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Week 1 of the NFL is never short of storylines. As the majority of the games concluded and the night game took stage, one of the biggest storyline’s was about to unfold.  As far as sports dynasties go, few other teams have as good a claim to one as the New England Patriots. With Tom Brady commanding, the Patriots have been a lock for the playoffs and for at least 12 wins every season and they are a perennial threat to win the Super Bowl. The 2016 season offers a new challenge for the consistently successful team, however.

Since Brady received a suspension from Commissioner Roger Goodell of four games to start the season, the Sunday Night matchup vs the Arizona Cardinals offered Patriots fans the first glimpse of what life after Brady could look like. Longtime backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was given the start. Unfortunately, his first major task was to play against a Cardinals team that finished last season with a 13-3 record. Garoppolo and an injury depleted Patriots team was up to the task.

 

The Patriots would go on to defeat the Cardinals 23-21, despite starting a backup quarterback and missing tight end Rob Gronkowski and their top defensive lineman, Rob Ninkovich. Garappolo looked poised and confident while he administered strong drive after strong drive. Running back LaGarette Blount also had a strong game behind what looks to be a much-improved Patriots offensive line. It seems that fans who have been eagerly awaiting the demise of the Patriots may have to wait longer than expected. This time may be just fine when star quarterback Tom Brady decides to call it quits.