and one pick. Everybody gets so overexaggerated one way or the other. It kind of drives me crazy."
On Sunday night, it was the Cardinals' defense that went a little nuts trying to defend Flutie. He was especially deadly on third down, completing 8 of 10 passes for 106 yards, including a clutch 4-yard touchdown to tight end Jay Riemersma that gave the Bills a 24-14 lead with 3:01 left in the game.
Six third-down completions resulted in first downs and another set up a field goal. Flutie also beat the Cardinals with his feet. He ran for 25 yards, but 20 of them came on a pair of third-down scrambles.
"I thought Doug did an outstanding job," said Bills coach Wade Phillips. "They (Cardinals) threw a lot of blitzes at him and he handled it. In fact, I talked to (Arizona defensive coordinator) Dave McGinnis walking off the field and he said Doug did a good job against them."
The Cardinals used a zone blitz, where a defensive lineman falls back in coverage and a linebacker or defensive back rushes the passer.
Flutie said playing against that scheme is a matter of making the right reads.
"You could see it on film coming into the game," he said. "When we tried to spread them out, they played zone first and we just ripped that apart," he said. "So then they said, 'We just have to go after them.' They came out and did their zone blitzes, leaving two people out.
"The problem is when you get your hot reads, and if a guy pulls out into a hot (passing) lane, you're in trouble. So a lot of times, you want to throw quick."
The zone blitz did work against Flutie at times. He was sacked twice and threw a pair of ill-advised passes for interceptions.
Flutie grudgingly gave credit to cornerback Tom Knight, who got the second of the two picks.
"The interception was one of those where I went to the guy who was singled up, so a guy who was pulling out couldn't get in the way," Flutie said. "Peerless (Price) was one-on-one and the defensive back just broke on it. At the last second, I tried to throw the ball high and away over (Knight's) head and he got a hand on it, kept it in play and made the pick. Chalk one up for them."
But the mistakes were few and far between for Flutie on Sunday. Moulds wasn't surprised. Their pre-game talk let him know Flutie was ready. "Doug got into a rhythm early," Moulds said. "Usually when he gets in a rhythm early he is going to have a good game. He was pretty sharp tonight."