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Jimmy Garoppolo leads Patriots to upset over Cardinals

*Chandler Catanzaro missed a 47-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter as the Patriots upset the Cardinals, 23-21, behind a steady debut from Jimmy Garoppolo. *

  1. Filling the shoes of a football legend isn't easy, but Jimmy Garoppolo handled his first start for the Patriots with the requisite composure and stability of his suspended predecessor, Tom Brady. Garoppolo (24-for-33, 264 yards, 1 TD, 1 rec!) led the Patriots on three scoring drives of five minutes or more in the second half, mixing short slants to James White with gashes from LeGarrette Blount with broken play bombs to Danny Amendola. Like Brady, Garoppolo kept Arizona on its heels with his mobility out of a quick Cardinals pass rush. Stat of the night: Jimmy G went 8-for-10 on third down with 107 yards and seven first downs.
  1. *Dear Larry Fitzgerald: Never retire. Please and thank you. Sincerely, everyone, except the Patriots ... and the Packers. * On the same day that NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Fitz expects 2016 to be his final season, the 33-year-old Cardinals wideout showed he still had some snaps, if not years, left in him. Fitzgerald was Arizona's leading receiver on the night, catching eight balls for 81 yards and two touchdowns, including a stunning helmet catch for his 100th career TD grab. Arizona's own Larry Legend secured three catches and accounted for 46 yards on its final drive, taking the Cards into field goal range before, well...
  1. Arizona started its last-gasp attempt at a win with 3:38 on the clock and no timeouts to work with, thanks to some interesting strategy by Bruce Arians, who used his remaining timeouts on the Patriots' game-winning possession. Arians' bold move nearly paid off until Arizona faced a fourth-and-five from the Patriots' 29 down two points with just over a minute to go and the clock running. Bill Belichick neglected to call his final timeout, which would have offered the Pats more time to score after a successful Arizona field goal, until kicker Chandler Catanzaro got set to take the game-winning kick with 41 seconds left. One might say that Belichick sacrificed 30 seconds for the potential to ice the rushed Cardinals kicker. One might also say that Belichick forgot to take the timeout and put his offense led by the young Garoppolo at a disadvantage. Either way, Catanzaro missed, the Hoodie smirked and the world turned.
  1. The David Johnson hype train has left the station and is already running through and around otherwise competent defenders. Enter this 45-yard scamper, during which Johnson spins away from a TFL, nearly falls, stiff arms a cornerback and keeps chugging, as the first clip in his Hall of Fame highlight reel.
  1. Chandler Jones left the Patriots via trade in the offseason, but found himself in their backfield an awful lot in his first game as a Cardinal. The former New England pass rusher sacked Garoppolo once on the evening and finished with five total tackles. Guard Jonathan Cooper, the piece New England received in return for Jones, did not play with a foot injury.
  1. Patriots running back Blount had a typically up-and-down evening in the desert, giving New England the lead with authority on one drive with and surrendering points to Arizona on the next. Blount started his third quarter by carrying six Cardinal defenders into the end zone to give the Pats a 10-point lead. However, on the next drive, Blount gave it right back when Frostee Rucker forced the back to fumble on New England's own 33-yard line; Arizona cashed in just five plays later. It appears both sides suffered from... Blount Force Trauma
  1. Thanks to Catanzaro, the Patriots are now 36-1 in their last 37 games when leading by three or more points entering the fourth quarter, per NFL Research.
  1. Sunday night's thriller was the sixth game this weekend to be decided by two points or less. Welcome back, football. We missed you. Don't ever leave us again, deal?
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