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Garoppolo Shines in Debut as Patriots Starter; Patriots down Cardinals 23-21

September 12, 2016 - Author: John-Mark and Chuck Mallory - Comments are closed

Jimmy Garoppolo was stellar in his first game filling in for suspended New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, completing 24-33 passes for 264 yards and one touchdown. The Patriots and the Arizona Cardinals went back and forth all game, but Garoppolo was able to drive the team down the field late in the 4th quarter before kicker Stephen Gostkowski came in to kick what would be the game-winning field goal. From there, the Patriots defense forced the Cardinals to attempt a long field goal, which was missed. Garoppolo then took a knee to run out the clock and seal the victory.

The game went in Arizona’s favor early, as a sack of Garoppolo forced him to fumble. Arizona’s Chandler Jones recovered the fumble, which led to a Cardinals touchdown. Despite the early setback, Garoppolo was able to bounce back and make great plays for the Patriots all over the field. While the Patriots are generally known for having a deep passing game when Brady is under center, it would appear that Head Coach Bill Belichick adjusted the gameplan for Garoppolo. Many of the Patriots’ offensive drives included more running plays than passing plays, and when Garoppolo did pass he threw short or mid-range strikes. Despite this, the Patriots still moved the ball very efficiently. Garoppolo’s biggest strength in this game was his effectiveness on 3rd down. Garoppolo completed 8 of 10 3rd down throws and converted seven of those throws for first downs. Arizona has a lot of weapons on offense, including future Hall of Fame wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, and a key part of the gameplan with Garoppolo was to keep the Patriots offense on the field so Arizona’s offense would have fewer chances to score. Despite Fitzgerald’s 2 touchdown catches and a late push by the Cardinals’ offense down the field, the Patriots were able to hang on and get the victory.

The spotlight was squarely on Garoppolo after the game, but instead of basking in it Garoppolo was quick to give most of the credit to his teammates and coaches. It is clear that Garoppolo isn’t going to be a cocky kind of guy when leading this Patriots team.

“Whoever’s out there on the field, we have a lot of confidence in one another, and that means a lot to us,” Garoppolo said. “The coaching staff did a great job simplifying plays for us on third down. It makes things a lot easier for all of us when you have coaching like that.”

While many experts didn’t pick the Patriots to win this game, it seems as if there might be more believers in Garoppolo than there were before the opening kickoff. There will now be even more scrutiny on Garoppolo when the Patriots face off against the Miami Dolphins next week in Massachusetts. While he won’t have as tough of an opponent as Arizona’s defense was, there will be increased pressure for Garoppolo to build on his success from this game. Many people were unsure of Garoppolo’s skill level coming into the season since he hadn’t played much time in meaningful games. As of the time this article was published, Jimmy Garoppolo is trending on Twitter. It just goes to show how much it means to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. If Garoppolo keeps playing this well in the team’s next three games, there may be other NFL teams that try to trade for Garoppolo to make him their starter. Anything is possible, but for now it’s really cool to see a kid like Garoppolo get to live his dream.

Jimmy Garoppolo and the Patriots will look to add to their momentum coming off Sunday night’s huge win when they battle the Dolphins next week in the Patriots’ home opener at Gillette Stadium. The Game starts at 1 pm EST on Sunday, September 18th. Be sure to keep checking jimmygaroppolo.net for more news and updates on the up and coming QB.

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