I still can’t get over the facts.
It’s early in the season and the home team, acting as the heavy favorites, was facing a career back-up and was trailing late in the game by 2 points. The visiting team was extraordinarily fortunate to have the lead after turning the ball over twice. The home team, known for their high flying offense, drove down into field goal range in the final minute of the game. The home team had the ball in chip shot range, but a holding penalty get the team on the fringe of scoring range.
And when it came time to win the game, the home team’s kicker pulled the kick wide on a mid-40 yard field goal, allowing the visiting team to record the upset.
It’s poetic that I could be talking about both Sunday Night’s game, as well as the 2012 Cardinals upset of the Patriots.
In 2012, the Cardinals were visiting the Patriots in week 2 and the Patriots were 13.5-point favorites. Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez went down with an injury after just three snaps and the Patriots offense struggled to get the ball into the end zone, despite far outgaining the Cardinals.
Arizona held a 20-18 lead with a minute left in the game and the Patriots drove to the 30-yard line. Danny Woodhead picked up a 10-yard gain to set up a chip shot, but a questionable holding call against Rob Gronkowski negated the gain and then a false start against Gronk pushed the offense back another five yards. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski sent the 42-yard field goal attempt wide.
It’s an extremely similar story to how the Patriots held on to a 23-21 lead after a holding call against the Cardinals pushed them out of field goal range, setting the Cardinals up for a longer 47-yard field goal, which was also wide.
I find it funny how league storylines can play out, and I’m sure Patriots head coach Bill Belichick can appreciate that, too.
"I mean, I'm really, really concerned about the story line,” Belichick said after the game, and this is a 100% actual quote. “Like, there's really nothing higher on my list than the story line tomorrow. We beat a good team on the road. We've got a lot of work to do. That's all of us: coaching, playing, offense, defense, special teams. That's what I saw in the game. But, I can't wait to read [about the storyline] tomorrow."