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Patriots Notebook

James White scores first touchdowns of season vs. Cardinals as he fills in for injured Rex Burkhead

James White stretches to the goal line in the second quarter for the first of his two touchdowns.
James White stretches to the goal line in the second quarter for the first of his two touchdowns.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

FOXBOROUGH — James White took Rex Burkhead’s injury hard last week.

This week he paid tribute to his fellow running back, who he said is “like a brother to me.’'

White scored his first two touchdowns of the season in Sunday’s 20-17 win over the Cardinals at Gillette Stadium.

In the second quarter White took a speed option pitch right and scooted in from 7 yards on a clutch fourth-down call, and added classic student body pitch left touchdown from 1 yard out that gave New England its first lead (17-10) in the third quarter.

“It’s been a while for sure, so it did feel good to get in [the end zone],’' said White. “It was a low-scoring game and any time you can score points it is very important. It felt good to score, celebrate with my teammates, and to be able to score again was pretty cool. But, just happy we came out with the win.’'

Cam Newton noted that White took over some of the snaps and responsibilities that had belonged to Burkhead, who was having a career year, for most of the season.

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“I know Rex is somewhere smiling,’' said Newton.

More Patriots-Cardinals coverage

Spence fills gap

Akeem Spence, who was pressed into action after fellow defensive tackles Byron Cowart (back) and Carl Davis (concussion/IR) were ruled out, made a seamless transition into the Patriots defense.

The eight-year veteran had four tackles, including an assist on the goal-line tackle that denied Kenyan Drake to end the first half.

“Pretty much it was on the goal line and just ‘mano y mano’, just wanting to make the play and keep points off the board, which was really helpful going into halftime,’' said Spence, who celebrated his 29th birthday Sunday. “It just so happened that the ball chose my gap and being a defensive tackle, you take pride in your gap. So, the ball showed up and I had that play and took it into the half. Keeping points off the board heading into halftime is big and helps us win in the end so I am really just doing my job.”

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Moncrief earns nod

Receiver Isaiah Ford was inactive for the second straight week and has yet to make his Patriots debut after being acquired from the Dolphins Nov. 3 for what will eventually be a seventh-round draft pick.

Ford, who was active but did not play against the Ravens, has apparently slipped behind Donte Moncrief on the depth chart as Moncrief, who was signed to the practice squad Nov. 4, was elevated to the active roster for the second straight week.

Moncrief, a seven-year veteran, didn’t have any catches, but his 53-yard kick return sparked New England’s first scoring drive. Gunner Olszewski had been the primary returner but he served as an up man Sunday.

Cowart, defensive end Tashawn Bower (illness), running back J.J. Taylor (quadriceps), and quarterback Brian Hoyer were the other New England inactives.

Sony Michel was active for the first time since Week 3 but didn’t receive any touches.

The Cardinals deactivated safety Jalen Thompson, offensive linemen Joshua Miles and Justin Murray, quarterback Brett Hundley, and running back Eno Benjamin.

Feeling it

Cornerback J.C. Jackson left late in the fourth quarter with what looked like a possible ankle injury. He spent time in the blue tent but didn’t go to the locker room … Adrian Phillips also left briefly in the fourth quarter after he was kicked in the knee. He returned on the next series. “I just needed it to calm down, which it did,’' said Phillips … Ja’Whaun Bentley had a career-high 13 tackles … Jermaine Eluemunor started at left tackle in place of Isaiah Wynn (ankle/IR) and said it was “cool.” Justin Herron also was active and played left tackle and in some jumbo packages … Bill Belichick coached in game No. 454, to tie Tom Landry for third all-time (Don Shula 526, George Halas, 506) … Folk has now hit 19 straight field goals … The Cardinals stayed in the locker room during the playing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” … The Patriots won’t play at Gillette Stadium again until Dec. 28 — a Monday night game against the Bills.

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Jim McBride can be reached at james.mcbride@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globejimmcbride.