GLENDALE, Arizona — Making his first career regular-season start, New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo got off to a blazing start Sunday night, throwing for 75 yards on his first drive and capping it off with a 37-yard touchdown strike to receiver Chris Hogan down the left sideline.
That staked the Patriots to a 7-0 lead over the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.
He finished with 264 passing yards and a touchdown with no interceptions, leading the depleted Patriots to a 23-21 victory.
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Jimmy Garoppolo did just enough to keep the Patriots competitive, leading them to a season-opening win in his first start.
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“When you have confidence in your teammates and they have confidence in you, it’s easy to stay poised,” Garoppolo said.
Coach Bill Belichick wasn’t ready to crown Garoppolo the next Tom Brady, though.
“He made some good plays. It is not perfect, but he made a lot of good plays,” Belichick said.
Late in the fourth quarter, Garoppolo directed the Patriots from their own 19 to the Arizona 15 to set up Stephen Gostkowski‘s 23-yard field goal for what proved to be the winner with 3:44 to play.
After the first-quarter touchdown pass, Garoppolo’s emotion came out, as he jumped into the arms of his offensive linemen and pumped his fists.
Garoppolo started in the place of Brady, who is serving a four-game suspension to open the season as part of the NFL’s Deflategate punishment.
As part of their game plan against the Cardinals, the Patriots got the ball out of Garoppolo’s hand quickly.
According to ESPN Stats Information, the last time Brady threw for 75 yards on an opening drive was Week 7 of the 2014 season against the New York Jets (76 yards).
Again, Garoppolo talked about that Patriot confidence.
“Whoever is out there, we have confidence in one another,” he said. “That is a good thing we have going for us.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.