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Observations From a Disjointed Patriots’ Win in Arizona

Mark Morse
Mark Morse on Twitter
December 13, 2022 at 12:01 pm ET

Observations From a Disjointed Patriots’ Win in Arizona(PHOTO: Michael Chow / USA TODAY NETWORK)

🕑 Read Time: 5 minutes

This was not a pretty game.  Players dropping left and right.  Kyler Murray blows out his knee on a non-contact injury which completely changed the game.  Colt McCoy is not a bad backup and he was completing his passes at over 70%.  He threw for 67.5% tonight (27 or 40).  Patriots lose Jack Jones, Rhamondre Stevenson, and DeVante Parker early.  The offensive line was not good and the Pats were forced to play two rookies Kevin Harris and Pierre Strong.


  • We witnessed the future of the NE Patriots and the 2022 draft class was on display. Rookies RBs Kevin Harris and Pierre Strong scored their 1st NFL TDs and fellow rookie Marcus Jones had his 1st NFL INT.  I liked Harris blitz pickup.   Harris had 8 carries for 26 yards and a TD and Strong had 5 carries for 70 yards.  Cole Strange has been playing every game (not well though) and Tyquan Thornton was 4 of 5 receptions for 38 yards.
  • Add in contributions from Jack Jones, Bailey Zappe, Brenden Schooler, and DeMarcus Mitchell on Special Teams.
  • DT Sam Roberts has only been active in 5 games. Don’t forget they have Offensive Linemen Chasen Hines and Andrew Stueber on IR and Non-Football Injury.
  • Marcus Jones looks good on Offense with his 4.36 speed. In the off-season, I would like to see him moved to the slot receiver.  That was a great hit by Marcus Jones on TE Trey McBride.
  • Pierre Strong showed off his speed on that 44-yard draw play. We have seen the speed that Tyquan Thornton has.



  • It was obvious from Murray’s reaction that he was gone for the game and probably for a long time. His reaction was that it was an ACL tear, which was later confirmed by team reporters.  This injury could last well into the middle of next year or later.
  • What a strange game! A rash of injuries and Offensive penalties hurt both teams.  Patriots lost Rhamondre Stevenson to an ankle injury, DeVante Parker to a concussion, and Jack Jones to a knee injury, all in the 1st  This led to a choppy start of the game, especially on Offense where the Pats were already missing leading receiver Jakobi Meyers and back-up running back Damien Harris.
  • At one point I actually saw Shaun Wade trying to cover a Cardinals receiver, to no avail. This was to give Marcus Jones a break since he was playing offense, defense, and Special Teams.
  • Later, Devin McCourty took a knock to the head and was seen entering the Blue Injury tent.
  • Did the field at State Farm Stadium have anything to do with the rash of injuries?



  • The defense won this game for the Patriots. The Patriots stuffed a 4th down play with 36 seconds left in the half.  Surprised Arizona didn’t try for the FG.  If they make the FG, the Cards would have gone up 16 – 7.  Instead, Mac Jones moves the team down the field for a 51-yard FG.  That was a backbreaker.  Half-time score 13-10.  The patriots come out and get the ball to start the 2nd half and score an FG to tie it up.  That was the critical play of the game and Kingsbury should be heavily criticized for it.
  • The Patriots’ Defense didn’t give up any points in the second half and held Arizona to 348 total yards.
  • Josh Uche had 3 more sacks and hit Colt McCoy allowing Marcus Jones to intercept the ball. Uche and Judon are the 1st pair of pass rushers that play on the same team to have double-digit sacks this year.
  • The Defense came up with 6 sacks for -45 yards. The Cardinals O-line is pretty bad with 6 players on IR.  Only Beachum is a returning starter and he resembles a turnstile at times.
  • Bentley led the team with 10 tackles followed by Dugger with 9. Dugger forced the key fumble by Deandre Hopkins (holding the ball like a loaf of bread).  However, he also had a big whiff on James Conner allowing him a big gain of 23 yards.
  • The Pats’ Defense held Arizona to 4.5 yards per pass.
  • The Patriots were brutal on 3rd down again, 3-11. Arizona was worse at 4 of 14.  The big stat was the 1-5 on 4th down by Arizona.  The tipped pass by Patriots linebacker Jahlani Tavai was a huge play on 4th  McBride would have been gone for a TD if Tavai doesn’t get a hand on it.  Later in the game, Tavai got his hands on another pass that should have been intercepted.
  • McMillan’s scoop and score was a very athletic move. He stated after the game it was his second TD, the last being as a freshman at Ohio St.  He wore an Eddie George Ohio St jersey to the game.
  • Daniel Ekuale contributed with a sack, QB Pressure, and 3 Tackles in limited playing time.  I liked his effort.




  • Mac Jones threw an INT when Hunter Henry was beaten and the pass rusher got a hand on Jones’s arm. ARI only had 1 sack despite blitzing 11 times in the 1st.  Credit the Patriots’ Offensive line and Mack Jones for getting the ball out quickly.
  • Arizona held the Patriots to 328 yards of total offense and 26:39 of Time of Possession. This against one of the worst defenses in the league.
  • Agholor dropped as many passes as he caught (5 of 10). He had this problem when he played in Philadelphia.  Shouldn’t the Patriots have known this before they signed him to that big Free Agent contract?
  • DeVante Parker is leading the league again (3rd straight year) as the worst WR in getting separation according to Next Gen Stats.
  • Kendrick Bourne played well when he was forced into action and was 5 catches on 5 targets for 47 yards. We have been crying to see more of Bourne.
  • Loved the Mac Jones signal to Bourne when he detected a blitz from the Cardinals. Bourne was the hot receiver and ran a slant for 8 yards.  I believe that was on their 75-yard drive for a TD in the 2nd
  • Hunter Henry was 3 catches on 3 targets, for 70 yards. Two big plays of 30 and 39 yards on seam passes.  When Jones got the time he picked the Cards’ secondary apart.    Jones held the safety in place with his eyes and found Henry streaking down the right seam.
  • Please don’t call that stretch run anymore Matt Patricia! Trent Brown can’t block for it.


Other Observations


  • James Conner had a big day with 85 yards rushing on only 15 carries and a TD. He ran hard for a 5.66 average.
  • Both teams were awful getting called for 8 penalties each. Patriots penalties were for 80 yards lost, while Arizona was 48 yards.
  • How big of a game did Marcus Jones have? Jeff Howe of the Athletic had him with these stats through 3 quarters:
    • 1 catch 12 yards
    • 1 INT 18 yards
    • 2 Kick Returns 47 yards
    • 7 Tackles (6 solo)
    • 2 Pass Break Ups
    • and a partridge in a pear tree
  • Evan Lazar tweeted during the game that the Patriots don’t have any NFL-caliber Offensive Tackles. Trent Brown was just plain awful when he wasn’t getting called for a penalty and Conner McDermott was on the ground all night whiffing at cut blocks.  Tackle must be a priority in the off-season.  If they are going to spend money in Free Agency, get a Pro Bowl quality OT to anchor the line and draft another in the 1st
  • Another F Bomb from Mac Jones. He needs to control his emotions better.  Also saw him wave off Matt Patricia as he was heading back to the huddle.
  • What was the fumble on a botched handoff with 10 seconds left in the half? It looked as if Kevin Harris was not expecting the ball.
  • Mike Reiss had a good point. Patriots lead the league with 85 points off turnovers and are also 1st in most points by Defense and Special Teams.


Do not get overly excited by this win.  If Kyler Murray hadn’t been hurt, the Cardinals would have won.  Matt Patricia’s play-calling is still brutal.  How many screen passes did they throw last night?  The only QB the Patriots have beat that is considered a decent NFL QB is Jared Goff and that was early in the season.  This result was because of the defense, not the offense.  The Cardinals are one of the worst defenses in the league and it took a scoop and score, followed by an Interception to build the winning margin.   You won’t get that over the last 4 games against quality opponents.

Tuesday Breakdown, Observations, Thoughts On The Patriots Win Over The Cardinals 

About Mark Morse

Merrimack Valley native and lifelong fan of the New England Patriots. My earliest memories of the Patriots were attending as a child with my dad, the off-season practice at Phillips Academy. I was at the Patriots game at Harvard Stadium in 1970 where Bob “Harpo” Gladieux was called out of the stands by the stadium announcer over the PA to play in the game. Analyzing the draft since ESPN first started to televise it in 1980 and former writer for the Lowell Sun Newspaper.

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