Final

Cardinals 7

(8-7, 3-5 away)

Patriots 47

(10-5, 5-3 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, December 21, 2008

Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA 

1 2 3 4 T
ARI 0 0 0 77
NE 14 17 13 347

Top Performers

Passing: M. Cassel (NE) - 345 YDS, 3 TD

Rushing: S. Morris (NE) - 15 CAR, 88 YDS

Receiving: L. Fitzgerald (ARI) - 3 REC, 101 YDS, 1 TD

Pats keep playoff hopes alive with laugher

Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England is peaking in time for the postseason, whipping Arizona 47-7 with a blizzard of points on a snow-covered field Sunday.

It won't keep the Cardinals out of the playoffs. And it might not be enough to get the Patriots in.

"We have no one to be frustrated with but ourselves," Patriots guard Logan Mankins said. "We lost five games."

Fast Facts

• The Patriots have won five straight against the Cardinals and 15 straight regular-season games against NFC teams.

• The Cardinals trailed 31-0 at half and were down 28-0 at half last week. The Cardinals are first team since the 1961 Raiders to trail 28-0 or worse at half in consecutive games. They're also the first team in NFL history to trail by 30-plus points at halftime twice, and still make playoffs that season (trailed 34-0 at Jets).

• The Patriots' LaMont Jordan, who scored twice in a quarter for first time in his career, had his first multi-touchdown game since 2005.

• Arizona's Kurt Warner threw for a season-low 30 yards (previous low was 192, Week 3 at Redskins).

-- ESPN research

• Rapid Reaction

Miami, tied with the Patriots at 10-5 but with the tiebreaker edge, would win the AFC East with a victory over the New York Jets next Sunday. Baltimore would get the AFC's one available wild-card spot by beating Jacksonville, leaving New England out for the first time in six years.

But on Sunday, the Patriots showed total superiority to the struggling champions of the weak NFC West. They pressured Kurt Warner into one of his worst games in 11 pro seasons as he threw for just 30 yards.

The Cardinals' defense was more miserable than the weather, allowing the Patriots to score on nine of their 10 possessions before Matt Cassel got the rest of the game off.

New England held a huge margin of 514 to 186 yards over the NFL's second-highest scoring team.

In Or Out

It's that time of year when some teams are in the playoffs, some are out, some control their own destinies and some need help. Check out all of the playoff scenarios. Playoff picture

"Right now, we aren't what we were," Warner said. "If we're happy with winning the division, than that's all we'll do."

The Cardinals (8-7) didn't blame their fourth loss in five games on the snowy conditions that they never see in Arizona.

"It's not about excuses. It's all about execution," free safety Antrel Rolle said, "It's embarrassing. It's nothing we can brush off our shoulder."

The Patriots are 10-0 in home games in which snow has fallen during the game and, unlike the Cardinals, practiced in it last week.

"I don't know if they're built for these conditions," Mankins said. "They're a passing team, they don't really run the ball. They're not used to the snow, maybe a sandstorm or something."

Cassel completed 20 of 36 passes for 345 yards and three touchdowns a week after throwing for four touchdowns in a 49-26 win at Oakland as the Patriots seized control early for the second straight game.

"I've never played in the snow before," said Cassel, who barely played at all the past seven seasons at Southern California and New England. "It was a lot of fun."

Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart, who kept Cassel on the bench for his last two college seasons after Carson Palmer did it for his first two, replaced Warner with 3:27 left in the third quarter. He went 6-of-14 for 138 yards with an interception, a fumble and a 78-yard touchdown on which Larry Fitzgerald ran most of the way to cut the lead to 47-7 with 6:17 left.

New England clinched a better record than Arizona, which is 2-6 against winning teams, but could become the second team to miss the postseason with an 11-5 record since the NFL adopted a 16-game schedule in 1978.

"That's not really anything that we have any control over," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "We're not in the NFC."

Warner, with receiver Anquan Boldin out with a shoulder injury, went 6-of-18 for 30 yards, the fewest in any game in which he started and threw at least 10 passes. His previous low was 105 yards in a loss at Seattle on Sept. 25, 2005.

"In conditions like this, we had to establish the run," Warner said. The Cardinals ran eight times on their first nine plays without a first down.

The snow began falling steadily four hours before the game and tapered off about the time Randy Moss scored on a 76-yard pass play, the longest of Cassel's career, on the first snap of the third quarter. Cassel faked a handoff, then turned and threw to Moss on the left near the line of scrimmage.

He accelerated up the sideline and slowed to a trot as he approached the end zone with his longest gain in two seasons with the Patriots.

New England Patriots Arizona Cardinals

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Watch highlights from the New England Patriots' 47-7 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

That gave them a 38-0 lead before Stephen Gostkowski kicked three of his four field goals.

LaMont Jordan scored on runs of 1 and 3 yards on the Patriots' first two possessions. They punted on their next series, then scored on their next four on Cassel's passes of 15 yards to Kevin Faulk and 11 yards to Wes Welker, Gostkowski's 38-yard field goal and Moss' touchdown.

"I can't understand it or explain it," Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "We may need to grow up, to show that we can play through adversity."

The most trouble the Patriots seemed to have with the snow came when Welker was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for making a snow angel just beyond the end line after his touchdown as the Patriots jumped into a 28-0 lead with 1:52 left in the half.

"I just got a little bit too excited there," Welker said. "I really didn't think it would be a penalty. I wouldn't have done it if I thought it was."

Game notes


Gostkowski set a Patriots single-season record with his 34th field goal, breaking the mark of 32 set by Tony Franklin in 1986. ... The Cardinals have been outscored 167-70 in their last four losses. ... Moss tied Marshall Faulk for sixth in NFL history with his 136th touchdown. ... Arizona had just four first downs and 45 total yards through three quarters.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
ARI
NE
1st Downs827
Passing 1st downs
613
Rushing 1st downs
213
1st downs from penalties
01
3rd down efficiency
3-138-16
4th down efficiency
0-11-1
Total Plays5081
Total Yards186514
Yards per play3.76.3
Total Drives1214
Passing142331
Comp-Att
12-3221-38
Yards per pass
4.18.5
Interceptions thrown
10
Sacks-Yards Lost
3-261-12
Rushing44183
Rushing Attempts
1542
Yards per rush
2.94.4
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-04-7
Penalties3-207-65
Turnovers20
Fumbles lost
10
Interceptions thrown
10
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession21:2538:35

Passing Leaders

ARIC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Leinart6/141389.9112-19
Warner6/18301.7001-7
NEC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Cassel20/363459.6301-12
O'Connell1/2-2-1.0000-0

Rushing Leaders

ARICARYDSAVGTDLG
James4194.8012
Hightower10171.705
NECARYDSAVGTDLG
Morris15885.9012
Jordan20783.9216

Receiving Leaders

ARIRECYDSAVGTDLG
Fitzgerald310133.7178
Urban23618.0028
NERECYDSAVGTDLG
Gaffney59018.0037
Moss28743.5176

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERARINE
neTD9:01Lamont Jordan 1 Yard Run (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 33 yds, 3:47
07
neTD3:48Lamont Jordan 3 Yard Run (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 55 yds, 3:03
014
SECOND QUARTERARINE
neTD12:12Kevin Faulk 15 Yard Pass From Matt Cassel (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 50 yds, 2:05
021
neTD1:57Wes Welker 11 Yard Pass From Matt Cassel (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 12 plays, 69 yds, 5:33
028
neFG0:07Stephen Gostkowski 38 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 9 plays, 51 yds, 1:22
031
THIRD QUARTERARINE
neTD14:55Randy Moss 76 Yard Pass From Matt Cassel (Stephen Gostkowski Kick is Good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 76 yds, 0:19
038
neFG8:25Stephen Gostkowski 35 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 11 plays, 52 yds, 5:24
041
neFG3:35Stephen Gostkowski 24 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 11 plays, 44 yds, 4:12
044
FOURTH QUARTERARINE
neFG14:55Stephen Gostkowski 30 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 5 plays, 3 yds, 1:01
047
ariTD6:30Larry Fitzgerald 78 Yard Pass From Matt Leinart (Neil Rackers Kick is Good)
Drive info: 2 plays, 71 yds, 1:25
747