A missed field goal and suddenly, an entire offense is in question.
The New England Patriots lost on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals
20-18 after a rare missed field goal from Stephen Gostkowski. The
42-yard kick was wide left and the miss was a shock to everyone,
“There’s probably not another game where I’d be more confident going
out for a kick like that. It humbles you really quickly.”
It isn’t fair to place all of the blame on the most accurate kicker in
Patriots history as he came through four other times earlier in the
game from 46, 34, 51 and 53 yards respectively. Without his strong
performance early in the game, the Patriots didn’t have a chance
against the dominating Cardinals defense.
Perhaps it was the overall plan from offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels that contributed to the loss. Early in the first quarter, the
Patriots lost tight end Aaron Hernandez to an ankle injury after a
collision with teammate Julian Edelman. Without a doubt, Hernandez’s
absence from the game limited Brady’s passing opportunities. With
limited targets, the Patriots turned to the running game more than
usual with little success. After a stellar showing against
the Tennessee Titans, running back Stevan Ridley averaged only 3.9
yards per carry against the Cardinals. Danny Woodhead also struggled to
make an impact as he was held to only eight carries for 18 yards.
Woodhead had an opportunity to win the game in a last minute
30 yard run into the endzone. Unfortunately, the run was made possible
by a hold from tight end Rob Gronkowski which nullified the scoring
Maybe it was the Patriots defense, more specifically, the pass defense
that made second string quarterback Kevin Kolb look like, well, Tom Brady. Kolb was 15 for 27 and 140 yards with one touchdown and one
sack. Tom Brady was sacked four times and threw one interception. Kolb
had nine different targets on Sunday, all of which easily dealt with
spotty coverage. On a positive note, Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty
managed to hold Cardinals star receiver Larry Fitzgerald to just one
catch for four yards. But eliminating Fitzgerald wasn’t enough.
Another bright spot in the Patriots game was the explosive performances
by rookies Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower. Jones was a
nagging presence for Kolb, who was forced to wander outside of the
pocket several times. Hightower had five combined tackles and was
consistent in the rushing defense.
In the end, the Patriots had many opportunities to take control of the
But nothing was working in their favor.
A failed two-point conversion due to a dropped ball by Gronkowski, one
of the most dependable hands in the endzone. A missed game-winning
field goal by one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history. A
blocked punt that turned into an Arizona touchdown.
The Patriots have developed a bad habit of depending on the last drive,
and Tom Brady, to win a game. A complete and balanced football team
wins games. Miraculous offensive drives cannot be the norm and
hopefully the Patriots learned a very important lesson in a very messy
Kisha Tapangan is contributing writer for Patriots
also manages the blog Necessary Roughness with Kisha.
She can also be found on twitter @KishaT.
Feel free to email her your thoughts here.
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