Jimmy Garoppolo passed his first test with flying colors Sunday night, leading the Patriots to a 23-21 win over the Cardinals in Arizona. Garoppolo went 24-of-33 for 264 yards and a touchdown – a 37-yard strike to Chris Hogan that put the Pats up 7-0 in the first quarter. When the Patriots lost the lead in the fourth quarter, Garoppolo led a 13-play 61-yard drive to set up Stephen Gostkowski’s game-winning 32-yard field goal.
All in all, not a bad night for the 24-year-old.
“You really saw the development in his ability to reset pockets,” three-time Super Bowl champion and current NESN Patriots reporter Matt Chatham said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I think he was very impressive how he came out. He got knocked down a couple times. A couple times they had corner pressures that got there and forced negative plays, but it was his ability to get back up and actually reset himself and have better plays after. He just looked really smooth, not overtaken by the moment.”
Garoppolo showed solid mobility in the pocket, eluding tacklers and keeping plays alive. He also had a nice 10-yard run once the defense broke down.
“He can get out and move a little bit,” Chatham said. “It’s not RG3, but he does have the ability to go when he needs to go. I think that really helps the quarterback because it makes (the defense) respect you. You can pull guys out of zones. You can pull guys out of their coverages because they have to respect that you’re about to take off. Just doing it once, twice, three times a game keeps people honest. I was happy to see him do it. I think if you’re watching film of him next week and trying to figure out how to game-plan, you now have to consider that.”
The Patriots (1-0) play their next three games at home, beginning with the Dolphins (0-1) this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
If the Patriots can beat the Cardinals in Arizona without Tom Brady, it’s safe to say they can beat just about anyone at home, right?
“Well, let’s put it this way,” Chatham said. “If this had not gone well for the Patriots, if it had been a bad loss or even a close loss, we’d probably be saying, ‘Hey, one game.’ I know that locker room and I know how things are there. Coach Belichick is just not of the mind to let this become a big thing. There are no September Super Bowls. It’s great, it feels great, I think it will give a lot of your players confidence. But if for some reason you slip up, the Bills can beat you, too. Or the Jets. Or whoever happens to be next on the schedule. That’s really how things are done around there. I think you saw it even in the game. If you look at how things went down, there were a couple of big momentum swings where . . . after those turnovers, those slip-ups, they really let the Cardinals back in the game. So I think there’s enough sort of film lessons there that he’ll hammer back to them that if you guys relent at any moment, you can be average and get beat by anybody else. I’m sure that’s what he’ll tell them.”