Nick Folk connected on a 50-yard field goal as time expired to give the Patriots a 20-17 win over the Cardinals Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.
Things looked bleak for New England after a fourth-quarter interception from Cam Newton. But with the game tied, Arizona’s Zane Gonzalez missed a 45-yard field goal with fewer than two minutes to go, opening the door for Newton and the Patriots.
The quarterback engineered a late scoring drive that went seven plays and took 33 yards, setting up Folks for his second game-winner of the season.
Newton finished 9-for-18 for 84 yards and two interceptions. Meanwhile, Jakobi Meyers had five catches for 52 yards, James White added a pair of rushing touchdowns, and Damien Harris had 14 carries for 47 yards.
On the other side of the ball, Kyler Murray was 23-for-34 for 170 yards and an interception.
The Patriots (5-6) won for the third time in the last four games, while the Cardinals (6-5) lost back-to-back games for the second time this season.
New England struggled out the gate — an early Newton interception led to Arizona’s first touchdown, a 1-yard plunge from Kenyon Drake. The Cardinals tacked on a 47-yard field goal to make it 10-0 after one quarter.
But New England posted 17 unanswered points, including a touchdown before the end of the half from White. After a 22-yard field goal from Nick Folk, there was a third-quarter score from White to make it 17-10, Patriots.
Arizona got a 1-yard score from Drake to tie the game. After Newton’s second interception of the afternoon, the Cardinals appeared poised to come away with the win, but the miss from Gonzalez and the game-winner from Folk ended things.
Here’s how the game unfolded:
Patriots win – 4:06 p.m.
That’s it. Patriots win — Folk is good from 50 yards.
Stop and a miss gives ball to Pats – 4 p.m.
Zane Gonzalez misses a 45-yarder, and the Patriots have the ball at the 35 with just under two minutes left.
Newton gives ball back – 3:52 p.m.
Newton’s second interception of the day comes at the worst possible time — the Cardinals get the ball back with just over four minutes to go, aiming to retake the lead. It’s tied at 17 with 4:27 to go, and Arizona has the ball at the New England 47.
Cards tie it up – 3:44 p.m.
An absolutely interminable drive finally came to an end with a 1-yard plunge from Drake to tie the game at 17 with 8:02 to go. Sixteen plays, 80 yards, and 7:19. Cripes. The Cardinals were helped by two defensive penalties in the red zone from the Patriots: a fourth-down defensive holding call on Jason McCourty and a defensive holding on Stephon Gilmore on third down a few plays later. For a team that has done so well at avoiding flags over the course of the season, those were tough calls that ultimately led to the Cardinals game-tying score.
Murray on the move – 3:34 p.m.
The Patriots have done as good a job as anyone across the league when it comes to containing Murray and the Arizona offense, but it feels a little like they’re slipping a bit on this drive. Maybe it’s bend but don’t break? Whatever the case may be, the Pats need another red-zone stop here.
Pats up at start of fourth – 3:20 p.m.
Three quarters are done, and the Patriots have forged an impressive 17-10 lead. Arizona has the ball at its own 25-yard line, but this remains a very winnable one for New England.
Butler bringing energy – 3:17 p.m.
Adam Butler has been really impressive today. During a stretch where the defense has needed some energy, Butler has done well to serve as a disruptive presence against the Cardinals. That sack forced a punt — New England is going to get the ball back at its own 44.
White makes it 17-10 – 3:11 p.m.
The Patriots settled for a field goal on their previous drive, but after the takeaway and touchdown there — the second of the day from James White — it feels like the momentum has completely swung in New England’s direction. Harris is running better than he did over much of the last two weeks, including a game-high 18-yard pickup on that drive. (He’s now at 55 yards on the afternoon.) Six plays, 31 yards, and New England holds a 17-0 lead with 3:30 to go in the third quarter. Seventeen unanswered pointers for the Patriots.
Pats get it back – 3:01 p.m.
Big turnover there — a batted ball at the line of scrimmage results in a New England takeaway. The Patriots will get the ball with terrific field position at the Arizona 31– with 6:21 to go in the third quarter.
Folk ties it – 2:57 p.m.
In the wake of the crackback call, the Patriots tied the game after the return from Olszewski. A 22-yard field goal from Nick Folk knotted this one at 10 with 7:46 to go in the third quarter. Good to get three out of that, but in a game with no margin for error, not punching it in — either on the return or just after that — feels like a missed opportunity for New England. Regardless, it’s back to work for the Patriots’ defense, which will be looking for another stop of Newton and the Cardinals here in the third quarter.
Pats get the ball back – 2:50 p.m.
Oof. Anfernee Jennings is called for an illegal crackajack. It’s debatable if Olszewski would have gone all the way without it, but that’s a tough one under any circumstances. Regardless, the Patriots get good field position for their first drive of the second half. It’s 10-7 Arizona with 11:43 to go in the third quarter — for New England, this is a very winnable game.
Murray in the negative – 2:45 p.m.
Good stat from the Fox broadcast crew — Murray’s minus-two rushing yards is the first time this season where he had negative rushing yardage.
Halftime takeaways – 2:28 p.m.
Two quarters are in the books in Foxborough, and the Cardinals hold a 10-7 lead.
Cam Newton: 3-for-8, 37 yards, 1 INT; 4 carries, 23 yards
Damien Harris: 5 carries, 14 yards
Jakobi Meyers: 2 catches, 20 yards
Kyler Murray: 14-for-20, 131 yards
Kenyon Drake: 9 carries, 36 yards
DeAndre Hopkins: 4 catches, 47 yards
•After a rough start — especially after it was expected to defend the short field after the Newton pick — the defense settled in nicely for about a quarter-plus, particularly on the edges. Chase Winovich has provided some good pressure, and Josh Uche did well to make some plays in space and contain Murray. Best moment? The Cardinals last drive before the end of the half took almost seven full minutes, but the stop on fourth-and-goal as the half ended was maybe the defensive highlight of the season for the Patriots. Great stop there.
It came at the end of a drive where Murray worked some wizardry:
Sheesh. What a throw by Kyler Murray. This is filthy.pic.twitter.com/6it569ZJk9
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) November 29, 2020
•If the New England offense is going to have a shot at beating the Cardinals, it’ll have to continue to slow the game down. They’re not going to win a shootout. To that end, they have settled in relatively well over the last quarter-plus. (It would have been nice if they could have capitalized on the small bit of momentum in the second quarter after the Arizona punt — feels like it’ll go down as a real missed opportunity.) All in all, the rushing totals aren’t overwhelming, but good enough to keep the game manageable. They still need to get more from Harris and Newton on the ground? Maybe they’ll go to Sony Michel in relief in the third quarter? We’ll see. But they need to find some more offensive rhythm.
•The Patriots’ most consistent area today is special teams. Donte Moncrief delivered a 53-yard kick return (I’d say that pretty much ends Gunner Olszewski’s kick return stint, at least this year), Jake Bailey delivered a couple of really impressive punts, and Nick Folk connected on his extra-point attempt. Good start for the specialists.
Donte Moncrief breaking tackles for a 53-yard kickoff return.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) November 29, 2020
•The Cardinals will get the ball to start the second half.
Pats punt it away – 2:03 p.m.
The Patriots were unable to keep the momentum headed in the right direction — Bailey delivered a 59-yarder to pin the Cardinals at their own 28-yard line. It’s 10-7 Arizona with 6:57 to go in the first half.
D responds nicely – 1:58 p.m.
Good sequence there for the Patriots defense, with Josh Uche making a nice play and Jonathan Jones almost coming away with a pick after some more pressure from Chase Winovich. Nice response for the Patriots’ defense to force the first Arizona punt of the afternoon. The Cardinals lead, 10-7, with 10:09 to go in the first half.
White gets Pats on the board – 1:48 p.m.
James White scores from seven yards out on a pitchout. If these are the final days in New England for White — who is in the last year of his current deal — I’m really going to miss him. It caps a seven-play, 46-yard drive for the Patriots, and makes it 10-7 with 14:15 to go in the first half. Overall, a good drive there from the New England — a 55-yard kick return from Donte Moncrief set the Patriots up with some nice field position. A couple of nice connections between Newton and his pass catchers like Meyers, as well as some good yardage between the tackles, created some quality production for New England. (As an aside, the best part of the Patriots here in the early going has been on special teams. Jake Bailey has been excellent, and Moncrief just delivered a terrific return. My guess is we’ll see Moncrief take the bulk of the kick returns the rest of the year instead of Gunner Olszewski.)
— NFL (@NFL) November 29, 2020
Arizona scores again – 1:36 p.m.
Jake Bailey did his part to tilt the field with a great punt that forced the Cards to start their drive any their own 3-yard line, but Murray quickly maneuvered Arizona downfield, thanks in large part to some quick tempo. The Cards pushed the pace, slowing only because of a brief injury, and the Patriots looked a little overwhelmed at times. (They took a too many men on the field penalty, a rare defensive flag.) Best moment from that drive for the Patriots? A frisky Adam Butler creating havoc in the backfield getting a hit on Murray. In the end, it was too much Murray and too little resistance from the Patriots as Arizona adds to its lead. It’s 10-0, after a 47-yard field goal from Zane Gonzalez, with 1:49 to go in the first quarter.
Pats punt it away – 1:22 p.m.
The Patriots got some early offensive momentum on a quick out when Damiere Byrd managed to come away with a third-down pickup on a third-and-16 for a first down. But the drive ended in a punt when Newton and Byrd misfired on a third-down attempt over the middle. Nice punt from Bailey pins the Cards back on their own 3-yard line, but the New England defense will have to get another early stop. It’s 7-0 Arizona with 7:13 to go in the first quarter.
Bad blocking on INT – 1:11 p.m.
Either James White or Mike Onwenu blocked the wrong guy, which led to them both blocking the same guy. Newton's arm hit as he throws. INT. Newton had some 4 games without a pick. #Patriots
— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) November 29, 2020
Drake gives Cards 7-0 lead – 1:10 p.m.
Arizona takes the early lead, as Drake punches it in from a yard out after the turnover. The defense did as well as could be expected under the circumstances, but all in all, an abysmal start for New England.
Pats turn it over – 1:07 p.m.
Bad start for the Patriots, as Arizona picks off the batted ball. The Cardinals will open on offense deep in New England territory.
Time for some football – 1:01 p.m.
Cards win toss and defer–Patriots will start with the ball.
O-lineup – 12:57 p.m.
Based on warmups, looks like #Patriots offensive line will be:
LT: Jermaine Eluemunor
LG: Joe Thuney
C: David Andrews
RG: Shaq Mason
RT: Mike Onwenu
— Jim McBride (@globejimmcbride) November 29, 2020
Official Price Prediction – 12:30 p.m.
Gone back and forth over the course of the week on this one, but I just can’t shake the idea of Arizona winning this afternoon. I know one of the things that always sticks out in my mind is that West Coast teams who are forced to play a one o’clock game on the East Coach occasionally struggle, but this Cards’ team is pretty mentally tough. I love Murray and Hopkins, which should be enough to lift Arizona — just barely. I’ll say Cardinals 27, Patriots 24.
Good day to be a kicker? – 12:20 p.m.
Nick Folk just finished up his warmups by hitting back-to-back 53-yarders to the North (Lighthouse) end zone. Jake Bailey also sailed a 53-yarder through the uprights when Folk was done. #Patriots
— Jim McBride (@globejimmcbride) November 29, 2020
No weather issues loom – 12:05 p.m.
Weather played a significant role when the Cardinals came to Foxborough in 2008, but it won’t be a big issue this afternoon, at least according to our pals at weather.com. From noon to 4 p.m., highs are expected to be in the low 50s, with no chance for precipitation and light winds.
Patriots’ depth chart – 12 p.m.
Patriots weapons vs. Cardinals:
WR: Meyers, Byrd, Harry, Olszewski, Moncrief
RB: Harris, White, Michel
TE: Izzo, Jordan Thomas
As full of a deck as they are going to have, but they're missing their left tackle
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) November 29, 2020
Pats’ fans rooting guide – 11:46 p.m.
The postseason path for the Patriots is a challenging one, to be sure. They need to be just about perfect the rest of the way, and get plenty of help from around the league. Heading into Sunday’s action, they’re at 4-6, 11th overall in the AFC playoff picture. With three teams at 6-4 and four at 7-3, they need to join that group to have a legit shot at the playoffs. With that in mind, here’s a quick rooting guide for New England when it comes to Sunday’s action. (Warning — there are a lot of longshots that have to pay off this week if the Patriots are going to climb the playoff ladder.)
Dolphins (6-4) at Jets (0-10): As ludicrous as it might sound, New England fans will be rooting for New York, as the Pats need a Miami loss to bring the Dolphins down a peg or two in the postseason chase.
Browns (7-3) at Jaguars (1-9): Another longshot game for Patriots’ fans, as a Jacksonville win over Cleveland would benefit New England’s playoff chances.
Titans (7-3) at Colts (7-3): An intriguing AFC matchup, both of these teams are ahead of the Patriots when it comes to the postseason picture. (Neither one of these teams is on New England’s schedule this year, so there are no easily identifiable tiebreaker scenarios for the Patriots to worry about.)
Chargers (3-7) at Bills (7-3): New England fans have to hope Justin Herbert’s hot streak continues, as a Los Angeles win over Buffalo could alter the AFC East picture. (Of course, this being 2020, a Chargers’ win could also hurt the Patriots — if New England loses to Arizona and Los Angeles beats Buffalo, the two teams would be tied at 4-7.)
Raiders (6-4) at Falcons (3-7): An Atlanta win over Vegas and a New England win over Arizona would be a big step in the right direction for the Patriots.
Saints (8-2) at Broncos (4-6): The Patriots could keep a little closer to the group of teams at 4-6 — which includes the Broncos — if they can take care of business and New Orleans can beat Denver.
Taylor, Ford among inactives – 11:40 p.m.
The Patriots have just announced their inactives for the week — here’s who will be sidelined, and here’s what it all means.
Brian Hoyer: The quarterback will sit, as Jarrett Stidham will serve as the primary backup to Cam Newton.
J.J. Taylor: The undersized back has been a healthy scratch an awful lot lately, but this time, it’s likely traceable back to the idea that Sony Michel is back and ready to roll.
Tashawn Bower: The OLB/DE has been on the injury report with an illness, which thins New England’s depth on the edges heading into this afternoon.
Byron Cowart: The defensive tackle has been on and off the injury report lately because of a back issue. Akeem Spence has been promoted from the practice squad, which means he could be in line to see some action with Cowart on the shelf.
Isaiah Ford: The receiver, who was picked up at the midway point of the season, is a healthy scratch. The promotion of Donte Moncrief will likely provide depth in Ford’s place.
Nice day for football – 11:31 p.m.
— Jim McBride (@globejimmcbride) November 29, 2020
Can Pats stay alive? – 11 a.m.
Welcome back to football! This afternoon, we’ve got the Patriots and the Cardinals, set to kick things off just after 1 p.m. For a New England (4-6) team that is seeing its playoff hopes starting to grow dim, this one shapes up as a must-win game. As for the Cardinals (6-4), they’re looking to keep pace in a rapidly developing NFC playoff picture. Keep it here all afternoon, as we’ll have all the updates you need, including any breaking news from Foxborough, injury analysis, a breakdown for Patriots’ fans when it comes to rooting interests around the league, the latest betting news, weather updates, and more. But for now, we’ll start with the pregame reading list.
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