The New England Patriots went south of the border to take on the Oakland Raiders in Mexico City and dominated from the start as they went on to route the Raiders 33-8. The offense continues to dominate opposing defenses, the Patriots’ defense seems to be getting better each week, and special teams continues to excel. Let’s examine how the Patriots were able to succeed in the high altitudes of Estadio Azteca.
No surprise here, but the Patriots offense continues to be the top offense in the league led by a 40 year old quarterback. The continue to be efficient on every drive and put up big numbers each and every week.
Tom Brady continues to show that age in nearly a number, as he threw for 339 yards and three touchdowns in yesterday’s game. There was not many mistakes made by him, and he was given a lot of time to work in the pocket without any consistent pressure being put on him all game. He was finding all of his receivers, especially Brandin Cooks for 149 yards, including a 64 yard touchdown bomb that reminded everyone of the Brady-Randy Moss connections of years past. He hit him perfectly in stride and put the game essentially out of reach for good as that opened the lead to 24 points early in the third quarter.
Although the rushing attack wasn’t amazing, it executed well enough to keep the Raiders guessing on defense. Dion Lewis continues to perform each week, leading the team in rushing for the past six games, all of which have been victories (coincidence?). With Lewis, Rex Burkhead and James White all getting touches in both the passing and the running game, it makes opposing defenses even more scared, not being able to guess if it will be a run or a pass by whatever running back is in the backfield with Tom.
Offense Grade: A
The Patriots’ defense over the past six games has looked like a completely different unit than the one we saw in the first four weeks of the season. Yesterday they continued their hot streak, allowing only 8 points which came in the fourth quarter when the Patriots were already up by 30 points. Although they were only able to get one sack on Derek Carr, the defensive pressure was huge as Carr completed less than 60 percent of his passing attempts on the day.
The secondary was also vital to that stat, as they kept the Oakland receivers in check for most of the game, coming up with a big interception by Duron Harmon late in the first quarter. A key interception early in the game that provided a big momentum shift towards the Patriots.
Besides the touchdown in the fourth, the Raiders only got into the red zone on one additional drive, where Marquis Flowers came up with a huge strip that caused a turnover right before halftime. Once again, a key turnover at a perfect time to keep the Raiders off the board.
This defense keeps improving each week and have allowed an average of less than 13 points during the six game winning streak. This defense quickly changed from the worst in the league to a Super Bowl-caliber unit.
Defense Grade: A
Although the special teams unit was not the best unit on the field, they still did their job and contributed to the win yesterday. Stephen Gostkowski was as great as he has been all season, hitting all three extra points and converting on all four field goal attempts. In the high altitude, he was able to hit a career-long 62 yard field goal to end the first half. It looked like it would have been good from 70 yards with the way he has been striking the ball. His 15 points total yesterday were his highest of the season.
Ryan Allen was only called onto punt the ball twice, once early in the second quarter and then once on the final Patriots drive late in the fourth quarter. Both times he was able to get the Raiders inside the 20 yard-line, which coach Belichick likes to see as he loves his field position.
There weren’t any punt returns, and only one return on the kickoff by Devin McCourty.
Special Teams Grade A-
Honestly, most teams would look at this game and say that this may be their best performance all season and they won’t be able to match what they did. But as the New England Patriots, they have played many games like this and will hopefully continue to play like this with 6 games remaining on the schedule. They host the Miami Dolphins this week, where they don’t lost in November.
If you would like to receive an email each time a new New England Patriots article is published, fill out our email notification form.