New England Patriots

New England Patriots Defeat Arizona Cardinals 23-21

It was the first of four games playing without starting quarterback Tom Brady

The Patriots beat the Cardinals 23-21 in their season opener on Sunday Night Football.

The Pats scored their points on a touchdown pass from fill-in quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to newly acquired wide receiver Chris Hogan, a touchdown run by LeGarrette Blount and three field goals from Stephen Gostkowski.

The Patriots went up 10-0 in the first quarter, before the Cardinals narrowed the lead to just three on a touchdown from quarterback Carson Palmer to wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald with four minutes left in the half. 

Early in the third quarter, Garoppolo hit rookie wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell on a long pass to set up Blount's touchdown run. But Blount fumbled on a possession a short time later, giving the Cardinals terrific field position that they capitalized on in a drive ending with a touchdown run by running back David Johnson.

The Patriots were driving again early in the fourth quarter before penalties forced them to settle for another Gostkowski field goal.

The Cardinals then scored on a long drive capped by another Palmer-to-Fitzgerald TD toss, followed shortly thereafter by Gostkowski's third field goal.

The Cardinals drove to within field goal range as time wound down, but kicker Chandler Catanzaro missed a kick with under a minute left, and the Pats were able to hold on to win.

The Patriots are now 1-0 heading into next week's matchup against the Miami Dolphins in Foxboro.

Sunday's win was especially big because the team was playing without starting quarterback Tom Brady, who was suspended four games for his role in the "Deflategate" saga. Also missing was star tight end Rob Gronkowski, who sat out with a hamstring issue.

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