FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Stephen Gostkowski lay face down on the field after missing a shot at a winning field goal. On the sideline, Kevin Kolb and the Arizona Cardinals celebrated their victory.
The most accurate kicker in New England Patriots history sent a 42-yard attempt wide to the left on the next to last play -- after making three longer field goals -- and the Cardinals held on for a 20-18 win.
"Nobody really gave us a chance," said Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt, whose team was a two-touchdown underdog, "but our guys believed they could do it and it's great to see them operate that way."
Backup quarterback Kolb did his part by throwing for one touchdown and running for another. Arizona's defense contributed by sacking Tom Brady four times. And the special teams came through with a blocked punt that set up a touchdown.
"We knew what kind of game this was going to be," said Kolb, filling in for John Skelton, who sat out with a sprained right ankle. "We've been kind of stressing it all week, stay patient, don't get greedy."
The Patriots (1-1) began their final possession after Vince Wilfork recovered a fumble by Ryan Williams at the Cardinals 30 with 1:01 left. A 30-yard run into the end zone by Danny Woodhead was nullified by a holding penalty against Rob Gronkowski.
New England then moved to the 24 before Tom Brady spiked the ball to stop the clock with six seconds left.
But Gostkowski sent his kick to the left, just as Billy Cundiff did facing the same goal post on a 32-yard attempt with 11 seconds left in the Patriots' 23-20 AFC championship win in January against Baltimore.
"I had a chance to win and it came down to me and I didn't pull through, and it stinks," said Gostkowski, who had been 3 for 3 in his career on field-goal attempts in the final two minutes with a chance to tie or win a game.
Coach Bill Belichick placed the blame on the entire team. "There are a lot of things we could have done better today all the way around, all of us," he said. "Plenty of mistakes out there."
The Cardinals (2-0) have won nine of their past 11 games.
The Patriots (1-1) suffered a big loss when tight end Aaron Hernandez, hurt his right ankle in the first quarter.
Kolb overcame a shaky start and then threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Andre Roberts six minutes into the third quarter. Then Kolb ran for a 5-yard score in the fourth as the Cardinals took a 20-9 lead.
The Patriots made numerous uncharacteristic mistakes, beginning when cornerback Patrick Peterson intercepted Brady on the Patriots' first offensive play.
"It's not like we played the perfect game. So, we have a lot to improve on," Kolb said. "If you can get those ugly wins checked off in the win column, that's big."
The loss was the first in 11 home openers since the Patriots moved into Gillette Stadium in 2002. The Cardinals ended a five-game losing streak against the Patriots, beating them for the first time since Sept. 29, 1991.
Brady completed 28 of 46 passes for 316 yards and extended his streak to 34 games with at least one touchdown pass, fourth-best in NFL history. But the Patriots were content to let Gostkowski try a 42-yarder at the end as Brady took a knee on two plays to run time off before spiking the ball.
"It's just a decision that coach [Bill Belichick] makes," Brady said. "We shouldn't have been leaving it up to that particular situation. We were fortunate to get that defensive turnover there late. We just came up short."
Kolb completed 15 of 27 passes for 140 yards with one sack and no interceptions, and that was good enough to pull off the upset. The Patriots held Larry Fitzgerald to one catch for 4 yards.
"Coming down here to get a 'W' can definitely propel our season to the next level," Peterson said. "Some guys in the locker room described it as a statement game. But we'll have to wait and see what the rest of the season has for us."