This was supposed to be an easy win for the New England Patriots, even the most die hard Arizona Cardinals fans thought this game would be a blowout. It wasn’t a blowout, it wasn’t a hard fought Patriots victory, the Patriots didn’t even win on a game ending field goal, it was the Arizona Cardinals who went into Foxborough and won this football game, even after trying to hand it right back to the Patriots at the end.
The Cardinals came into this game with nothing to lose and everything to gain, and that is exactly how they played against the Patriots. While backup QB Kevin Kolb got the start with John Skelton sidelined, he actually looked like a quality QB on Sunday. Kolb completed 15 of 27 passes for 127 yards with 1 passing TD and 1 rushing as well, but the bigger key to his performance was zero turnovers. While the Cardinals offense was balanced, it was their defense that made the difference in this game. Using heavy blitzes up the middle, the Cardinals sacked Brady 4 times, but the pressure they put on him is what made the difference in this game. 2nd year CB Patrick Peterson also played a big part in this game both on defense and even on offense. Patterson saw action in a wildcat formation with 1 carry for 17 yards, and picked off Tom Brady in the 1st quarter. Even after a Ryan Williams fumble that nearly cost this team the upset, the defense stepped up and won this football game for the Cardinals.
Stephen Gostkowski was phenomenal for most of this game, you could say he was the sole reason this team was still in the game up until the 4th quarter. For the first 3 quarters of this game, Tom Brady and the Patriots offense was nonexistent to say the least. Brady had completed just 50% of his passes, while throwing zero TD’s and 1 INT. While Brady struggled, most of the blame should go on the offensive line. He was given little time to throw, leaving the team to use failed screen plays and short runs, that would always leave New England within FG range, where Gostkowski would convert. The Patriots running game was primarily ineffective, as was the entire Patriots team. Stevan Ridley took a step back from last week, but the biggest blow for this team may have been the loss of TE Aaron Hernandez. Hernandez rolled his ankle while trying to block on a screen play, and while X-Rays showed there was no broken bone, there is still uncertainty about how much time he will miss. The Patriots got it going in the 4th quarter, with Brady leading the team down the field completing first down after first down to Rob Gronkowski and Wes Welker. The Patriots narrowed the Cardinals lead to 2 after a Brady TD, but after failing to convert the 2 point conversion, Arizona had a chance to kill the clock. This game was over until on 3rd down, Cardinals RB Ryan Williams fumbled the ball at their own 35 and the Patriots recovered with 35 seconds left. It was a second chance for the Patriots, and inside the Cardinals 40 everyone believed the game was in hand. It almost was when Danny Woodhead took it to the house, but the play was called back on a phantom Rob Gronkowski holding call. While it was a momentum killer for the Patriots, they still had enough time for Gostkowski to kick a game winning 42 yard field goal. It wasn’t even close, Gostkowski missed wide left and the Patriots lost the game.
It was certainly an ugly game for the New England Patriots and Tom Brady. Their offensive line was exposed, and now as they prepare to take on the Baltimore Ravens, the issues they faced on Sunday will get even worse next week. The Patriots now have a week to get better, and while the “panic meter” should be very low right now, a loss next week could set things off in New England.
Tom Brady has never lost a home opener until today, now 10-1 in his career
After only registering 14 yards last week, Wes Welker bounced back with 95 receiving yards on Sunday
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