BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots enjoyed a successful business over the last week, one that started in Colorado Springs and ended with the team earning their eighth victory of the season down in Mexico City.
Here are your Gold Stars and Penalty Flags:
– Brandin Cooks gets a gold star. Because of the altitude in Mexico City, there was a thought that as long as Cooks could run and hold his air, he was going to have a big day. Everyone had that right.
The receiver finished with six catches for 149 yards and a touchdown. The scoring strike of 64 yards was great because you actually saw the corner give up at the end of the run. Cooks has worked hard and his connection with Tom Brady is growing. He’s now tied for fourth in the NFL with 786 yards on the season.
The Patriots are once again taking the top off of defenses, and Cooks is a giant part of it.
– Malcolm Butler and Stephon Gilmore get gold stars. I feel this was the first game that both Malcolm and Stephon both were on the same page and played lock down defense. This is exactly what the Pats were expecting. Raiders wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper were ineffective. Both Gilmore and Butler competed and got their jobs done.
I’m looking down the road and can’t wait to see how they match up with Pittsburgh’s receivers in Week 15.
– Tom Brady gets a gold star. He’s the only quarterback in NFL history to notch wins in three different countries. He simply beat up on the Raiders and gave the fans in Mexico City a show. Oakland had no answer for No. 12 and it showed. His offensive line is keeping him upright and a Brady in a clean pocket is a dangerous Brady.
– Bill Belichick gets a gold star. The coach is now alone in third place on the NFL’s all-time wins list and he gets big props for planning ahead and having his team spend a week in the high altitude at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Nobody does it better than Bill.
Robert Kraft gave Belichick the game ball after Sunday’s win, and the coach obviously gave all the credit to his team:
– The Oakland Raiders’ whole approach to this game gets a penalty flag. They were coming off of their bye week and decided to practice in Oakland at low altitude. They didn’t arrive in Mexico City until Saturday. It wasn’t a smart move.
This team was gassed by the end of the first quarter, and looked winded when the Pats went with the hurry up offense on their first possession. Shame on Jack Del Rio for not putting his team in the best position to win this game. Marshawn Lynch got tired early, Khalil Mack was exhausted and no one could catch anything for Oakland. Their game plan was a wreck. They made no effort to win this game and it showed.