Bedard’s Breakdown: Patriots are still good enough to accept a gift from an opponent

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There have been times this season when a clearly talent-deficient Patriots team couldn't get out of their own way to win games they normally take.

Losses to the Broncos, Bills and Texans stand out in this regard. You could almost lump the Jets game in there, but Gang Green is just that bad on their way to a winless season. New York couldn't hand the game over quick enough to the Patriots with that late Joe Flacco interception.

So if there's anything to be taken away from Sunday's 20-17 victory over the Cardinals — who may be in the midst of a freefall since they stand just a Hail Mary away from losing four straight games as teams figure out Kliff Kingsbury's limited offense — it's that the Patriots are still good enough as a football team, to take a gift from a team like Arizona and deliver a victory.

Even when their offense needed help from the defense, special teams and the Cardinals to slap together an average of 31.3 yards gained per scoring drive (no, that's not a misprint, the Patriots' scoring drives were 41, 35, 31 and 18 yards)

And did the Cardinals ever try to hand the Patriots this game:


If you haven't watched the Cardinals much previous to Sunday, you probably wondered what all the hype was about as Murray was mentioned as candidates for NFL MVP and/or Offensive Player of the Year.

Just 170 yards passing? 5.0 yards per attempt (Cam Newton had 4.7)? Five rushes for 31 yards?

Yeah, nothing to write home about ... if you haven't seen Murray previously.

Those of us who have been watching Murray all year long know that was not the real Murray on Sunday. The right shoulder injury he sustained against the Seahawks the game prior not only limited him in practice, but it clearly affected the way the Cardinals used him. Just consider this: