Cardinals vs. Patriots: Arizona's D and a Missed Kick Leads Cards to Victory

Tyson LanglandNFC West Lead WriterSeptember 16, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 16:  Stephen Gostkowski #3 of the New England Patriots reacts after missing a field goal in the fourth quarter as the Arizona Cardinals celebrate at Gillette Stadium on September 16, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

After a strong showing in Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks, Ray Horton's defense turned up the heat another notch this weekend against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots

Calais Campbell, Quentin Groves and Sam Acho all had a party in the backfield as they sacked Brady a total of four times. Campbell had the biggest day of the three as he recorded his third multi-sack game of his career. He also laid out No. 12 for three more quarterback hits.

Going into this game, there was no question that the only way you were going to beat the Patriots was by knocking them out of their rhythm offensively. It all started early as Aaron Hernandez exited the game in the first half with an apparent ankle injury. 

Early indications after the game pointed toward a high-ankle sprain for Hernandez—a much better report than many originally thought. Some felt by looking at the replay that he might have broken his ankle because of the way it got rolled up on.

Yet, you never wish an injury upon any player, but his departure left the Patriots scrambling for a new offensive plan. Not to mention, the Patriots had a number of miscues that came back to haunt them in the end.

The first being Brady's first pass of the game, which was tipped by Darnell Docket and intercepted by Patrick Peterson. Next, Zoltan Mesko had his punt blocked early in the third quarter for the first time in over a 120 attempts. 

Arizona took over at the 2-yard line and then proceeded to score three plays later on a pass to wide receiver Andre Roberts. Kolb added one more touchdown late in the third quarter as he ran up the middle on a designed quarterback run play.

Overall, the Cardinals played OK on offense, yet it was a bit concerning to see them fail to top the 300-yard mark for the second straight week. No. 4 looked a little jittery at times, especially on long throws to tight end Todd Heap. 

There were countless throws during the course of the game in which he just over threw him. On most of these throws, he had time in the pocket but just failed to convert. He only threw for 140 yards on 15 completions, however, he did a pretty good job of protecting the ball and limiting turnovers. 

Even though the numbers didn't prove to be all that flashy, the running game got the job done by shorting up the game and keeping the ball away from the Pats offense for a majority of it. Arizona's 33 carries proved to be much more of a commitment from last week's measly 20 attempts. 

Fortunately enough, Ryan Williams' late-game fumble didn't ruin Arizona's bid for starting the season a perfect 2-0. New England kicker Stephen Gostkowski will be the one who can't sleep tonight, as he missed a 42-yard field goal that would have won the game for New England. 

Don't look now, but if San Francisco loses tonight, the Cardinals will be alone at the top of the NFC West. 


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