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One of the biggest reasons I had the Patriots losing to the Cardinals last night was because I thought Jimmy Garoppolo would struggle to drive the ball down the field consistently. Turns out he was one of the biggest reasons New England won. 

I could not be happier to have been wrong.

Garoppolo was excellent in his second career start, completing 24 of 33 passes for 264 yards and a touchdown against one of the better defenses in the NFL. He wasn't afraid to throw deep, into tight space, on the run, etc. Two of the throws he completed that really stood out to me were his touchdown pass to Chris Hogan in the first quarter and a 32-yard strike to Danny Amendola on a third-and-15 from their own 20-yard line. 

Garoppolo looked poised and unafraid of the big stage, which bodes really well for the Patriots moving forward. There were times in the preseason where Garoppolo looked lost and would hold onto the football for too long, which usually leads to bad things. Last night, those issues didn't really show up.

I don't want to get ahead of myself, but the Patriots just beat the toughest team they'll face during these four games without Tom Brady. The chance that they go 4-0 with Garoppolo now, if he continues to play the way he did last night, just increased exponentially. 

Mind you, Garoppolo also did this without Rob Gronkowski, the best tight end in the game, Nate Solder and Jonathan Cooper, who are both starting offensive lineman. 

All this being said, however, one game isn't going to determine how Garoppolo will play over the next three weeks. He could easily regress next Sunday against a Dolphins defense that looked pretty good against the Seahawks yesterday. 

But for right now, the Patriots and their fans can breathe easy. This was a game not many people had them winning, and it's one of the most satisfying victories of the Bill Belichick era. 

Follow me on Twitter - @JesseGaunce

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Jesse Gaunce 9/12/2016 07:52:00 AM Edit
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