FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 16: Stephen Gostkowski #3 of the New England Patriots walks off of the field following the game against the Arizona Cardinals after missing the game-winning field goal in the final second on September 16, 2012 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Heading into the weekend, it was virtually impossible to envision a situation where the Cardinals -- a team that couldn't settle on the lesser of two evils at quarterback during the preseason -- would come into Gillette Stadium and beat the Patriots in their home opener. Of course, that's exactly what happened, once again proving that it's a monumental waste of time to make grand proclamations about the NFL after a week's worth of games.
In the end, sloppy play and a Stephen Gostkowski honked 40-yard field goal proved to be the difference and now the AFC East has four teams sitting at 1-1.
"Nobody really gave us a chance," Cards coach Ken Whisenhunt said afterwards, "but our guys believed they could do it and it's great to see them operate that way."
Quarterback Kevin Kolb, filling in for an injured John Skelton added: "We knew what kind of game this was going to be. We've been kind of stressing it all week, stay patient, don't get greedy."
Quarterback Tom Brady, who looked off for most of the afternoon, completed 28 of 46 throws for 316 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. And for the second straight game, he appeared to be out of sync with deep threat Brandon Lloyd.
"Well, it’s a team game and certainly we shouldn’t have been leaving it up to that particular situation," Brady said. "We were fortunate to get that defensive turnover there late. We just came up short. We have opportunities to make plays and we’re just not making them. Just too inconsistent throughout the day to really put enough points on the board."
And defensive turnover was typical Pats' good fortune -- the Cards were trying to run out the clock and running back Ryan Williams inexplicably fumbled. New England recovered but could not convert the the gift into points.
"No, I think it played out the way we thought it would play out," Brady continued. "They have a good defense and they certainly put a lot of pressure on you to make good plays and they really don’t give you easy ones. We made some; we just didn’t make enough at the end of the day."
Gostkowski, meanwhile, was 4-for-4 on field goal attempts -- including two from beyond 50 yards -- before he lined up for the 40-yarder with five seconds on the clock that would've given New England the win.
"I had a chance to win and it came down to me," Gostkowski said. "I didn't pull through and it stinks. I feel bad for the fans and my teammates. I can't take it back now. …
I had a good game up until that point. I felt good going out there," he continued. "There's probably not another game where I would feel more confident going out for a kick like that. It humbles you really quick."
The good news is that the Pats are still the favorite in the division. More than that: the loss means we won't have to endure any undefeated talk going forward. It's a small price to pay to avoid the inevitably predictable media storylines going forward. It's not much, we know, but it's something.