While it wasn’t pretty at times, the Patriots took care of business Sunday against the Raiders.
Following a tough loss in Seattle last Sunday night, the Patriots bounced back with a 36-20 win over the Raiders at Gillette Stadium.
Las Vegas did a good job keeping Cam Newton in check, but the running backs, led by Rex Burkhead, bailed the offense out and had their best performance of the season.
Newton finished the game 17-for-28 passing with 162 yards, a touchdown and an interception, while adding just 27 yards on the ground.
The Patriots also benefited from forcing three turnovers on defense, including a late strip of Derek Carr in the end zone resulting in a touchdown for Deatrich Wise.
Here are 10 quick thoughts on the game.
1. Sony Michel had his best performance in quite some time, as he finished the game with 117 yards on nine carries, including a 38-yard run and a 48-yard run. Before Sunday his longest career rush was 35 yards. It seemed he may have been motivated by rookie J.J. Taylor’s play as following a few strong Taylor runs, Michel seemed to turn it up another notch. Taylor finished with 43 yards.
2. The Raiders did a good job of keeping Newton in check, but the running backs picked him up. Besides Michel and Taylor, Rex Burkhead had a terrific game, finishing with a career-high three touchdowns. He had 49 yards on six carries and then added seven catches for 49 yards. If he can stay healthy, Burkhead can be a big contributor to this offense.
3. While it wasn’t a dominant performance by the Patriots defense by any means, it made the plays when it needed to. The unit held the Raiders to just 3-for-9 on third down and Las Vegas was 2-for-5 in the red zone.
4. Josh McDaniels deserves a lot of credit for this one. Las Vegas did a great job taking away Newton, but he was still able to scheme up plays to move the ball down the field. Once again it was a lot of misdirection to take advantage of a speedy Raiders defense. Also, the Patriots got a strong performance from their offensive line even though they were missing David Andrews.
5. The Patriots did a good job against tight end Darren Waller. He did not seem 100 percent, but still, the defense deserves credit for keeping him in check. The Patriots used a number of different players on him, although Joejuan Williams had him the most. Waller finished the game with just two catches for nine yards.
6. The end of the first half was not a good sequence for the Patriots defense. The Raiders had the ball on their own 25-yard line with 34 seconds and scored just 28 seconds later. The big play on the drive was a defensive pass interference penalty by Stephon Gilmore. It was his third of the year, which comes following him having just five all of last year.
7. It was a sloppy game in terms of the defense getting the right personnel on the field. New England had to use four timeouts on defense, including two when it had 12 men on he field. This is very uncharacteristic of a Bill Belichick-coached team, but could be attributed to the no preseason and this just being the third game. The Patriots were out of timeouts with just over 12 minutes remaining in the game.
8. The Patriots wide receivers were pretty much invisible in the game. Julian Edelman only had two catches for 23 yards, while N’Keal Harry added two grabs for 34 yards. Burkhead was the leading receiver with seven catches for 49 yards. This is not a recipe to win every week in the NFL.
9. Chase Winovich continues to have an outstanding start to his sophomore season. He had a tremendous rush off the edge to strip-sack Carr in the first half. He put on some weight/strength this offseason and is using it to his advantage. He’s been arguably the Patriots’ best defensive player this season.
10. Prior to the game, the Patriots held a moment of silence for James White’s father, Tyrone, who was tragically killed in a car accident last weekend in South Florida. His mom was also injured in the incident. White missed his second straight game Sunday.
The Patriots are now 52-1 since 2000 when a player rushes for 100 yards.