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New England Patriots

Nov 29, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) passes the ball as New England Patriots defensive tackle Adam Butler (70) attempts to tackle him during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots scored an upset win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday to improve to 5-6 on the season. Nick Folk hit a 50-yard field goal as time expired to give the Pats the much-needed victory.

UP

DT Adam Butler. This was arguably Butler’s best game as a Patriot. Butler racked up a sack, three QB hits, two tackles for loss, and five total tackles on the day. But his biggest play was actually a deflected pass, as he batted it at the line and it landed in the hands of Adrian Phillips for a big interception in the second half.

LB Ja’Whaun Bentley. The Patriots’ most-used inside linebacker hasn’t had his best year, but he was huge today. He made the play to stop the Cardinals short of the goal line at the end of the first half, and led the Patriots with 13 tackles on the afternoon.

RB James White. Good things happen when James White touches the football. White only played 20 offensive snaps, but made the most of them by scoring both Patriots touchdowns. White had to use his trademark elusiveness to shimmy his way into the end zone on his first score, and then won the footrace to the pylon on an outside stretch run. The first touchdown was particularly big, as it came on fourth down.

K Nick Folk. Can’t leave the kicker who made a game-winning kick off the list. Folk was nails from 50 yards, mere minutes after the Cardinals’ Zane Gonzalez missed his own attempt at a go-ahead field goal. Ultimately, the Patriots’ guy made a play with his toe and the Cardinals’ guy did not.

DOWN

QB Cam Newton. An awful day through the air for Newton after he had appeared to make strides as a passer in recent weeks. Just 9-of-18 for 84 yards and an interception for Newton – a putrid 23.0 passer rating. He made a nice run to pick up a huge third down late in the game that helped set up the game-winning field goal, but really, the Cardinals kicker bailed Newton out after he very nearly blew the game with his INT. The Pats won this one in spite of their quarterback.

WR N’Keal Harry. One touch for Harry on the day, and it was a handoff that resulted in a two-yard loss. Again, no targets for Harry as a pass-catcher. And he also committed a blatant holding penalty that set the Patriots back on a drive. They ultimately scored a TD on that possession, but did it in spite of Harry, who continues to be much less of a factor than he needs to be on offense.

CB Stephon Gilmore. No big plays, no touchdowns allowed, but DeAndre Hopkins won this matchup. Five catches for 55 yards for Hopkins on the day. He beat Gilmore with his route-running on multiple occasions. This is a bit of a nitpicky choice after what was a good day for the defense. But Gilmore hyped up this matchup himself and it certainly wasn’t the shutdown performance he was hoping for.