The Arizona Cardinals followed up a worrisome preseason by losing a heartbreaker to the Tom Brady-less, Rob Gronkowski-less New England Patriots 23-21 at University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday night.
Chandler Catanzaro missed a 47-yard field goal with 41 seconds to play, leading to the Cards' first loss in a home-opener in their last seven games.
Here are three big takeaways from the defeat.
1. About that kick...
So, who was to blame for that missed field goal? Rookie long snapper Cameron Canady, holder Drew Butler, Catanzaro, or a combination of the three?
Take a look and judge for yourself. It certainly looks like Canaday's snap and/or Butler's poor hold threw off Catanzaro's timing, causing the 47-yard attempt with 41 seconds to play sail wide left.
— ESPN.com.mx (@ESPNmx) September 12, 2016
To his credit, Catanzaro placed the blame squarely on his shoulders.
Catanzaro said missed FG was his fault, not long snapper Kam Canaday's. "It's on me. It's not on Kam at all."
— Kyle Odegard (@Kyle_Odegard) September 12, 2016
2. Garoppolo outduels Palmer
Making his first career NFL start, Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo looked sharper under center than did 14-year NFL veteran Carson Palmer on Sunday.
Starting in place of Tom Brady, who is serving his four-game Deflategate suspension, Garoppolo looked sharp throughout the game, completing 24 of 33 passes for 264 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions.
Palmer's numbers look fine on paper (24 of 37, 271 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions), but he threw several passes that could (and should) have been intercepted, and he had some communication issues with his receivers, especially in the first half. There's no doubt Palmer wasn't the best QB on the field Sunday night -- which would be much more understandable if Brady, not Garoppolo, was starting for the other team.
3. Fitz gets his 99th, 100th TDs
Knowing Larry Fitzgerald, he would have gladly traded his milestone moment on Sunday for a victory. Nonetheless, the future Hall of Famer, who will retire at the end of the season according to a report Sunday morning, became just the 10th player in NFL history to record 100 career receiving TDs.
Fitzgerald caught TD No. 99 in the first half, and TD No. 100 came in the fourth quarter to give the Cards their first and only lead of the game -- and what a ridiculous catch it was, as bittersweet as it ultimately came to be.
— SB Nation GIF (@SBNationGIF) September 12, 2016
— NFL (@NFL) September 12, 2016