Victory monday is back in New England, and it certainly came sooner than most, including myself, expected. Heading into Sunday nights matchup the Patriots were given no chance to win due to the absence of their two best players; Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski.
Beating Arizona in their stadium is no ordinary win as it is, so given that they did it without those two its really quite something. So how did they pull it off?
1. The Patriots defense did their job
The slogan, "do your job" that has followed Patriots teams over years was on full display last night in the desert. The Cardinals were given two short fields after a pair of New England fumbles, putting the Patriots defense in a tough spot. Both turnovers led to Cardinal touchdowns, one of which being just a 33 yard drive, so you cant put that on them. Patricia's defense gave Palmer and crew plenty of problems all night, holding the Arizona offense who averaged just over 408 yards per game last season to just 344 on sunday night.
The Cardinals love to stretch the field, but it was clear New England's priority was to keep everything in front of them, and not allow Arizona to get into any rhythm, which, for the most part, they were able to do successfully the majority of the evening.
2. Jimmy Garopollo is no joke
While it's too early to induct him into Canton, one thing is clear and thats that Jimmy Garopollo played far better than most expected him to last night. He knows that he's not Tom Brady, and that it wasn't his job to win the game. He just went out their and played his game, and it was awesome.
From the first drive, which he capped off with a perfect 37 yard touchdown throw to Chis Hogan, to the final drive which ended in the go-ahead and eventual game winning field goal, Jimmy Garopollo looked great last night. What stood out to me was his poise, here he was in his first NFL start, in a hostile environment, orchestrating a game winning drive, avoided the big mistakes young quarterbacks tend to make, and finished the game with a passer rating of 106.1 Not bad.
So in what was a fantastic start to the 2016 season, one win doesn't earn you much in this league, so we're #OnToMiami.