FOXBORO -- There was nothing Ryan Williams could do.
The damage was already done. He fumbled at his own 35-yard line with one minute left in a two-point game. The Patriots recovered, milked the clock down to six seconds, and a 42-yard field goal would give them a one-point win over the Cardinals
But as the young Arizona running back stood on the sideline for what should have been a game-winning kick, Stephen Gostkowski let Williams off the hook.
He shanked it, wide-left. And the Cardinals held on for a 20-18 win.
"This team has resiliency," said Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt afterwards. "It finds a way to win. They never give up. So, that's the first thing that came to my mind when Williams fumbled.
"I didn't like it, that the win came that way. I've got a lot less hair, because of that. But our guys worked hard enough, and we deserved to win today."
Williams had the ball knocked out from under his arm on a 3rd-and-13 carry to the left, as Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes put his helmet into it. Vince Wilfork recovered, and it gave New England a chance to win.
But when that didn't happen, Williams went from being the goat, to having nothing more than a learning experience.
"Look, the guy's helmet hit right on the ball," said Whisenhunt. "It wasn't that Ryan was swinging it out from his body. But, in that situation, you've got to understand what's on the line. He's a young player, and he'll learn from that."
When asked what the Cardinals were thinking as Gostkowski ran out for the kick, cornerback Patrick Peterson said he was thinking, "Go get it."
"I think we put a lot of pressure on a lot of teams with our field-goal block team," said Peterson. "With me coming off the edge, Calais Campbell in the middle, we create a lot of havoc for a lot of teams. We just want to continue putting pressure on field-goal teams, so things like that can happen."
Things like, Gostkowski missing a game-winning field goal at home in the final seconds.
But if the kick went through the uprights, could the Cardinals imagine how they would have felt?
"Ya, but, he missed it," said Peterson with a smile.
Indeed he did. And it takes a whole lot of the spotlight off Williams.