GLENDALE, Ariz. — For their first game of the season, the New England Patriots were without quarterback Tom Brady who was suspended for four games by Roger Goodell. And even without All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski, the team still managed to survive. A missed 47-yard field goal by Arizona’s Chandler Cantanzaro secured a 23-21 win against the Arizona Cardinals during the last seconds of NBC’s Sunday Night Football game.
“We were obviously not ready to play,” said Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians after the game. “They out-played us, and we will learn from it.”
The Patriots were the only team from the AFC East to win on Sunday, while New York, the Jets, Buffalo, and Miami all lost. Coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots again proved they know how to win big games.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, in his first NFL start, did just enough to lead the Patriots to victory. Garoppolo threw for 264 yards to help the Patriots win.
New England is the only NFL team to win 12 division titles in 13 years. The team is off to another fast start. They have won 12 or more games in six consecutive seasons.
New England’s win at Arizona spoiled the NFC West Champion Cardinals home opener and the great performance by Minnesota native Larry Fitzgerald, Jr., who caught his career 99th and 100th career touchdowns. His 100th touchdown reception from Palmer lit up the University of Phoenix Stadium, and gave the Cardinals a 21-20 lead — their first of the game in the fourth quarter.
Fitzgerald’s 100th touchdown was a spectacular diving over-the-shoulder catch. He’s now tied for eighth all-time on the touchdown list with Hall of Famers Steve Largent and Tim Brown.
“I’m glad to put it behind me so I don’t have to talk about it anymore,” Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald also responded to a NFL Network report that said he was telling people close to him that he was retiring after the season: “You know, I don’t talk about the future. I don’t even know what I’m having for dinner tonight, let alone what I’m doing next year,” he said.
“I signed another year for a reason. I believe in what we’re doing here,” he continued. “I believe in the guys that I have in this room, the head coach [Bruce Arians and] his staff.
“[Owner] Michael Bidwill is doing everything he can to put us in a position to win,” continued Fitzgerald. “That’s where my mindset is at. What I’m doing next year is of no importance. This is the year. And I want to make sure we make it great.”
With eight catches for 81 yards and two touchdowns in the game, Fitzgerald also passed Torry Holt for 14th place on the NFL’s all-time reception list.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.