Well I thought the New England Patriots would win their NFL home opener against the Arizona Cardinals. But the Patriots, who faced a tough Cardinal defense, could not beat the visitors. The final score was 20-18. It was tough pill to swallow as the Pats certainly had the better offense and a defense that played well. But that red zone defense of the Cardinals that has been so good over the years was good once again today. They were the major difference in the game.
The game started ominously for the Patriots as QB Tom Brady tossed an INT on New England’s first play of the game. Still, during the game the Pats managed to dominate in every way except on the scoreboard. The problem for New England was one that I alluded to in my last blog on the Pats/Cardinals game. It was that pesky Cardinal red zone defense.
Red Zone Problems
I had mentioned in the blog that one thing the Patriots had to do was beat Arizona in the red zone. I felt New England would be in trouble if the Cardinals held them to field goals. The Patriots scored just one TD. The 12 other points came from field goals. That gave a below average Cardinal offense the opportunity to win.
Pats Had a Chance
With about 1 minute left in the game the Patriots certainly had a chance to go ahead and probably win the game. They were on the Arizona 24-yard line and had a great opportunity to hit a field goal. But Gostkowski’s attempt went wide left and that was basically the game. For a team that has such a dynamic offense it was a sorry way for the home team to lose.
Things to Consider
Overall, the Patriot defense played well. They held the Cardinals to 245 yards. But the big difference for them was also in the red zone. The Cards were 2 of 2 from that area while the Pats were 1 of 3.
It’s a shame because New England was in the perfect position to win. But they could not make the plays they needed to when it was necessary. At RB Stevan Ridley played well averaging 3.9 YPC and gaining a total of 71 yards. There were four receivers with 50 or more yards. Wes Welker led the group with 5 receptions for 95 yards total and an average of 19.0 YPR.
It was a tough loss, as the Pats are now 1-1 with the Ravens (1-1) next. New England travels to Baltimore to play an 8:20 Sunday game. That’s another tough defense.