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Final: Cardinals 20, Patriots 18

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff  September 16, 2012 12:51 PM

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FOXBOROUGH -- Despite four field goals on the day, including two from beyond 50 yards, Stephen Gostkowski's 42-yard attempt with seconds remaining in the game was wide left as the Patriots fell to the Arizona Cardinals 20-18.

It was the first time the Patriots had lost their home opener at Gillette Stadium, and the first time they had lost a home opener since 2001.

It was a huge emotional swing for the Patriots after the team's defense came up with a timely turnover with little more than a minute remaining in the game. Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes forced a fumble and Vince Wilfork recovered, giving the Patriots the ball at the Arizona 30-yard line.

1:01 4th quarter: Cardinals 20, Patriots 18 -- Brandon Spikes forced a fumble on Ryan Williams and it was recovered by Vince Wilfork, giving the Patriots the ball in Arizona territory.

2:06 4th quarter: Cardinals 20, Patriots 18 -- Tom Brady found Rob Gronkowski for a 5-yard touchdown pass -- the team's first touchdown of the day -- as the Patriots edged closer to the Cardinals with time winding down. The Patriots went for the 2-point conversion, with Brady targeting Gronkowski again but unable to connect. Gronkowski was hit at the line and smother on an out route.

5:54 4th quarter: Cardinals 20, Patriots 12 -- The Patriots defense came up with a huge three-and out. Patrick Chung broke up a pass to Early Doucet and Devin McCourty had tight enough coverage on Larry Fitzgerald to keep him from getting a catch and first down in single coverage.

6:45 4th quarter: Cardinals 20, Patriots 12 -- Stephen Gostkowski kicked his fourth field goal of the day, a 54-yarder, as the Patriots closed the lead to eight points.

Arizona defensive lineman Calais Campbell made his presence felt in the last series. He got hit on Tom Brady to hurry him into an incompletion and stuffed Danny Woodhead for no gain, leading to Gostkowski's 53-yard attempt.

7:56 4th quarter: Cardinals 20, Patriots 9 -- The Cardinals are trying to protect their lead now, running the ball four times before passing on a third-and-long for no gain.

Unfortunately for the Patriots, Vince Wilfork looked nicked up on the play. He lumbered to the sideline on his own, but was in obvious pain. The source looked to be his right leg.

12:07 4th quarter: Cardinals 20, Patriots 9 -- Tom Brady completed a 22-yard pass to Rob Gronkowski, two passes to Brandon Lloyd (one being reviewed and upheld), but couldn't convert on a third-down pass to Lloyd that was dropped. On third-and-1, Stevan Ridley was tackled in the backfield by Patrick Peterson before the Patriots punted.

14:00 4th quarter: Cardinals 20, Patriots 9 -- Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb snuck right up the middle for a 5-yard touchdown run. The Cardinals saw a solid drive from Kolb, who completed passes to Todd Heap, Early Doucet and Rob Housler before sneaking in of first-and-goal at the 5-yard line.

End of 3d quarter: Cardinals 13, Patriots 9 -- The Patriots defense is tripping itself up here. Two penalties on one play, including a rougher the passer on Brandon Spikes and hit out of bounds by Steve Gregory on top of a 28-yard completion from Kevin Kolb to Todd Heap. Arizona is in the red zone.

2:46 3d quarter: Cardinals 13, Patriots 9 -- Despite four first downs, the Patriots weren't able to respond to the Cardinals' touchdown in the third quarter. Danny Woodhead was tackled for a 9-yard loss on third down by Darnell Dockett and the Patriots were forced to punt for the fifth time today.

8:52 3d quarter: Cardinals 13, Patriots 9 -- Kevin Kolb threw a quick pass to Andre Roberts on a pick play, and Cardinals re-took the lead on the 2-yard touchdown.

It was a quick three-play drive, capitalizing on the blocked punt, an unusual mishap for the Patriots. It was the first time punter Zoltan Mesko had been blocked in his career.

9:41 3d quarter: Patriots 9, Cardinals 6 -- Cardinals LB Quentin Groves blocked Zoltan Mesko's punt and Arizona takes over at the Patriots' 2.

10:49 3d quarter: Patriots 9, Cardinals 6 -- Dont'a Hightower made a nice play to shed a block and tackle Cardinals RB Beanie Wells in the backfield. The Patriots held the Cardinals to four plays on offense before they were forced to punt.

12:58 3d quarter: Patriots 9, Cardinals 6 -- Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 51-yard field goal as the Patriots took their first lead of the game.

Tom Brady connected with Wes Welker for a 36-yard pass to get the Patriots down field before the team's drive stalled. It was Gostkowski's third field goal.

15:00 3d quarter: Patriots 6, Cardinals 6 -- We're about to kickoff for the second half.

End of 2d quarter: Patriots 6, Cardinals 6 -- At the half, the Patriots are clearly struggling to get their passing game going against the Arizona Cardinals. Tom Brady is 7 of 12 for 75 yards so far. We've seen Brady miss connections with Brandon Lloyd and Rob Gronkowski, leading both a little too much at times.

But on the bright side, we've seen the team's running game produce so far. Stevan Ridley has 11 carries for 54 yards. His longest was a 20-yarder in the second quarter.

With Aaron Hernandez going down with an ankle injury, we've certainly seen the offense change a little bit. We're seeing more Julian Edelman (who started), Wes Welker and TE Michael Hoomanawanui. Edelman it appears is taking a majority of the snaps while Welker has taken over for any receiving duties for Hernandez.

Chandler Jones has continued to impress on the defensive line. He has another forced fumble and has been a presence in the Cardinals' backfield. We're also seeing a good game out of Brandon Spikes, who had a terrific spin move to get in Kevin Kolb's face.

0:06 2d quarter: Patriots 6, Cardinals 6 -- Tom Brady hit Wes Welker for his first catch of the day, a 25-yard flag route in front of the safety's face. It was Welker's 558th catch as a Patriot, taking the franchise lead after being tied with Troy Brown. It was also Welker's first target of the day.

Unfortunately for the Patriots, their drive was stalled after an incomplete pass to Rob Gronkowski in the end zone and 0-yard sack by Arizona DL Calais Campbell on Brady. That'll take us into the half.

2:59 2d quarter: Patriots 6, Cardinals 6 -- The Patriots held the Cardinals to a three-and-out, with LB Brandon Spikes getting a first down tackle for loss on running back Beanie Wells.

4:35 2d quarter: Patriots 6, Cardinals 6 -- This was not the prettiest drive we've seen from the Patriots. Tom Brady was sacked twice, once by Arizona DT Sam Acho and once by LB Quintin Groves. Add in a false start, and the Patriots punted away mercifully.

6:04 2d quarter: Patriots 6, Cardinals 6 -- Arizona QB Kevin Kolb tried to scramble for a first down on third-and-6, but was stripped by Rob Ninkovich Chandler Jones and rookie safety Tavon Wilson caught the ball as it was coming right out of Kolb's hands.

9:08 2d quarter: Patriots 6, Cardinals 6 -- Stevan Ridley is continuing to impress with a strong game. He broke off runs for 12 and 10 yards, helping the Patriots to another field goal. This time, Stephen Gostkowkski kicked a 34-yarder, notching the game up at 6. He would've had a 27-yard field goal attempt, but the Patriots were flagged for a false start before the attempt. It was a seven-play, 30-yard drive.

12:53 2d quarter: Cardinals 6, Patriots 3 -- Chandler Jones drew a holding call on Arizona left tackle D'Anthony Batiste and the Patriots held the Cardinals to four plays, forcing them to punt again.

14:40 2d quarter: Cardinals 6, Patriots 3 -- After a strong run by Stevan Ridley for 20 yards, Tom Brady followed it up with two incomplete passes to Brandon Lloyd as the Patriots were forced to punt for the first time today.

End of 1st quarter: Cardinals 6, Patriots 3 -- The Patriots have announced that Aaron Hernandez's return to the game is questionable with a high right ankle injury.

Rob Ninkovich recorded his first sack of the season, getting to Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb before he could scramble away.

2:27 1st quarter: Cardinals 6, Patriots 3 -- Stephen Gostkowski with a 46-yard field goal as the Patriots finally get on the board. But a big hit for the Patriots was on the team's third offensive play of the game. Tight end Aaron Hernandez went down with what appeared to be a right ankle injury. He was helped off the field and taken to the locker room. More details to come as we get them.

7:42 1st quarter: Cardinals 6, Patriots 0 -- Jay Feely kicked his second field goal of the game, this time a 47-yarder, as the Cardinals capitalized on Tom Brady's interception.

The Cardinals only managed four plays this time around though in their second series. Kevin Kolb couldn't connect with Larry Fitzgerald and Todd Heap on the drive.

8:31 1st quarter: Cardinals 3, Patriots 0 -- Tom Brady was intercepted on a tipped pass by Arizona CB Patrick Peterson. The pass was tipped by DT Darnell Dockett.

8:42 1st quarter: Cardinals 3, Patriots 0 -- The Cardinals ate up a bunch of the clock in the first quarter, driving 60 yards on 13 plays before Jay Feely kicked in a 38-yard field goal.

We got to see CB Patrick Peterson in the wildcat for Arizona (17-yard rush) and Patriots corner Sterling Moore made his return, taking over duties for Ras-I Dowling in the nickel and dime packages.


15:00 1st quarter: Patriots 0, Cardinals 0 -- The Patriots have won the coin toss and have deferred to the second half. They'll kickoff to start the game.

Pregame: Patriots 0, Cardinals 0 -- The game is about to kickoff. The Patriots and Cardinals have taken the field and we're getting ready for the coin toss.

It's a beautiful day for some football. Enjoy the game and stay with us right here for all game updates.

@zuriberry

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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