- READ: QB Murray tears ACL vs. Pats, out for rest of season
- READ: Cardinals hold No. 6 pick in 2023 draft after loss
- READ: New England moves into final AFC playoff spot after MNF
- READ: Patriots RB Stevenson exits with ankle injury during win
- READ: Hopkins takes 'full responsibility' for game-changing fumble
- READ: Pats' Uche gets three more sacks: 'Our best pass rusher'
- Depth wins for New England. This game got ugly on the injury front early. New England lost DeVante Parker to a head injury and defensive back Jack Jones to a knee ailment early, then watched bulldozing running back Rhamondre Stevenson exit with an ankle injury. Stevenson returned briefly before leaving for good, thinning out the Patriots' list of game-changers on the road. No matter for Bill Belichick's squad, which turned to its depth to take home a win. South Dakota State product Pierre Strong finally saw the field after spending most of the season on ice and didn't waste much time before making an impact, catching a Mac Jones pass for a 16-yard gain and using his top-flight speed to race around the left end for a 44-yard gain on the ground, setting up a game-tying Nick Folk field goal. Sixth-round rookie Kevin Harris joined the party, too, picking up 32 yards and scoring a touchdown on his first three carries to give the Patriots an early 7-3 lead. The offense was far from perfect, but the Patriots were able to turn to their lesser-known players to win a game they absolutely needed at this point in the season. We shouldn't expect anything less from a Belichick squad.
- Cardinals just can't shake their mistakes. We'll start with Arizona's eight penalties, which consistently undercut its ability to put together meaningful drives, but it was more than that. Arizona failed on two important fourth-down attempts, including one with a wide-open target (Trey McBride) that was broken up by Jahlani Tavai and bought the Patriots just enough time to kick a field goal to end the half. The other failed conversion -- before things got desperate and required Arizona to go for it -- happened because Marquise Brown dropped a pass downfield. DeAndre Hopkins made a couple of crucial mistakes, including an illegal shift that wiped out a 15-yard gain with the Cardinals trailing by 14 points, and a fumble that happened solely because Hopkins didn't tuck the ball away securely when running after the catch. That fumble resulted in a Raekwon McMillan fumble-return touchdown, putting the Patriots ahead in what was previously a tie game. Add in a missed field goal and you have a collection of mistakes that narrowed Arizona's already slim margin for error. This stuff isn't just a coincidence, but symptomatic of everything that has been wrong with the Cardinals this season. If you need an explanation for Arizona's disappointing campaign, this game was a good example.
- A tough season gets exponentially worse for Arizona. Kyler Murray already missed two games due to a hamstring issue this season, and Monday night produced an injury that will likely end his season. Murray was in the midst of a trademark scramble when he attempted to cut upfield to avoid a defender. Instead of pulling off the move for extra yards, Murray crumpled to the ground, grabbing his knee in pain and exiting via cart on just the third play from scrimmage. Kliff Kingsbury said afterward that it doesn't look good for Murray, and NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that Murray suffered a torn ACL. For a Cardinals team that never fully exited the starting blocks in 2022, this is likely the final blow that should send them to darkness, and it's no fault of backup quarterback Colt McCoy. We already saw what might end up proving to be the high-water mark for McCoy back in Week 10, when he finished with over 230 passing yards and a 96.5 passer rating in a win over the Rams. McCoy is a gritty, tireless competitor who pours himself into preparation in the event he's called upon, but his ceiling doesn't inspire much hope. It seems as if the Cardinals, a team with enough talent on paper to contend, are headed nowhere with one month left.
- Josh Uche is on fire. It took him until Week 8 to make an impact, but if you haven't paid attention to Uche in the last two months, it's time to catch up. The third-year edge rusher is enjoying one heck of a run, recording seven sacks in his last five games entering Monday night. He built on that against Arizona, recording three more sacks as part of five total tackles. Uche wasn't just getting after the quarterback, though. When he couldn't quite get home on a second-down play late in the third quarter, he used his hands to great effect, deflecting a McCoy pass and sending it toward the State Farm Stadium roof. The ball fell into the hands of two-way dynamo Marcus Jones for an interception. Five plays later, Strong was in the end zone, giving the Patriots a commanding 27-13 lead. Matthew Judon rightfully attracts the most attention on New England's defense, but it's about much more than just the man with the red sleeves. Players like Uche make this group a legitimate threat, and on Monday night, that threat proved to be valid.
- Patriots snap big-stage losing streak to pull even with Jets. New England entered Monday night owning an 0-3 record in exclusive window games this season, losing on Monday Night Football, Thanksgiving and Thursday Night Football in 2022. Their fourth such contest went much differently, and could help them mount a late-season push for the playoffs. Thanks to New York's three losses in its last month (including a defeat at the hands of the Patriots for a New England season sweep), the Patriots received a second chance at fighting their way back into the hunt. At 7-6, they own the head-to-head tiebreaker with New York and are building momentum that could produce an unlikely playoff berth. The road doesn't get any easier, with road games against the Raiders and Bills sandwiching home dates with the Bengals and Dolphins, but the Patriots deserve credit for overcoming a two-game losing streak by traveling across the country and taking down the woeful Cardinals. They'll have to repeat this performance, with defense leading the way, but they have a chance at this point, and considering how this season has gone, that's all they can ask for.
Next Gen stat of the game: Pierre Strong reached a max speed of 20.86 mph on his 44-yard rush, the fastest top speed for a Patriots ball-carrier this season. His plus-35 rushing yards over expected are the second-most on a single carry for the Patriots this season.
NFL Research: Josh Uche's three-sack performance gave him 10 sacks since Week 8, the most in the NFL in that span. Matthew Judon's 1.5 sacks, meanwhile, moved him into a tie with San Francisco's Nick Bosa for the league lead (14.5 sacks).