Adam Butler, unlikely contributors step up as Patriots defense clamps down on Murray, Cardinals

Adam Richins For BSJ

A beleaguered Patriots defense looking for a respite after getting diced up by Deshaun Watson and the Texans last week was in line for no such relief on Sunday afternoon against Kyler Murray and the Cardinals.

With a second-year stud like Murray at the helm and a top wideout in DeAndre Hopkins added to the mix, the Cardinals' offense has served as the bane of many opposing defenses in 2020 — entering Sunday's Week 12 matchup in Foxborough averaging a league-best 414.3 yards per game. Much like Watson, Murray has the ability to carve up whatever the defense has schemed against him thanks to a cannon of an arm and some explosive speed.

But just a week removed from getting put on the ropes against one top-tier, dual-threat QB, New England's defense — namely a shorthanded defensive line — vowed to flip the narrative against another imposing matchup. Of course, stopping the likes of Murray is easier said than done, given the myriad of ways the Arizona QB can march down the field in short order.

But as Adrian Phillips was quick to note following New England's eventual 20-17 victory at Gillette Stadium, the gameplan needed to halt a signal-caller like Murray doesn't involve any sweeping adjustments or revolutionary schemes. Rather, it was about as simple as it could be.