Patriots did plenty to lose, but they were handed a gift in 20-17 win over Cardinals

The Patriots have lost their fair share of close games this year, so it’s good to see them escape with a 3-point win. But this win was an early Christmas gift for the Patriots, who did plenty to lose this game.

▪ It was not an impressive game by Newton by any stretch. He completed just 9 of 18 passes for 84 yards, two interceptions, and a 23.6 passer rating. He had a few nice connections with Jakobi Meyers (five catches for 52 yards), but otherwise the passing game was non-functional. The Patriots’ first three scoring drives all started in Arizona territory, and any time Newton had to drive down the field, the Patriots hit a wall.

Newton’s accuracy was all over the place, and his pocket presence was especially poor, as he had little feel for the pass rush and took three sacks; all three unnecessary. The Patriots also struggled to pick up the blitz, leading to an interception on his first pass attempt of the game.

Newton was better as a runner, rushing nine times for 46 yards and making a good decision on the option pitch to James White for the Patriots’ first touchdown. But the passing game is going backwards.

▪ What a great effort from the Patriots’ defense, who held the dynamic duo of Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins in check. The Patriots completely eliminated any downfield passing, with Murray only throwing for 170 yards on 34 pass attempts and not completing a pass longer than 19 yards. Hopkins, shadowed for most of the day by Stephon Gilmore, had just five catches for 55 yards. The Patriots made the Cardinals earn their way down the field, and the Cardinals had a 12-play field goal drive, a 15-play drive with no points, and a 16-play touchdown drive.

And what an unbelievable goal line stand at the end of the second quarter, first to keep KeeSean Johnson out of the end zone and then to stuff Kenyan Drake at the 1-inch line. If not for two ill-timed defensive holding penalties by Gilmore and Jason McCourty late in the game, the Patriots would have pitched a shutout over the final three quarters.

▪ A few great tactics by the defense. The Patriots were determined not to let Murray beat them on the outside, and Kyle Dugger and Josh Uche had great games setting the edge of the defense, like they did two weeks ago against Lamar Jackson. And the Patriots had a great cat-and-mouse game plan on third downs — they blitzed heavily in the first half but pulled back in the second half. In the third quarter they faked a big blitz, backed off, and Murray threw an interception to Adrian Phillips.

▪ The Patriots are one of the worst first-quarter teams in the NFL this season with a minus-25 point differential, and they kept it going Sunday with a horrible opening quarter. They couldn’t handle the blitz again and Newton threw an interception on his first

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Press release: Cardinals Holiday Gift Drive going virtual

ST. LOUIS, Mo., November 16, 2020 – The St. Louis Cardinals and Cardinals Care are teaming up with the American Red Cross, KMOV, and Rawlings Sporting Goods for the ninth annual Holiday Gift Drive.
Fans can support this virtual gift drive for local children of all ages by visiting

ST. LOUIS, Mo., November 16, 2020 – The St. Louis Cardinals and Cardinals Care are teaming up with the American Red Cross, KMOV, and Rawlings Sporting Goods for the ninth annual Holiday Gift Drive.

Fans can support this virtual gift drive for local children of all ages by visiting to make a tax-deductible donation November 17 thru November 24. The funds raised will help the American Red Cross provide holiday gifts and gift cards to children of military families at a socially-distanced Breakfast with Santa at Scott Air Force Base. Funds will also be distributed to select Cardinals Care partner agencies including Angels’ Arms, Annie Malone Children & Family Service Center, SouthSide Early Childhood Center, and Marygrove to provide holiday gifts for the children they serve.

“While we are unable to hold the gift drive in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we know we can still count on our fans to support kids in our community by contributing to our annual gift drive,” said Michael Hall, Vice President of Community Relations and Executive Director of Cardinals Care. “We know this year has been challenging for many in our community, so we hope those who are able to give will take this opportunity to help bring some holiday cheer to area children in need.”

Last year, the organization collected, wrapped and distributed over 1,500 toys and over $1,200 in gift cards for kids in the St. Louis area. Collectively, fans have dropped off more than 10,000 toys and gift cards at Busch Stadium since the event’s inception.

Fans can learn more about the gift drive at

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Markus Golden a ‘Great Gift’ for the Cardinals Defense

When the Cardinals return to play after this week’s bye, a familiar face in No. 44 will be with them. Arizona traded for outside linebacker Markus Golden last Friday, an addition to a linebacker corps that lost Chandler Jones for the season (biceps). In his absence, the unit has stepped up, with Haason Reddick coming up particularly big with three sacks and five quarterback hits in the two games without Jones.

However, more help is now available, and defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said that Golden will slide in seamlessly.

“He fits perfectly into our plan,” Joseph said Wednesday. “I mean, he’s a classic outside ‘backer. He loves to be in the two-point stance. He loves to get one-on-one in pass rushes and he is a guy that plays hard. As an outside ‘backer with his relentless personality, he is going to make plays for us. Watching him over the years as an outside rusher, he overwhelms tackles just with effort, and that’s what it takes in this league.”

Golden was with the Cardinals from 2014-2018.

Reddick played his first two years with Arizona alongside Golden, a player he’s excited to see in red and white again because of the energy that Joseph alluded to. The more “relentless “players Arizona has, the more tiring it will be to face them. 

“I’m happy to have him here,” Reddick said. “When I first got here, he was here. A great guy. He’s a great player, great teammate, a great attitude. And he’s relentless. He plays the game hard and he has a dog mentality. He wants to be one of the best. So, I’m happy to have him here. I know he can make an impact right away and I can’t wait to see him get back on the field and get to see him flying around and get to play with him again.”

Golden worked his way to 10 sacks last season with the New York Giants. 

His sacks largely came from plays in which he had to work to break free from the tackle and didn’t give up on the play. Joseph said not all sacks come easy, and Golden’s ability to work constantly until the whistle blows is an asset.

“Most pass rushes, most sacks aren’t cute rushes,” Joseph said. “I mean, it’s dirty, it’s grimy, and it’s tough and that’s the type of player he is. So, that’s a great gift for our defense at the moment.”

Golden’s career-high in sacks was 12.5, which he had with Arizona in 2016. 

The Cardinals have three edge rushers with multiple sacks this year without Jones: Reddick (five), Devon Kennard (two) and Dennis Gardeck (two). As a team, Arizona has 19 sacks, seventh-most in the league.  

A strong motor is something that seems to fit in everywhere, with Gardeck being a perfect example of someone with that drive who has found some success this season. Golden has recent experience getting to the quarterback and a play style and motor that Reddick and

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