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Patriots

Patriots-Cardinals 4 Ups, 4 Downs

By Matthew Geagan, CBSBoston
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Zoltan Mesko #14 of the New England Patriots has his punt blocked by Quentin Groves #54 of the Arizona Cardinals in the third quarter at Gillette Stadium on September 16, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Zoltan Mesko #14 of the New England Patriots has his punt blocked by Quentin Groves #54 of the Arizona Cardinals in the third quarter at Gillette Stadium on September 16, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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New England Patriots

BOSTON (CBS) – Not many people would have chalked a Week 2 meeting with the Cardinals up as a loss for the Patriots, but that’s why they play the game.

There wasn’t much good to be taken away from the Patriots 20-18 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday, but there certainly are plenty of lessons they can take from the game. From untimely penalties to a stagnant offense to a missed field goal, not much went right.

Here are the 4 Ups, 4 Downs from New England’s loss to the Arizona:

4 Ups

Pats Make Comeback Bid

After starting the game slow on offense, Tom Brady seemed to be able to rally his troops when the Patriots needed it. He led them down the field on an 11-play, 82-yard drive to make it a 20-18 game with 2:06 left in the fourth. The defense also came through in the clutch, forcing Ryan Williams to fumble, giving the offense a golden opportunity to steal a win.

Ridley Keeps Running

Stevan Ridley followed up his season opening 125-yard performance against the Titans with 71 yards on 18 carries. He also caught three of the four passes that went his way for another 24 yards. He had a couple big runs, although the Patriots had to shy away from him as the game clock ticked down and they were still behind on the scoreboard.

Steve Burton & Scott Zolak On Pats Loss: 

Defense Still Solid

They didn’t keep Arizona to just 20 yards rushing like Tennessee last week, but for the most part shut the Cardinals down when they needed to. They forced a pair of fumbles, coming up with both of them, and held Larry Fitzgerald to just one catch on four targets for four yards. Overall, Arizona had just 245 yards of total offense.

It’s crazy to think, but so far this season the defense has been carrying the Patriots.

Chandler Jones Is A Beast

The rookie continues to impress on defense, wreaking havoc on yet another offensive line. Jones had five tackles and a hit on QB Kevin Kolb.

4 Downs

Hernandez Hurt

It’s said to be a high ankle sprain, and losing Hernandez for any stretch of time will really hurt the Patriots offense. The versatile tight end was primed for a huge season after signing a six-year extension over the summer, but will likely be sidelined for a month (possibly more) with the injury.

Poor Execution

The Patriots offense took until late in the fourth quarter to get going, but botched their chance to win it after a pair of penalties keep them off the board. Danny Woodhead’s 30-yard touchdown run was called back by a Rob Gronkowski hold,  and the Patriots lost five yards on a Gronk false start a few plays later — making Stephen Gostkowski’s potential game-winning kick five yards longer.

In all, the Patriots were whistled for eight penalties for a total of 60 yards.

Special Teams

Stephen Gostkowski missed a game-winning 42-yard field goal after starting the season a perfect six-for-six on field goal attempts, and a blocked punt by the Cardinals led to an Arizona touchdown. They were just two miscues, but they cost the Patriots the game.

What’s Up With Wes?

Welker may have passed Troy Brown to become the Patriots all-time leader in receptions, but he didn’t start the game and once again seemed to be out of the offense’s favor.

Welker ended up leading the Patriots with 95 yards on five catches, and was targeted a team-high 13 times. But he had a couple more drops this afternoon, and appears to have been demoted to the team’s #3 receiver.

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