New England Patriots defeat Arizona Cardinals, 23-12

It was the kind of game Corey Dillon was brought to New England to win.

Everything was just a little off kilter yesterday in the steam heat at Sun Devil Stadium. High emotion was in the air like static electricity in anticipation of the halftime retirement of the number worn by former Arizona Cardinals safety Pat Tillman, who walked away from a lucrative pro football career to become an Army Ranger and paid the ultimate price for that decision during a firefight in Afgh...

Patriots wide receiver David Givens entered yesterday's game with the Cardinals with zero 100-yard games in his three-year career. He didn't appear to be on his way to reaching that milestone yesterday when he had but one catch for 15 yards at halftime.

But starter Deion Branch suffered a leg injury on New England's last drive of the first half and did not return. Givens stepped in for Branch and stepped up in a big way, with five receptions for 103 yards in the second ...

One of these days a rising team like the Arizona Cardinals is going to come out of the blue and beat the defending Super Bowl champions.

That day was not yesterday. Nor does it appear that day is anywhere in sight.

The Cardinals might have been pesky and tough, the 100-degree heat on the field posed some problems, and the emotional halftime tribute to Pat Tillman gave the Patriots all they could handle, but New England has made winning a habit and an art form.

The...

One of the more interesting moments of the Patriots' 23-12 win over the Cardinals yesterday occurred near the end of the first half when kicker Neil Rackers was about to attempt a 58-yard field goal.

The Patriots called a timeout to freeze Rackers.

As the sides lined up, the official announced that the teams had no more timeouts, but that didn't stop Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel from signaling an exaggerated timeout as the ball was being snapped, appearing to dist...