It was another slow start for the Patriots offense, but a few big plays down field to Hunter Henry and an impressive performance from their rookie running backs were enough to get the job done. Defensively, New England feasted against a Kyler Murray-less Cardinals’ offense, as the dual-threat quarterback left the game on the third play from scrimmage.
Here’s everything that went down in Glendale Monday night.
Final Score: Patriots 27 : 13 Cardinals
The Patriots won the coin toss and deferred, giving Kyler Murray and the Cardinals the ball to start Monday Night Football. Arizona picked up a quick first down after back-to-back touches by James Connor. On the third play from scrimmage, Murray scrambled and went down with a non-contact injury. He was carted off as Colt McCoy took his place. After a check down to Connor, McCoy hit Corey Clement for a 21-yard third-down conversion. Jack Jones then recorded a pass breakup and McCoy’s third-down check down to Connor came up short of the sticks. Matt Prater’s 50-yard field goal then missed just left.
The missed field goal set New England’s offense up at their own 40-yard line to start their first drive of the night. Mac Jones then connected on his first pass of the night hitting DeVante Parker across the middle of the field for 14 yards. After a one-yard rush by Rhamondre Stevenson and incompletion to Jonnu Smith, New England went backwards due to a Trent Brown false start. Facing third-and-14, Jones’ pass was batted at the line of scrimmage forcing a punt.
Arizona started their next drive backed up inside the five-yard line, but James Connor bounced a carry to the outside for 23 yards. On the next play from scrimmage, McCoy found Robbie Anderson for 14 yards and another first-down. New England’s pass rush then came to life two plays later as Matthew Judon and Lawerence Guy combined for a sack. The unit then caught a break on third-and-13 as an illegal shift wiped out a first-down conversion to Hopkins. On third-and-18, McCoy’s pass to Trey McBride was short, leading to a punt.
Injury Report: CB Jack Jones (knee) is questionable to return.
Backed up at the three-yard line after a strong punt by Arizona and holding penalty by Raleigh Webb, New England started their second drive on the ground with Stevenson - who picked up four yards. On second-and-six, Jones hit Parker who maintained possession after review - but the receiver exited the game after coming up wobbly. Shortly after, New England went to their secret weapon offensively hitting Marcus Jones out of backfield for a 12-yard first-down. After another four-yard pickup by Stevenson - who left the game with an apparent ankle injury - Jones’ arm was hit as he threw and the ball was intercepted.
Injury Report: RB Rhamondre Stevenson (ankle) and WR DeVante Parker (head) are questionable to return.
The Cardinals got to work after the interception at the New England 36-yard line. Following a six-yard run on first-down and incompletion to Hopkins, Marquise Brown beat Myles Bryant in the slot for a conversion. On the following third-down, McCoy’s pass towards Brown fell incomplete with Bryant in coverage. Matt Prater nailed a 33-yard field goal for the night’s first points. [Patriots 0 : 3 Cardinals]
New England turned to the quick passing attack on their first drive of the second quarter with Mac Jones under duress. Jones hit Bourne on a screen for eight yards before finding his rookie Tyquan Thornton on another screen for a short third-down conversion. After a nine-yard gain by Kevin Harris on the ground, Jones again fired an immediate pass out to Nelson Agholor for a six-yard gain. Jones then found Thornton for an additional 12 yards before rookie Kevin Harris took over. Harris picked up nine more yards on the ground while a face mask penalty added another 15 yards. On the next play, Harris powered his way for a 14-yard touchdown, his first career touchdown. [Patriots 7 : 3 Cardinals]
Now trailing, Arizona got to work on the ground with James Connor on first-down, who stayed down with an injury after a four-yard carry. McCoy then aired one deep downfield to Brown which fell incomplete, by Jonathan Jones was flagged for pass interference resulting in a 39-yard penalty. Hopkins then hauled in his first pass of the evening the next play for another first-down. The drive then stalled, however, leading to a 32-yard field goal from Prater. [Patriots 7 : 6 Cardinals]
The Patriots took the field with Rhamondre Stevenson back in action, and Jones’ first pass went to his back but fell incomplete. On second-down, the two connected on a screen that was blown up for a loss by Zaven Collins. Facing a third-and-13, Jones delivered a strike to Agholor along the boundary for a conversion. After a one-yard rush by Harris and drop by Agholor, New England backed up even more after a delay of game. On third-and-14, a screen to Stevenson picked up just four yards, forcing a punt.
Injury Update: WR DeVante Parker (head) and CB Jack Jones (knee) are downgraded to out.
McCoy found Hopkins for a 14-yard gain to begin Arizona’s next drive before delivering a strike two plays later to Robbie Anderson - who hauled it in with one hand - for a 21-yard gain. With Hopkins then double covered, McCoy again found Anderson on a crosser with Shaun Wade in coverage for nine more yards. On the next play, James Connor plowed through New England’s defense for a 10-yard score. [Patriots 7 : 13 Cardinals]
With Rhamondre Stevenson back in the locker room, New England took the field with just under three minutes remaining in the half. The drive started with a quick pass to Agholor for three yards before a second-down outside zone run was blown up for a four-yard loss. On third-and-11 following the two-minute warning, Jones was sacked for a 10-yard loss.
A 17-yard return from Greg Dortch set Arizona up at the New England 41-yard line with 1:42 remaining in the half. Facing an eventual fourth-and-one, McCoy’s pass in the flat to McBride was tipped and broken up by Jahlani Tavai.
After the turnover on downs, New England took over with 32 seconds left on their own 32-yard line. Jones found Agholor for nine yards and Henry for a one-yard gain to move the chains. After Jones misfired to Agholor, he then struck one up the seam to Henry for 30 yards. With 10 seconds left, Jones fumbled a handoff to Harris but was able to recover. Nick Folk then nailed a 51-yard field goal as the half expired. [Patriots 10 : 13 Cardinals]
Starting the second half with the ball, Jones fired a dart on first-down to Kendrick Bourne for a 15-yard completion. After a two-yard loss by Kevin Harris on the ground, New England was forced to burn a timeout to avoid a delay of game - which drew frustration from Mac Jones. Following the timeout, Jones hit Pierre Strong Jr. on a screen for 16 yards before the rookie showcased his speed and broke off a 44-yard run two plays later. New England then stalled in the red area, leading to a chip shot field goal from Folk. [Patriots 13 : 13 Cardinals]
Injury Update: RB Rhamondre Stevenson (ankle) is downgraded to out.
Arizona opened the half with James Connor picking up seven yards on the ground before McCoy hit Hopkins for a 23-yard gain. Facing a third-and-nine after a false start, Connor picked up four yards through the air to set up a fourth-and-five. McCoy was close to connecting downfield to Marquise Brown, but the pass fell incomplete.
After the turnover on downs, New England took over at their own 40-yard line but were not able to take advantage of it. A pair of touches to the rookie running backs resulted in a third-and-six, where Jones looked deep downfield to Nelson Agholor. The pass fell incomplete leading to a punt, where Brenden Schooler and Matthew Slater brought down Dortch at the six-yard line.
Backed up at the six, Arizona got some breathing room on second-down due to an illegal contact penalty on Jonathan Jones. The next play, McCoy found Hopkins but the receiver lost the football when brought down by Kyle Dugger - which Raekwon McMillan scooped up and took 23 yards to the house for a score. [Patriots 20 : 13 Cardinals]
Now trailing be seven, McCoy found Brown for a 16-yard gain on first-down. A false start penalty then backed Arizona up, but McBride hauled in an impressive catch for a first-down while getting crushed by Marcus Jones. After picking up another first down, Josh Uche got home and brought down McCoy for a three-yard loss. The next play, Uche got in on McCoy yet again forcing an errant pass which was intercepted by Marcus Jones.
Chaos continued to ensue as Jones’ first pass after the turnover was dropped by Agholor, which Arizona returned for a touchdown. The expedited review, however, ruled Agholor never had possession and was ruled incomplete. After a five-yard completion to Thornton, Jones was forced to his right and threw a strike downfield to Kendrick Bourne right along the sideline for 16 yards. The next play, Jones again fired one up the seam to Hunter Henry for a 39-yard gain. Following that, Pierre Strong took it in from four yards out for a touchdown, the first of his career. [Patriots 27 : 13 Cardinals]
20 unanswered points for New England! Pierre Strong Jr. is the latest @Patriots rookie RB to score his 1st career TD.— NFL (@NFL) December 13, 2022
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The New England defense continued their hot streak, this time led by Daniel Ekuale. After a incompletion on first-down, Ekuale recorded a run stuff before bringing down McCoy for an 11-yard sack on third-down.
Starting their next drive right around midfield, Jones hit Bourne on back-to-back screens - with an ineligible man downfield penalty sandwiched between them. On third-and-seven, a handoff to Strong came up short forcing a punt.
Another penalty hurt Arizona as an illegal shift negated a 15-yard completion to Marquise Brown to start the Cardinals’ next drive. Arizona then got help from a pair of New England penalties, however. On a following third-and-two, McCoy’s pass fell incomplete to Brown but a pass interference penalty on Myles Bryant moved the chains. Shortly after on a fourth-and-three, Matthew Judon was offsides but the penalty was declined as McCoy scrambled for a nine-yard conversion. Judon shortly made up for the error as he came unblocked the next play to record a 13-yard sack. Facing a fourth-and-13, Judon just missed McCoy but Uche was there to clean up the sack.
New England came out throwing after the turnover on downs, but Jones’ pass fell incomplete. After a one-yard rush by Harris and one-yard pass to Agholor, the Patriots punted back to Arizona.
With just under four minutes remaining in the game, McCoy found Anderson and Hopkins on back-to-back passes for 15 combined yards. An A.J. Green pass interference penalty then pushed them back, but McCoy found Green the next pass to regain seven of those penalty yards. On third-and-seven, Uche again got home and recorded his third sack of the game, and then made the stop on a scrambling McCoy on fourth down to force a turnover on downs.
Following another turnover on downs, Strong broke off a 19-yard run to essentially ice the game. Three Mac Jones kneel downs ended the game. [Patriots 27 : 13 Cardinals]