The Patriots looked grim and dismal all afternoon. They were flat, unhinged, sloppy, unfocused and awful. They played like a team that deserved to lose.
For the first three quarters, the Patriots never showed a real sign of life. The Cardinals played the game on their terms and forced the Patriots to play Arizona football.
Late in the third quarter and into the fourth, the Patriots were getting hit with huge penalties and finding themselves on the losing end of challenges. Brady's offense was stuck in quicksand and Kevin Kolb was playing one of the best games of his life.
With 14:00 left in the game, the Patriots were down 20-9. Despite the closable nature of that gap, the game already felt over. The Patriots had nothing positive to hang their hat on.
With 12:51 left, Rob Gronkowski and Brandon Lloyd made big consecutive catches. Arizona challenged Lloyd's catch, but the ruling was upheld. With that decision, three good things happened in a row. It seemed like the tide was turning.
But again, the Patriots couldn't convert their opportunities into points. This was the pattern all afternoon.
Late in the fourth, Brady drove the team down field for a score. Not surprisingly, a two-point attempt went haywire and the conversion fell flat.
A big-time fumble from Arizona gave New England the ball back. Brady led his team down field and let Stephen Gostkowski take his shot at the game-winning field goal.
He missed it. The Cardinals won, 20-18.
Thus ended one of the bleakest and most wretched performances I've ever witnessed from the Patriots.
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