PatsDraft.Com

2016 Season Blog.

Arizona.

4th Quarter.

By TOM

Greetings Pats Fans,

First off I just want to thank all the fans of this site. I have been promoting my books for sale primarily on this site. As a result, I have sold almost 500 books in the past year. Thank you for your support and patronage, both are greatly appreciated. I cannot tell you how happy it made me when I read that report. So thank you Draft fans and Patriot fans alike, and mostly thank you to all the fans of my books and website worldwide.

Miracle Win.

By TOM

1st and 10, the Cards lined up in a twins-left Weak Shotgun. The Pats matched up in a 3-3 Nickel, with both safeties only a couple of yards behind Collins. The Pats sent four as McClellin and Collins drop. The protection was excellent. But the coverage was better. Palmer had to dump it off to David (Johnson) curling out of the backfield. McCourty was there in coverage. David tried to juke him, but McCourty hit him hard, spun him around, and held on until McClellin, Collins, and Chung crashed into him and sent him backwards.

2nd and 5, the Cards lined up in a 3-Wide Winged shotgun. The Pats matched up with seven guys on the LOS, two down and five up. They sent six, and only Collins dropped a little. Chung got a great lane to Carson, and got in a good shove but didn't knock him down. He hit Ellington who snuck out of the backfield behind Chung. He just flew in a straight line angled up field and to the sideline for a First. That guy is fast.

1st and 10, the Cards lined up in a 3-Wide Singleback. The Pats matched up in a 2-4 Nickel with Chung up at the Will. The pocket isn't clean, but Palmer had time. He finally fired at Floyd, and Butler had the coverage. Then Floyd whined like a baby, and the refs give him a pacifier in the form of a Hold.

1st and 10, the Cards lined up in a Singleback. The Pats matched up in a 3-3 Nickel, with Chung up at the Will in front of the TE. They ran a Smash. Sheard had position, but got a little too aggressive going inside and lost the edge. David was able to bounce it outside around him. Hightower hit David helmet to helmet, and David spun out and amazingly maintained his balance. Chung, Collins, and Ryan all got tripped up by the trash created by Hightower.

This allowed David to get outside and turn on the speed. He shoved off McCourty. Then ran away from Harmon, but McCourty did a great job recovering. He sprinted up behind David from the blindside, and threw an upper cut at the ball. This was one of those things as well. McCourty punched the ball as he tackled him from behind, and David never saw him. He had no business holding onto that ball, but he did.

1st and 10 at the 12, and the Cards lined up Empty. The Pats matched up in a 3-4. They brought seven. Sheard burst off the strongside edge and forced Palmer to throw a little early. He threw it a little behind Floyd, and Butler got a hand on it. He allowed Floyd cut in front of him. Then he dived in front of him and knocked it down.

2nd and 10 from the 12, the Cards lined up in a 3-Wide Singleback, which they passed out of the last time they were on the goal line. The Pats matched up in a 4-3. Palmer dropped and threw a fade as Sheard, who had burst inside the ORT, was charging him like a hungry rhino. But the ball was perfectly thrown. It drifted right into Floyd's hands over Butler's outside shoulder. Then Butler slashed with his inside hand and knocked the ball down again.

3rd and 10, the Cards lined up Empty with a Bunch on the Blindside. The Pats lined up with 2-3 Dime, with five guys on the line. The Pats sent three, and Hightower turned the corner and reached out and touch Palmer as he threw. Floyd was uncovered at the three, with the DBs zoned behind him. He turned to the endzone, but Ryan and Butler took him out.

1st and Goal from the one and half, the Cards lined up in a 3-Wide Weak shotgun. The Pats brought six guys up to the line, three up three down, with two ILBs behind them. They brought everyone as the Cards ran a little play action to David. Palmer lofted a fade to Fitzgerald, and the ball was way too far behind him to catch. But he bent and twisted back, while horizontal to the ground. He snagged it out of the air. That was an unfriggin' believable catch. Pats-20. Cards-21.

Garoppolo came out for the biggest test of his career so far. "That goes back to the preparation part," Jimmy-G said. "We were put in that situation, and I think the guys around me responded very well. All across the board, the guys up front, skill guys, defense, special teams, whatever it may be, everyone stayed calm and reacted well to it." He was down a point late in the 4th on the road. This is where legends are made.

1st and 10, the Pats lined up in a 3-Wide Singleback. He ran a very convincing play action, with his back to the line. But the Cards weren't buying it. Mr. Jones burst inside of Cannon and got Garoppolo.

2nd and 15, the Pats lineup in a 4-Wide Strong shotgun. Which was not a formation they used a lot last year, but did use more in the Preseason. They set up a screen, but White was covered. Garoppolo had to throw the ball into White's feet.

3rd and 15, the Pats lined up in a trips-left Weak shotgun. Edelman went in motion behind Hogan and Amendola. White and Bennett stayed in to block. They faked the screen to Edelman. Amendola was lined up inside. He angled outside for about seven yards, and then cut inside. Garoppolo pump faked and then ran outside to the Blindside. Amendola saw Garoppolo take off, and he popped backwards as both DBs covering him eyed Garoppolo. He broke open behind them, and Garoppolo hit Amendola with a long pass over midfield.

"I think Jimmy does a good job in the pocket. He has got good vision. He saw a couple of opportunities to run and then he saw a couple of other opportunities to slide in the pocket, extend the play," BB said. "The play you're talking about to Amendola that was one [where he slide out of the pocket to extend the play]. He had another one to Julian  that got called back but I thought it was another kind of equally good play where he slid up in the pocket, didn't cross the line of scrimmage and hit Julian for the first down, but the play was called back because of a penalty. But I thought he did a good job of that. He doesn't hang on to the ball. He gets it out of there on time but if things are covered then he has made good decisions in and out of the pocket on those extended plays." Amendola got hammered after the catch, but fell forward over midfield to the 48.

The Pats lined up in a Singleback. They gave it to Blount, but the Safety Jefferson blitzed off the edge, and hammered into him for a heart wrenching loss.

2nd and 16, the Pats went 4-Wide Strong shotgun. Garoppolo had time. He looked for too long to his left, and bounced up a little into the pocket. Then he spotted Amendola crossing from the right. He hit him just short of the 1st down.

3rd and 3, Empty. He looked to the right and spotted James White. White was blanketed by Jefferson high. So Jimmy fired it low. White crunched down and cradled the ball. The DB dived on top of White, and couldn't believe that he caught it. He punched at White, which should have been a personal foul. Then jumped up and freaked out.

1st and 10 at the Cards-34, the Pats lined up in a 3-Wide Singleback. Jefferson burst into the backfield again, and tripped Blount. 2nd and 11, the clock ticked it's way under 6-minutes. The Pats lined up in a 3-Wide Weak Shotgun. Garoppolo tried to hit Bennett on an Out, but it was low and in the dirt.

3rd and 11, the Pats stayed in the 3-Wide Singleback. They ran Blount outside. He got the corner and turned up field. He cutback, right as Jefferson lowered his head. Blount straight-armed him, as he dived at his legs. He hopped through his arms with pure power. This allowed him to get an amazing 1st down, and put all the pressure back on the Cards, as the clock tick-tocked under 5-minutes.

1st and 10 at the 22, and the Pats are in a quandary here. Do they go for it or work the clock and take the field goal. They decided to go for it as they lined up Empty. They got called for a delay of game.

1st and 15 at the 27, Pats lined up in a 4-Wide Weak shotgun, so they can run or pass. Garoppolo dropped looking straight down field. White snuck out of the backfield. Jimmy knew he was going to White. He snapped back to him, and lofted a perfect pass in front of him. White had to cutback twice as the Cards over pursued. Then he danced around until he picked up seven.

Arizona called timeout, and I don't understand what all the hubbub was about. Is this what it has really come down too in the media. Catering to the dumbest common denominator. The Pats were on a short field, and the Cards could save some ticks off the clock or some timeouts. Arians chose to burn the timeouts, which made perfect sense. You can control the clock on offense, but you can't on defense, and it was a gamble either way. Twitter is making this world so sad.

2nd and 8, the Pats lined up in a 3-Wide Weak shotgun. They sent Amendola in motion right. He continued outside after the snap. Garoppolo waggled behind him and hit him in stride. He turned up field for a few. And the Cards burned their final timeout.

3rd and 5, the Pats lined up Empty, and motioned White into the backfield. Garoppolo got pressure from two guys. He used his great feet to make them miss, and then took off. He got out to the flat and gave a shimmy-shimmy-shake, but couldn't shake Buchanan to force the Field Goal. Gostkowski was Money. Pats-23. Cards-21.

In many ways the kickoff was the play of the game, and demonstrated how the Pats won this game. When the Cards had the lead and kicked off, they dumbly pounded it past the Endzone for a free touchback. No time off the clock and no danger. When they Pats scored and took the lead back, Gostkowski pouched it inside the 15. This caused all kinds of trouble for Arizona, including a penalty that took it back to the Eight.

This was clearly one of those games where the special teams were the difference. "I thought it was really good," BB said about the game changing play of the special teams. "Our kickoff team, we went into the game feeling like we had to make some field position plays in the kicking game. You don't want to put their offense on a short field. If you can pile a few more yards onto the drive, hopefully it works in your favor. I know there was a lot of sentiment to eliminate that play, but those are the kinds of plays that are good strategy plays in football.

"Certainly, we had an opportunity to kick it out of the end zone on the last kickoff, but with a good field goal kicker, a good offense, good quarterback, we try to put them on as long a field as we could. Chung did a great job and went down there and made a play. [Cyrus] Jones, as he did all night, was a big factor on coverage. I think he was the one that got the holding call. That was a great situational play and we needed it at that time. In the end, those yards showed up on the other end of the field." The Cards special teams looked like a clown show, while the Pats' looked like a group of professionals. When you win by a point, you can usually look at specials teams as the factor that decided the game.

The Cards came out 1st and 10, at their own 8-yard line with 3:38 left on the clock and no timeouts. They lined up in a 4-Wide Weak shotgun, and were going to need a few miracles to win this game. The Pats matched up in a 1-4 Dime. They sent three. Then Long leaped out into the flat, and Hightower turned and blitzed. Carson hit Brown in the flat and Long ran over and got in on the tackle with Butler and Chung.

2nd and 2, the Cards lined up in a 4-Wide Strong shotgun. The Pats matched up with a 1-4 Dime. Ryan was lined up on Fitzgerald in the slot. He blitzed right into David and they grabbed each other. Carson just said thank you and hit Fitzgerald calmly for the first. He threw it so fast at him that Fitzgerald didn't see it until it almost hit him in the facemask. That was miracle number one.

1st and 10, the Cards lined up in a 4-Wide Weak shotgun. The Pats matched up in a 2-3 Dime. They brought four. Hightower had a good rush, but was washed past Palmer. He threw it to Brown, and Coleman jumped in front of him to the ball. Brown actually defended that pass, or Coleman had the INT.

2nd and 10, the Cards lined up in a 3-Wide Weak Singleback. The Pats crowded the line with six guys. They brought three and dropped one. Collins stayed at the line, and Hightower hopped back and then moved forward cautiously. He was obviously looking for something that wasn't there. Palmer threw a beautiful pass to Fitzgerald that was just a pitch and catch between two 35-plus year old veterans playing pitch and catch. Miracle number two.

1st and 10, the Cards lined up in a 3-Wide Strong shotgun. The Pats backed off a little and put three guys on the line. They sent five. Collins blitzed from the second level, and leaped up and tipped the pass.

2nd and 10, the Cards lined up in a Trips-right Strong shotgun. The Pats matched up with five guys on the LOS, and spread them out wide. They bring all five. Flowers broke free at Palmer, but it was on the side that David was sneaking out of the backfield. So he was able to just flick it out to him. If he had been looking at the other side, Flowers would have had him. But instead McCourty had to stop David all alone in the flat, and he shoved him nicely out of bounds short.

3rd and 6, the Cards went 4-Wide Weak shotgun, and motioned Empty. The Pats milled about, and no one put their hand down. They had four guys on the LOS, and Hightower was looking to blitz from the outside. They brought four and the O-line held. Palmer had time to hit Fitzgerald again. "Larry's a good player," BB said. "He made a lot of good plays tonight. Stuff you got to cover." Miracle number three.

1st and 10 at the 34, at the 2-minute warning, and now the Pats needed a three miracles to win. The Cards lined up in a 3-Wide Weak shotgun. The Pats brought seven guys up to the line in a Nickel. They bring six, and this was a great defensive call. They played run all the way. The Cards decided to work some clock and handed the ball off to David (Johnson). He headed out to the strongside and three defenders were waiting there for him on the edge. He stopped and tried to cutback, which ended the run right their. That defensive play call was miracle number 1.

The Cards lined up in a 3-Wide Singleback. The Pats happily went Big. They lined up in a 3-4 with both safeties a yard behind Collins. Carson dropped back, in a one-option pass play. He tried to loft it over Coleman, but he leaped up and caught it out of bounds. The refs call a Hold on the Cards for miracle number 2.

2nd and 19, the Cards lined up in a 3-Wide Winged shotgun. The Pats matched up in a 3-3 Nickel, knowing the Cards have to pass. Palmer faked the pass to his left to David, and then spun to his right and hit Ellington. But Hightower did a great job fighting off the ORT, and got outside of Ellington and forced him inside toward Collins and Long, but Sheard got there first and took him down. That was just great team defense.

3rd and 23, and the Cards were out of field goal range. The Cards lined up in a 4-Wide Strong shotgun. The Pats dropped into a prevent with three rushers lined up on the right side of the Cards' O-line. The Pats called timeout. 3rd and 23 again, the Cards lined up in the same formation. The Pats matched up in a similar scheme, but they brought Hightower up to the line on the blindside. They brought four. Hightower and Flowers had good rushes. But Palmer had time and threw to Brown. He was popped down at the 29. The Cards rushed out to kick the field goal as the clock tick-tocked. BB waited 20-seconds to call a timeout.

"If they would've run right out and lined up to kick it, then I don't think I would've taken the timeout," BB said. "Generally, I don't think you want to go out and line up your field goal team, and get it all set, and then make your kicker wait 20 seconds to kick it. I mean you could theoretically, but most kickers don't like that. I don't really think that's the way to go, personally.

"When they came out there, that's what I thought they were going to do. Run right out and kick because it was fourth down. Then, the holder wasn't even down. The kicker was 10 yards off to the side warming up. It looked like they were going to bleed it down. I thought we could save maybe 20 seconds or so in the 40 second clock. Somewhere in there. I thought we'd be able to save that. Obviously, if the kick was no good, we're kneeling anyways. It wouldn't make any difference. That would have only helped us if the kick had been good."

4th and 5 at the 29, the Cards lined up to attempt a 47-yard field goal. The snap was low and outside. The holder had to reach back and pin it to the ground. This disrupted the kicker mentally. He twisted too far to his right, and hooked right, for miracle number 3.

The Pats held on just enough. "We knew that they used all of their timeouts, so it was about trying to get a stop," McCourty said. "There were a couple plays we felt we could of ended it earlier. The holding penalty was huge to knock them out of field goal range. Once you get to that point, every yard matters. Bill (Belichick) always tells us the percentage of how far kickers are kicking. At the end of the day, all of the kickers in the NFL are pretty good. You never know what’s going to happen. We just try to put as much pressure as possible on him and hope he misses at the end. At the end of the game, you either win or lose with one kick." Then the Cards clown show special teams came out and lost the game.

The Pats stood up and had a miracle win: without their two best players, on the road, with a young QB who never started a game, with two backup O-tackles, and two rookies who started on the O-line.

"Obviously, I'm really proud of our team here tonight," BB said. "I thought we got great effort from all three phases, but a good complimentary game. These guys worked really hard during the week. There was a lot of preparation in this game: meetings, walkthroughs. Obviously practice and film study. The Cardinals are a tough team to get ready for and these guys really worked hard and we had a grinding week.

"But, they came down here and played a tough, physical football game against a good team. We were just able to make a couple more plays than the Cardinals. There's obviously some things we need to clean up and work on. It's good to come down here and win. It's good to go on the road, play well as a team, and get contributions from all three phases.

"The big point of the game was the kickoff. Making the tackle down there in the Fifteen. Getting the penalty. The position ended up being a real big factor there, I'm sure on the final kick. Really good plays on special teams, defensively. It's a good offensive unit that we competed hard against and they made some plays."

In the end this was a miracle victory with difficulties than you can count. They were 3,000 miles from home: without the GOAT, without the Gronk, without the starting OLT, and with a QB having his first career NFL start. "Well, we had one false start. Too many penalties," thanks Bill. "But look, they competed hard. It's a good defense. They've got some good players. We blocked them and sometimes, we had trouble blocking them, but we competed hard and we made enough plays. We were able to control the ball at times. At other times, not so well.

"But those guys, they fought them all the way and we fought them all the way in all three phases. I thought we had a great effort from all our players and they played with a lot of toughness. It's a loud stadium, on the road, a good team. A Super Bowl caliber team, at least that's what they're talking about. It was a good effort to come down here and win." I told you Jimmy-G reminded me of Aaron Rogers from before he was drafted, and beyond…

Email me if you'd like a question blogged:

PatsFanMock12@yahoo.com

The dogs on Main St howl Because they understand.

##

  If you have any questions or comments feel free to email me: