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Here’s our weekly look at the key plays in the Patriots’ game after reviewing the film.

Attacking the Cardinals

In Jimmy Garoppolo’s first start, the Patriots relied on a multitude of “rub routes” to create quick space for WRs.

On third and 5 in the second quarter, the Patriots line up trips-left with Chris Hogan, Julian Edelman and Malcolm Mitchell.

Edelman runs straight up-field to create space, while Mitchell and Hogan criss-cross each other.

Mitchell gets in the way of the defender, and Hogan is wide open for a catch-and-run for 19 yards.

Picking up their tells

A key responsibility for Garoppolo was deciphering before the snap whether the Cardinals were in zone or man coverage. The tight ends helped Garoppolo figure it out. If A.J. Derby (split wide) is covered by a cornerback, the Cardinals are probably in zone. But if Chandler Jones comes out to cover him, the Cardinals are in man.


Defending the Cardinals

The Patriots’ defense is tough to diagnose because the QB doesn’t always know who is rushing and who is dropping.

On third-and-2 play, the Patriots crowd the line of scrimmage with six defenders.

But Jamie Collins, Dont’a Hightower and Trey Flowers all drop into coverage, confusing the Cardinals’ linemen and leaving Chris Long and Jabaal Sheard in 1-on-1 blocking.

And Long does a great job of bull-rushing through LT Jared Veldheer for the sack.

Offensive snap counts
Cardinals (71)
G Joe Thuney 71
T Cameron Fleming 71
QB Jimmy Garoppolo 71
C David Andrews 71
T Marcus Cannon 71
TE Martellus Bennett 69
WR Julian Edelman 61
G Ted Karras 58
WR Chris Hogan 55
RB LeGarrette Blount 42
WR Malcolm Mitchell 39
RB James White 26
TE AJ Derby 20
WR Danny Amendola 19
FB James Develin 17
G Shaq Mason 14
WR Matt Slater 4
RB Brandon Bolden 3
Defensive snap counts
Cardinals (61)
S Devin McCourty 61
LB Jamie Collins 61
CB Logan Ryan 61
CB Malcolm Butler 61
S Patrick Chung 60
LB Donta Hightower 58
DE Jabaal Sheard 44
CB Justin Coleman 40
DE Chris Long 39
DT Alan Branch 31
DT Malcom Brown 30
S Duron Harmon 29
LB Shea McClellin 24
DE Trey Flowers 21
DT Vincent Valentine 20
DT Anthony Johnson 20
LB Jon Freeny 6
CB Cyrus Jones 5
S Jordan Richards 1