Late penalty, field goal lift New England Patriots over Arizona Cardinals
New England Patriots kicker Nick Folk celebrates his game-winning field goal with lineman Joe Thuney, left, and holder Jake Bailey, rear, as time expires in an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Nick Folk 50-yard field goal was the difference maker as the New England Patriots (5-6) defeated the Arizona Cardinals (6-5) 20-17, handing the Cardinals their second straight loss.

Arizona had a chance to take a lead with a 1:47 left to play in the fourth quarter, but Zane Gonzalez missed a 47-yard attempt that would give the Patriots the ball back.

Arizona could not get any offense going at all, converting just six of 14 attempts on third down. Kyler Murray was a non-factor, completing 23 passes for just 170 yards. It was just 10 days ago he suffered a shoulder injury in the game against SeattleDeAndre Hopkins was locked up by Stephon Gilmore all game long, catching just five passes for 55 yards.

The Patriots have now beat the Cardinals seven out of the last eight meetings. Arizona hasn’t beaten New England since 2012.

Newton, Patriots struggle in the first half

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For the ninth time this season, the Patriots were held without a first-quarter touchdown.

On the opening drive Jordan Hicks tipped a Cam Newton pass intended for N’Keal Harry and was intercepted by defensive end Markus Golden, setting up the Cardinals deep in Patriots territory. Arizona would capitalize on the turnover with a Kenyan Drake one-yard rush for a touchdown.

After forcing New England to punt the Cardinals would drive down the field once again, concluding with a Zane Gonzalez 47-yard field goal.

On the ensuing kickoff, Donte Moncrief returned a kick for 53-yards setting up the Patriots on the Arizona 46-yard line. Jakobi Meyers caught two passes for 20 yards, setting up a James White touchdown run.

Arizona had a chance to extend the lead just before halftime, driving deep into New England territory. It appeared that Kenyan Drake got into the endzone, but the officials reversed the decision and forced a fourth and goal. After 15 plays, the Patriots defense was successful on a goal line stand on the one-yard line.

All New England in the second half

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The Patriots would tie the game at 10 on their opening drive of the second half on a Nick Folk 22-yard field goal.

New England would use a turnover in the middle of the third quarter to take their first lead of the game. On third down, Kyler Murray’s pass for DeAndre Hopkins was tipped at the line of scrimmage by Adam Butler and intercepted by Adrian Phillips deep in Cardinals territory.

Six plays later, James White would score on a one-yard run to make it 17-10 New England.

Following a New England punt, Arizona tied it up in the fourth quarter on a one-yard touchdown run by Kenyan Drake.

On the ensuing drive, New England got the ball to the Arizona 46-yard line. It would come to a halt when Dre Kirkpatrick intercepted a Cam Newton pass intended for Damiere Byrd with 4:37 remaining in the fourth.

The Cardinals put the game in Zane Gonzalez hands, in which he missed a 47-yard field goal wide right.

Newton finished the game 9 for 18 for just 84 yards. He would also rush for 46 yards. Damien Harris also helped control the tempo in the ground game, rushing for 47 yards.

Officiating makes an impact on the game

There were two instances of penalties that completely turned the complexion of the game.

The first of which came early in the third quarter, when New England kick returner Gunner Olszewski reeled in a punt and returned it deep into Arizona territory. Ezekiel Turner was the Cardinals defender gaining ground on Olszewski Patriots rookie Anfernee Jennings laid a hit on Turner which sent him flying to the ground. Olszewski reached the endzone, but a flag for illegal blindside block brought the ball back to Arizona’s 39-yard line. The play looked like it could have gone either way, but many felt like the hit was unnecessary.

The second came late in the fourth quarter. On a third and 13, Newton attempted to run for the first down. Newton successfully got the first down yardage and was hit out of bounds by Cardinals rookie Isaiah Simmons. Even though Simmons hit him in bounds, Simmons was called for unnecessary roughness that help lead to the game winning field goal.

Up Next

The road to the playoffs continues to get tougher as Arizona will take on the Los Angeles Rams (7-3) next Sunday at State Farm Stadium.

The Patriots kept their playoff hopes alive with their win. New England will take visit the Los Angeles Chargers (3-8) next Sunday at SoFi Stadium.

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