FOXBORO, Mass. — The NFL doesn’t hand out style points, and the New England Patriots’ offense is fortunate for that fact after Sunday’s win over the Arizona Cardinals.
The Patriots improved to 5-6 by beating the now 6-5 Cardinals 20-17 in the Week 12 contest that saw New England gain just 179 yards of offense. That’s the lowest total gained by the Patriots in a win during the Bill Belichick-era.
“I said in the locker room, I’d rather have an ugly win rather than a pretty loss, if that makes any sense,” quarterback Cam Newton said. “I don’t know if that even exists.
“We didn’t play our best game offensively, but when we needed it, we got the job done. That’s all that counts.”
Newton, coming off four straight impressive performances, completed just 9-of-18 passes for 84 yards with two interceptions. One of those turnovers came when he was hit while throwing after running back James White failed to pick up a blitz. Newton took the blame for the other interception, which came on a target to wide receiver Damiere Byrd.
“It was just a bad throw,” Newton said. It doesn’t really matter what I felt on that play. It’s just a matter of what happened. That’s what it comes down to.
“For me, I can’t jeopardize this team and put the ball up for grabs, so to speak. I just got to get Damiere a better ball so he can compete and contest it.”
The Patriots’ pass-protectors allowed three sacks. Newton also ran the ball nine times for 46 yards.
One of those runs, a 14-yarder, picked up a first down (plus 15 extra yards) on third-and-13 with 56 seconds left in the game. Newton drew an unnecessary roughness penalty on the play for a hit from linebacker Isaiah Simmons. The Patriots gained 7 more yards on their new set of downs before kicker Nick Folk nailed a 50-yard field goal attempt to win the game.
Running back Damien Harris led the team with 14 carries for 47 yards. Wide receiver Jakobi Meyers paced Patriots pass catchers with five catches for 52 yards. Running back James White scored two rushing touchdowns on five attempts for 18 yards and had a catch for a 1-yard loss.
Wide receiver N’Keal Harry, a 2019 first-round pick, didn’t have a catch on three targets. He also ran the ball once for a 2-yard loss and was flagged for holding.