New England finally made life easy for itself as Drew Bledsoe threw for four touchdowns, including two to Shawn Jefferson, and the defense shut down Arizona's offense in a 27-3 victory Sunday.
On New England's second drive of the game, Bledsoe (14-of-22, 276 yards) used his tailbacks in the passing game. With Arizona looking to take away wide receivers Terry Glenn and Jefferson, Bledsoe hit running back Terry Allen with a 38-yard pass down the left sideline that put the ball at the 3-yard line. Bledsoe then threw a three-yard pass to running back Lamont Warren, who was wide open in the right corner of the end zone.
After the defense caused the Cardinals to stall at midfield, New England struck quickly, and they used a bit of trickery to do so. After a two-yard run by Kevin Faulk, the Patriots went with a no-huddle play, and Bledsoe hit Jefferson over the middle for a 64-yard touchdown.
While the offense was scoring points, New England's defense was smothering an Arizona offense that seemed scared to do anything right. The Cardinals gained just 166 yards in total offense, and running back Adrian Murrell had just 47 yards on 13 rushes. Of Arizona's 76 rushing yards, 42 came on two plays.
Willie McGinest, Henry Thomas, Chris Slade and the rest of the defense harassed quarterback Dave Brown defense all game. Brown was sacked three times, intercepted twice and he completed just 12-of-33 passes for 107 yards.
Slade and Thomas each recorded sacks, while Ty Law and Kato Serwanga picked off passes. Serwanga's interception was the first of his career.
Arizona gained just 77 yards in total offense before halftime. Jefferson alone had more yardage (113 yards) on his three receptions. After his first quarter touchdown, Jefferson scored on a 35-yard pass from Bledsoe for his second touchdown of the day.
The win sends the Patriots into their bye week with a 6-2 record and solid momentum in the running game. For the second straight game New England gained over 100 yards on the ground, as Allen ran for 88 yards on 21 carries and Faulk added 42 yards on 17 carries.
The Patriots had 142 yards total on the ground, and they were able to run the clock out effectively in the second half. Excluding two kneels by John Friesz, New England ran the ball 41 times. In the second half, they ran the ball 23 times, and Bledsoe had to throw just three passes after halftime