The Cardinals did what most didn’t think they’d do: beat the Patriots at home, which they did in thrilling fashion, 20-18, after Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed a potential game winning field goal with seven seconds left.
The Cardinals are 2-0, and here’s my thoughts on the game and the win:
1. Arizona’s defense was rough and opportunistic when it came to countering anything Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw at them.
Brady’s first pass of the game was tipped by defensive end Darnell Dockett and intercepted by cornerback Patrick Peterson, setting the tone for the rest of the game.
Brady and the Patriots got their yardage, as you would expect them to, but the defense didn’t allow them to take it to the extreme, like they’ve done to teams in the past.
2. Kevin Kolb looked very good and quite poised in his first start in place of John Skelton.
Kolb’s numbers (15-27, 140 yards, one TD) weren’t spectacular, but they didn’t need to be. As long as Kolb ran the offense efficiently, limited his mistakes and put his team in a position to win, then Kolb did his job.
3. The running game was somewhat effective, although yards were hard to come by, as evidenced by their 3.18 yards per rush average.
The fact that they rushed the ball 33 times is a good sign. It shows that the team is committed to making the offense more balanced by trying to fire up the run game.
4. 60-39: Arizona won the battle for fewest penalty yards on Sunday. It was imperative that the Cardinals not beat themselves with useless penalties, which they did for the most part.
In order to beat New England, you have to be smarter at your game than they are at theirs. In this aspect, Arizona was.
This was a big win for the team and an even bigger confidence booster for Kolb. To take his team into a place where New England has never lost a season opener, and break that streak is huge for him.