FOXBORO -- After making his first four field goal attempts of the day, Stephen Gostkowski missed a 42-yard field goal wide left with one second remaining as the Patriots fell 20-18 in shocking fashion. Down two points, Brandon Spikes forced a fumble with 1:01 left in the fourth quarter to give the Patriots a chance at the miraculous finish. Danny Woodhead appeared to scored the go-ahead TD on a 30-yard touchdown run on the second play after the Cardinals fumble but Rob Gronkowski was called for offensive holding.
Tom Brady connected on a late TD pass to Gronkowski but missed on the two-point connection to his tight end, while the Cardinals turned a blocked punt into seven points as Arizona shocked the Patriots. The loss snapped New England's winning streak in home openers at 10. It was also their first home opening loss in Gillette Stadium history.
The Patriots, hurt by the loss of Aaron Hernandez to a right ankle injury, were sluggish for the entire first half. Brady was just 7-of-12 for 75 yards and a 42.0 quarterback rating. He was sacked three times and threw an interception to Patrick Peterson, which was caused when defensive tackle Darnell Dockett got his hand on the pass at the line of scrimmage.
The Cardinals jumped out in front 6-0 on a pair of first quarter field goals from Jay Feely.
The Patriots came back to tie the game at halftime on field goals of 46 and 34 yards by Gostkowski. Late in the second quarter, Wes Welker caught a 25-yard pass from Brady as the Patriots faced third and 10 from their own 10. With the catch, Welker passed Troy Brown for the all-time franchise lead in receptions with 558. Brown was honored at halftime after being inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Brady found Welker on a 32-yard seam route to open the second half and the Patriots seem to find their rhythm. But the drive stalled at the Arizona 30 with three straight incompletions as the Patriots settled for a 51-yard Gostkowski field goal that gave New England its first lead of the day.
The Patriots forced a punt but couldn't convert a first down as Welker dropped a pass from Brady near the Patriots sideline. On the next play, Zoltan Mesko had his punt blocked at the goal line. The ball bounced out of bounds at the Patriots 2. Three plays later, Kevin Kolb found Andre Roberts on an in-cut for the game's first touchdown a 13-9 Arizona lead.
The Cardinals later drove 75 yards in nine plays, capped off with a five-yard keeper up the middle for a touchdown and a 20-9 lead with 14 minutes left. Vince Wilfork then left the field with 7:56 left in the fourth with an apparent leg injury, as he was immediately tended to on the Patriots sideline by team doctor Tom Gill. Wilfork returned on the next defensive series.
The Patriots drew to within one score on Gostkowski's fourth field goal of the day, a 53-yard field goal, with 6:50 left in the fourth. The Patriots drove 82 yards in 11 plays, including five completions to Gronkowski and a five-yard TD pass with 2:49 left.
The Patriots hit the road again next Sunday when they play the Ravens in Sunday night football at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. For complete coverage from Chris Price, Mike Petraglia, Kirk Minihane and Ryan Hadfield, visit the Patriots team page at weei.com/patriots and the blog It Is What It Is.
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