Originally posted on This Given Sunday  |  Last updated 9/16/12

The Cardinals suddenly look like a real football team, and that's thanks in no small part to an under appreciated defensive unit that held the Patriots to just 18 points in a stunning victory against the New England Patriots.

Oddly enough, the Cardinals held the lead most of the game, but in classic Tom Brady fashion, the Patriots made a run to tie the game late. They scored a would-be-tying touchdown with just over 2 minutes remaining in the game, but the Cardinals kept them out of the endzone on the tying two point attempt.

After a first down, the Cardinals seemingly had the game wrapped up. They could run the ball and punt it to the Patriots with under 20 seconds remaining, that is, until Arizona running back Ryan Williams coughed up the football on third and long, giving the Patriots the ball at the 30 yard line.

From there, the game continued to get stranger still. The Patriots promptly had a touchdown called back on a holding call that some would call questionable. At first glance it was a holding, a brief holding, but still a holding. The penalty netted 0 yards as it happened 10 yards down the field, but it set the stage for a winning field goal.

With just seconds remaining, Stephen Gostkowski stepped up to kick a 42 yard, game winning field goal. The result was oddly similar to Billy Cundiff's miss against the Patriots in the AFC championship game last season. The kick gave the Cardinals the shocking win of the season, to this point.

I'm not ready to say the Cardinals are "for real," but this game at least showed us they can play with the big dogs and even hold their own.

[follow]

This article first appeared on This Given Sunday and was syndicated with permission.

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