Shocking the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium would thrill just about any NFL team.
It had to be especially rewarding for the Arizona Cardinals.
They've heard for months about how awful this season could be for them. And now? Escaping with a 20-18 victory and a 2-0 record makes this Cardinals seasons a success story already. Credit Arizona for maintaining perspective.
"Naw, we don’t want to talk about statements," coach Ken Whisenhunt told reporters after the game. "It’s two games, OK? I’m proud of our guys, the way they worked, the way they played."
Perfect answer. This was still big, of course.
Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic says this victory has ramifications. Bickley: "This is the kind of game that will reverberate throughout the Valley for the coming days. It will invigorate fans in Arizona, who will make things that much tougher on the incoming Eagles next Sunday. ... On a national level, the victory will also reaffirm Ken Whisenhunt's status as an impact coach. It will re-establish the Cardinals as a team with a future, a team on the rise. For the moment, it changes everything."
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic offers postgame thoughts, suggesting the Cardinals could lose defensive coordinator Ray Horton to a head-coaching job if the team's defense continues to play as well as it has through two games. Also: "The Cardinals have won nine of their last 11. Four of those were in overtime. The other five victories came by no more than four points."
Also from Somers: The Cardinals pressured Tom Brady without blitzing as much as they had against Seattle the previous week. Somers also has a note about the relief Quentin Groves feels after collecting a sack for the first time since 2008. Groves: "It's like a burden has been lifted off my shoulders. Everywhere I've signed, Oakland, here, it's, 'He hasn't had a sack since 2008.'" Noted: The Cardinals kept Groves on their roster at the expense of veteran Clark Haggans. It was odd seeing Haggans in San Francisco's locker room following the 49ers' victory Sunday night. He had been with the Cardinals since 2007.
More from Somers: Whisenhunt was too "traumatized" by the Cardinals' late fumble to analyze it in much detail.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com offers postgame notes, including one about quarterback Kevin Kolb. Urban: "It won’t be considered Kolb’s best game. But he’s a different guy in the pocket, which is a huge step forward for him." Noted: Neither quarterback played very effectively. The gap between Brady and Kolb was relatively small, however. The Cardinals' defense deserves credit for that.
Josh Weinfuss of azcardinals.com looks at the roles Patrick Peterson played on offense, defense and special teams. Weinfuss: "On the Cards’ sixth play of the game, Peterson took the snap and ran 17 yards off left end before being pushed out of bounds. He replaced starting quarterback Kevin Kolb once more, in the third quarter, and handed off to LaRod Stephens-Howling. Besides in Wildcat formations, Peterson hasn’t played quarterback since his days at Blanche Ely High School in Pompano Beach, Fla. As a three-year starter, Peterson’s role in high school was similar to his on Sunday: Do a little bit of everything, including quarterback."
More from Urban and Weinfuss: Ryan Williams was publicly accountable after losing the fumble that nearly lost the game for Arizona. Williams to the Republic: "I was just doing my best not to cry on the field, national TV. And I ended up crying anyway."