The New England Patriots are still alive in the playoff race, thanks to a hard-fought 20-17 victory over the visiting Arizona Cardinals in Week 12. The game came down to the wire, but saw the Patriots play some tremendous complementary football along the way: our six candidates for the title of Play of the Game are equally distributed among offense, defense and special teams.
Of course, you know the drill: take a look at the plays featured below, and please make sure to vote for your favorite below. The play with the most votes, as always, will be broken down in greater detail later during the week.
1.) Donte Moncrief, kickoff returner
New England started the game in horrific fashion but a kick return unit that has struggled so far this year made one of the biggest plays of the day. Donte Moncrief, who was called up from the practice squad and filled in as kickoff returner in place of Gunner Olszewski, went 53 yards to set the offense up inside Arizona territory. The return was the Patriots’ longest of the season.
2.) James White on fourth down
Following Moncrief’s kickoff return, New England’s offense finally showed some signs of life by driving all the way into the Arizona red zone. While the series was in danger of stalling there, Bill Belichick kept his offense on the field on a 4th-and-2. The call paid off as James White did not just gain enough yards for the conversion, but also found his way into the end zone for the Patriots’ first touchdown of the day.
3.) Goal-line stand
The Patriots’ defense had some major issues this season, and was not always perfect against Arizona as well, but it came up huge late in the first half. Facing a 4th-and-goal just inches outside of its end zone, the unit was able to stop Kenyan Drake for no gain on the final play before intermission. Lawrence Guy, Ja’Whaun Bentley and Akeem Spence all combined to collapse the interior of the offensive line and force the crucial stop.
4.) Tipped and picked
The Patriots’ defense had another big play midway through the third period, with Adam Butler — who had one of the best games of his career on Sunday — getting a hand on a Kyler Murray pass attempt on third down. The tipped ball was subsequently intercepted by safety Adrian Phillips to give New England some prime field position in a game that was tied at the time.
5.) James White for second time
James White had not scored two touchdowns in a single game since Super Bowl 51, but he repeated the feat when he crossed the plane on a third down attempt from just inside the 1-yard line. Newton was able to get around the edge and reach the end zone to give the Patriots a 17-10 lead — and seven points off Adrian Phillips’ interception.
6. ) Nick Folk’s game-winner
The Patriots have been in this situation before three weeks ago. Back then, Nick Folk lined up for a 51-yard field goal against the New York Jets to secure a three-point win. This time, he “only” had to make a 50-yarder — and he once again was perfect. The veteran’s kick sailed straight through the uprights to give New England its fifth victory of the season.
Now it’s your turn: What do you think was the biggest play from the Patriots’ win over the Cardinals?
Which play was the biggest from New England’s win over Arizona?
This poll is closed
Donte Moncrief’s kickoff return
James White’s first touchdown
The goal-line stand
Adrian Phillips’ interception
James White’s second touchdown
Nick Folk’s game-winner
Other (please name in comments)