ARIZONA — The Patriots may have finally found their stride in the month of December.
After losing two straight games, (7-6) New England finally gets a win where the offense holds up their end against the (4-9) Arizona Cardinals in week 14, final score 27-13. With that win, the Patriots keep their playoff hopes alive thanks to two wins over division rivals in the New York Jets.
The Patriots’ story has stayed the same all season: the offense is bad, and the defense has been carrying them. Well on Monday Night Football, quarterback Mac Jones did find him some success throwing for 235 yards on 24 completions. May not look like much on paper, but if you’ve been following the Pats’ season you’d know that’s a miracle.
With injuries hindering both teams (Cardinals QB Kyler Murray left early with injury) the Patriots were left without top receiver Jakobi Meyers and star running back Rhamondre Stevenson. That actually left for Pierre Strong and Kevin Harris to take over. At the top of the second quarter Harris ran a 14-yard touchdown run to give New England the lead 7-3. Cardinals went into the half up 13-10.
In the second half Strong ran it in for a 3-yard touchdown for New England to make the finals score 27-13. Harris and Strong finished for a combine 96 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns.
And of course, the New England defense looked amazing.
The Patriots forced two turnover on downs, a fumble that was returned for a touchdown by Raekwon McMillan, an interception by Marcus Jones and six sacks. Of course this was to a backup quarterback. Nonetheless, the Patriots playoff hopes are from squandered.
Pats now sit third in the tough AFC East. If the season ended today they would find themselves at the last spot for the playoffs. They only sit one game behind the Dolphins. However, another loss could put them back in last place and a huge hit to their season.
They’ll face the Las Vegas Raiders led by former Patriots quarterback coach Josh McDaniels. They faced each other in the preseason where New England lost. But the script has changed and it’s the Raiders who are doing the most struggling as of now. It’s a very winnable game that can possibly add-on to the Patriots record in securing a playoff seed.