The Patriots generated a historically low amount of offense against the Arizona Cardinals in Sunday's Week 12 game, and yet New England still managed to escape with a 20-17 win at Gillette Stadium.
Patriots quarterback Cam Newton completed nine of 18 pass attempts for a season-low 84 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions. The Patriots rushing attack, which has ranked among the NFL's best this season, also failed to impress with 110 yards on 30 carries (3.7 per rush).
New England finished with just 179 total yards of offense -- the team's lowest amount in any win since Bill Belichick took over as head coach in 2000.
So, how did the Patriots beat the Cardinals despite a low offensive output?
For starters, the defense played really well against a Cardinals offense that entered Week 12 scoring almost 30 points per game. Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray was held to just 201 total yards with zero touchdowns and one interception. New England's defense also made a key goal-line stand at the end of the first half to prevent going into the third quarter trailing 17-7. Arizona's offense was held to a season-low 4.3 yards per play, too.
Special teams were a huge factor for the Patriots as well. Kick/punt returns and two field goals from kicker Nick Folk, including the game-winner from 50 yards out as time expired, were pivotal in the outcome.
The Patriots are still alive in their pursuit of a playoff spot in the AFC, and their schedule over the final five games isn't very difficult. That said, New England's offense has to be better on a more consistent basis for this team to have a real chance at securing a postseason berth.