By Danny Cox
The Oakland Raiders aren’t having nearly as good of a season as they were hoping to have, but there was still time for them to get back into the playoff hunt. Perhaps a change of location would have been enough for them to jump back into the thick of the AFC race and get a huge win in Mexico City.
Unfortunately for the Raiders, they had to face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. From the start of the game until the very end of the full 60 minutes, the Pats absolutely dominated in every aspect of the game, and headed back home with a 33-8 victory over the Raiders.
The Patriots’ running game didn’t do much, but they really didn’t have to. Even with a big 17-0 lead at halftime that continued throughout the game, Tom Brady had the hot hand and they let him go with it. He finished the game with 339 yards and three touchdowns on 30-of-37 passing to eight different receivers. Brandin Cooks led the team with 149 yards on six receptions including a wide open 64-yard bomb early in the third quarter.
Dion Lewis led the Pats in rushing with 60 yards on 10 attempts, and Danny Amendola also scored a TD, but it wasn’t about rushing the ball. Bill Belichick wanted the Raiders embarrassed, and he did it with Brady’s arm.
The Raiders put up a decent amount of yardage, but it really didn’t matter. They scored a touchdown with a two-point conversion, but it came far too late. Marshawn Lynch was shut down and held to just 67 yards on 11 carries, and only one Raider had more than 50 yards receiving, as Michael Crabtree had 51 on six catches.
Derek Carr was sacked once and intercepted once, and the Raiders also lost one fumble. New England’s defense simply smothered the Raiders offense, and while they couldn’t keep them from having a decent amount of yardage gained, they did just fine at keeping them away from the end zone.
Special Teams: A-
The day pretty much belonged to Stephen Gostkowski, who hit all four of his field goal attempts and his three extra point tries for a total of 15 points. It wasn’t just that he was extremely accurate; it was the distance he showed and the strength of his leg. Gostkowski hit from 29, 40, 51, and a whopping 62 yards on the day.
Ryan Allen only punted twice in the game as the Patriots offense just worked too well. Devin McCourty only had one return attempt too, and it was a short one.
This was a great game for the Patriots from start to finish, and Bill Belichick could not have put a better game plan together for their trip to Mexico City. The Raiders are no slouch, but they could do nothing against the Pats defense and Tom Brady simply could not be stopped.
Big plays, an improving defense, and a quarterback who only seems to get better with age is what makes this Patriots team so dangerous. It didn’t matter that they were playing in unfamiliar territory; they just did what they know how to do, and it worked. The early-season cobwebs and rust have been shaken off and that is a good thing. Getting to the Super Bowl won’t be easy, as the NFC is ridiculously strong this year.
Up Next: The Patriots have a home game against the Miami Dolphins (4-6) on Sunday, Nov. 26. After this week’s victory in Mexico City, the Pats return home to face a Dolphins team that looked promising early on, but that has now lost four in a row. The status of Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler is also unknown after he landed in concussion protocol on Sunday.