Positive, Negative Takeaways: Patriots Narrowly Edge Raiders


Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots narrowly edged the lowly Oakland Raiders Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium. Despite a sputtering offense, the Patriots defense held it’s own when it mattered the most, closing the door on a 16-9 victory. It wasn’t the team’s most graceful of performances, but a win is a win in the NFL. They are now 2-1 on the season and are tied with the Buffalo Bills for first place in the AFC East.

After each game I like to take an opportunity to reflect on the impressive aspects of the Patriots play and the areas that turned out poorly. There was plenty of both in this tilt.

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1. With the offense in flux, Julian Edelman continues to be a reliable target for Tom Brady. Edelman caught 10 balls for 84 yards. Brady targeted him 15 times. The next closest receiver to Edelman was Brandon LaFell with four catches. Rob Gronkowski added three.

2. The defense once again led the team to victory. They sparked a blowout win over the Vikings last week and stood stout with the game on the line this week as Vince Wilfork nabbed a game-ending interception. The Raiders were held to just 241 yards of total offense. It’s clear the Patriots can rely heavily on their defensive unit in the most key of situations. They could be an unstoppable team once the offensive finds its way.

3. Jerod Mayo tallied 11 total tackles. He continues to be a force in the middle of the Patriots defense. He was highly effective in combatting Darren McFadden. Oakland’s leading rusher gained just 59 yards on 18 carries.


1. The rushing attack was held in check by the NFL’s last ranked run defense. Stevan Ridley picked up just 54 yards on 19 carries. Shane Vereen had only 20 yards on seven carries.

2. The offensive line continued to struggle with pass blocking. Justin Tuck seemed to be in Brady’s face more often than not. He had one sack and three quarterback hits. Brady was hit a total of seven times. Dan Connolly also cost the Patriots a potential touchdown when his low snap was fumbled away while they were in scoring territory.

3. Brady needs to spread the rock around more. He targeted Edelman and Gronk on 19 combined occasions, missing other guys running open at times. Brady by no means played poorly, but his reluctancy to look elsewhere nearly resulted in an interception on couple of plays. Danny Amendola had just 1 target and no catches.