Patriots Nation has had a day or so to readjust to their new lives without Aaron Hernandez. For the time being anyway. Hernandez limped off the field Sunday on, what was just, the second Patriots drive of the day. The first was short-lived as Tom Brady completed his first pass to Cardinals’ corner Patrick Peterson. In what was supposed to be a “cupcake game”, Tom Brady and the offense failed to score a touchdown until the fourth quarter. The defense did all they could to keep them in the game, even recovering a fumble with one minute left in the fourth. You may want to skip over this next part, as the wound is still fresh: Tom Brady and Wes Welker hooked up for 12 yards to get the ball to the Arizona 24. Six seconds left on the clock. Gostkowski and the kicking squad hustled onto the field. The ball is snapped, the kick is in and…wide left. (Somewhere, Billy Cundiff is laughing out loud). Kevin Kolb and the Cards took a knee, and the win, to go 2-0 on the season.
Related Article (from the other point of view): Respect the Game: Cardinals over Patriots
The final was 20-18. Without their “Boston TE Party”, the Pats’ offense looked shaky and uncoordinated. Brady was 28/46 with his only touchdown of the day coming in the fourth on a 5-yard pass to Gronkowski. Welker played a somewhat bigger role in this game, catching 5 passes for 95 yards (he was targeted 11 times). Brandon Lloyd failed to catch several of Tom Brady’s passes, which is unusual for the guy who’s made some of the craziest circus catches in the NFL .
The Patriots have been said to have the “easiest” schedule this year, based on last year’s statistics. This just goes to further prove that last season means nothing. The usually lackluster NFC West won all of their games yesterday (the Seahawks beat the Cowboys, Rams beat the Redskins, and the 49ers beat the Lions). This brings me back to the term “cupcake game,” or a game that should be a piece of cake. There is no such thing, just ask the Saints.
The Hernandez-less Patriots will head to Baltimore to take on their AFC North foes, the Ravens. No one has forgotten how last year’s AFC Championship ended, especially Ray Lewis and the Ravens. John Harbaugh and the Birds from Baltimore unexpectedly lost their “cupcake game” yesterday against the Eagles, on a very questionable call by the replacement refs. No doubt they will be out for blood against Tom Brady and the Patriots, out for revenge. The O-line better stay late this week, because protecting Tom Brady from Baltimore’s pass rush will be no easy task (it never is).