New England found itself in a 6-point hole early. The Cardinals got the ball to start and drove down the field, though a poor throw on third and short meant they had to settle for a 38-yard field goal by Jay Feely.
On the Patriots’ first play from scrimmage, Tom Brady’s pass was batted at the line and Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson made a one-handed interception, pinning the ball to his helmet to secure it.
Arizona took over at the 36, but again had to settle for a field goal after a short first-down gain by Beanie Wells and two iffy passes from Kolb. This time Feely converted from 47 yards, and with half of the opening quarter gone, the Patriots had taken one snap and given up two field goals.
New England got on the board on its next possession, but it didn’t come without a price: On a second-down screen to Julian Edelman, Hernandez was blocking and had his right leg rolled up on.
Hernandez clutched his right ankle and needed a lot of help off the field. He was immediately taken to the locker room, where X-rays were negative, indicating there was no break. It is unknown what damage he did suffer — sprains can sometimes be tougher to come back from than breaks depending on the severity of ligament damage.
He left the game in a walking boot and with crutches.
The game was tied, 6-6, at the half.
New England took a 9-6 lead early in the second half on a 51-yarder by Gostkowski, but the Cardinals went ahead for good at 8:52 of the third.
Quentin Groves blocked a Zoltan Mesko punt, the first time Mesko has been blocked in the NFL, and Arizona got the ball just 2 yards from the end zone. It took three plays, but Kolb hit Andre Roberts for the 2-yard touchdown pass and a 13-9 lead.
Follow Shalise Manza Young on Twitter at @shalisemyoung.