Patriots stay in playoff hunt with ‘MNF’ win over Cardinals

Patriots stay in playoff hunt with ‘MNF’ win over Cardinals


GLENDALE, Ariz. — Mac Jones threw for 235 yards, Raekwon McMillan had a crucial fumble return for a touchdown and the New England Patriots rallied for a 27-13 win on Monday night over the Arizona Cardinals, who lost starting quarterback Kyler Murray in the first quarter to a potentially serious knee injury.

New England trailed 13-10 at the break but tied the game at 13-all early in the third quarter after a short field goal. The Patriots got their game-changing play and a 20-13 lead later in the third when McMillan scooped up a fumble and returned it 23 yards for a touchdown.

Kyle Dugger forced the fumble by stripping Cardinals three-time All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who had just caught a pass.

The Patriots pushed their advantage to 27-13 early in the fourth quarter on Pierre Strong Jr.’s 3-yard run, then leaned on their defense to complete the much-needed win.

Pierre Strong Jr. scores during the Patriots’ win over the Cardinals.
AP

Jones finished 24 for 35 with an interception as New England (7-6) snapped a two-game losing skid to stay in the AFC playoff hunt. Arizona (4-9) has lost five of six games, including the last three.

Murray was hurt on the third play of the game, immediately changing the complexion of the evening. The fourth-year quarterback was flushed out of the pocket and running to his right when he tried to juke past a Patriots defender, but tumbled to the grass in obvious pain.

Players from both teams surrounded the quarterback before he was carted off the field with a towel draped over his head.

Colt McCoy
Colt McCoy replaced Kyler Murray at quarterback.
AP
Mac Jones throws during the third quarter.
Mac Jones throws during the third quarter.
USA TODAY Sports

The 36-year-old Colt McCoy has proven a capable replacement for Murray over the past two seasons, coming into Monday’s game with a 3-2 mark when Murray was injured. He worked his magic again — at least for a while — leading the Cardinals to a 13-10 halftime lead.

The Cardinals took a 3-0 lead early in the second quarter after a 33-yard field goal by Matt Prater. They had good field position for the drive after Isaiah Simmons intercepted a pass from Jones, who was hit on the arm by rookie Cam Thomas as he was throwing.

James Conner bulldozed his way forward for a 10-yard touchdown late in the second quarter, breaking multiple tackles to give the Cardinals a 13-7 lead late in the second quarter. Conner finished with a team-high 85 yards rushing.

The Patriots scored their lone touchdown of the first half when rookie Kevin Harris ran 14 yards to the end zone.

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Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.