Markus Golden INT of Patriots QB Cam Newton sets up Cardinals’ fast start
Strong starts had eluded the Arizona Cardinals lately.
That wasn’t the case Sunday in Foxborough, Mass., against the New England Patriots. The Cardinals won the toss and deferred, then got sound stops on first and second downs.
And then Arizona defensive coordinator Vance Joseph dialed up the blitz on 3rd-and-6.
Linebacker Jordan Hicks rushed up the gut without resistance and batted Patriots quarterback Cam Newton’s pass attempt into the air. The ball hung long enough for outside linebacker Markus Golden to intercept it.
Arizona began its ensuing drive at the New England 23-yard line.
A stretch play saw Cardinals receiver Andy Isabella take a toss 19 yards before running back Kenyan Drake’s rush at the goal line gave Arizona a 7-0 lead with less than three minutes expired in the game.
It wound up being a pivotal score in a grind of a game, as Arizona led 10-7 at halftime.
The Cardinals had spent the week-plus coming off a penalty-riddled game against the Seattle Seahawks discussing self-inflicted penalties. Those were somewhat tied to the slow starts.
“You’d like to have your first 10-15 plays be successful,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “I know that that’s kind of the mantra around the league is that you have your scripted plays and those run smoothly and you get off to a good start, and we haven’t been able to do that for myriad reasons.”
For a week, the Cardinals fought that trend against the Patriots.