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Patriots freeze out Cards, 47-7

The Patriots got their 10th win of the season with a 47-7 demolition of the visiting Arizona Cardinals.


Really, in light of America's energy crisis, the Cardinals should have saved the jet fuel and stayed in Arizona.

That's how one-sided this game was as the Patriots took a 31-0 lead into halftime and cruised to a 47-7 win.

Everything said pre-game about the western-based Cardinals not playing well in the east was true. Kurt Warner and his offense looked like it would have rather been somewhere else while the Arizona defense simply didn't have the will to match Matt Cassel and the Patriots running game. The snow, cold and wet had a lot to do with New England's total domination but it was as if the Cardinals forgot their cleats.

Warner was just 6 of 18 for only 30 yards. Meanwhile, Cassel didn't get the memo that you're not supposed to be able to throw the ball in snow and wind. He finished with 345 yards on 20 of 36 passing and 3 touchdowns before Kevin O'Connell replaced him with 14 minutes left to play.

In total net yardage, New England had 514 to 186 edge for the game. The 514 number is the fourth best total in Patriots history.



]()After the Cards ran three straight times for a net 3 yards to open the game, Wes Welker brought the ensuing punt back 28 yards to the Arizona 33. The Patriots stuck to groundwork, aside from a 5-yard catch by Kevin Faulk, handing the ball to Sammy Morris four times to the Cards 2-yard line. From there the call was Lamont Jordan twice and on the second try, Jordan broke into the end zone behind the right side of the Patriots offensive line for six.

The Patriots made it a 14-0 game after the Cardinals went three and out again on their next possession. New England took over on its 45. After a run for a 1-yard loss for Morris, Cassel hit him with a little dump-off pass. Morris did the rest, cutting back to his right with Randy Moss his lead blocker and taking the ball 42 yards to the Arizona 14. Jordan finished the drive with three runs, the last being a 3-yard touchdown.

Into the second quarter and after four possessions, the Cardinals could do absolutely nothing on offense. Five net yards and 0-4 on third down conversions were indicative of both the Cards ineptness and the Patriots smothering defense.

On the other hand, the Patriots offense continued to cruise. Jabar Gaffney took a short pass and turned it into a 37-yard gain on the Patriots fourth try. Two plays after that gainer, Faulk caught a screen pass and went 15 yards to make the score 21-0 with just over 12 minutes left in the first half.

Later in the quarter the Arizona sideline got involved in the team's sub-par performance. On third and 14 from the Cards 33, Logan Mankins got flagged for a facemask. The play, a short pass to Morris went for only 3 yards but instead of taking the penalty that would have set up a third and 29 from the 48, the Cards declined the penalty. That brought up a fourth and 11 on which Cassel kept up the middle for 16 yards after finding nothing open except the entire middle of the field. Cassel took a shot at the end of the run but it couldn't have hurt any more than the pain Arizona felt three plays later when Welker caught an 11-yard pass to make the score 28-0.



]()With 1:31 left in the half New England got the ball back on its own 29. With two passes to Gaffney for 14 and 16 yards and a 20-yarder to Welker down to the Arizona 20, the Patriots tacked on three points with a 38-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal to make the halftime score 31-0.

The one down note of the first half was a couple no-catches by Randy Moss that would have been long gains. On the first play of the second half, Moss made up for his slow start by taking a wide receiver screen 76 yards untouched to the Cardinals end zone.

A 12-yard sack prevented the Patriots from getting into the end zone again on the Patriots next series. That play came on third and goal from the Cardinals 5. Gostkowski came on for a 35-yard attempt and was good to make the score 41-0. The kick tied Gostkowski with Tony Franklin for the franchise season-high in made field goals with 32.

Gostkowski broke the record with 3:31 left in the third quarter with a 24-yarder after a 10-play Patriots drive made the score 44-0.

On the Cardinals next possession, Matt Leinart replaced Warner at quarterback. After he fumbled for no apparent reason (recovered by Arizona), he was strip sacked by Brandon Meriweather. Jarvis Green recovered for New England, setting up the Patriots offense first and 10 at the Cardinals 15. A holding penalty on Benjamin Watson and Tyson DeVree just missing holding on to a third and 7 pass were the only things that kept New England out of the end zone. That allowed Gostkowski to kick his third field goal of the day, a 30-yarder.

The Patriots defense emptied the bench to open the fourth quarter but it didn't help the Cardinals cause. In fact, after hitting Jerheme Urban on a nice 28-yard pass showing good touch, Leinart saw his pass two plays later bounce off Urban's hands and into Ellis Hobbs for the game's first interception.

With 6:17 left to play, Arizona finally got on the scoreboard with a 78-yard Leinart to Larry Fitzgerald bomb down the left sideline. Once Fitzgerald caught the pass he was gone, pushing Hobbs away as the last Patriots to have a chance at a tackle.

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