NEPD Staff Writer: Doug Kyed
In a win that presented more questions than answers, especially with injuries and the defense, the Patriots offense was able to secure a victory over the Oakland Raiders.
That really didn’t feel like a 31-20 victory, did it? The Patriots won and actually played a pretty good game, but I’d almost say the Raiders beat themselves more than anything.
Here are some quick hit thoughts on the game:
-Let’s all hope Jerod Mayo isn’t out for the season, this team won’t survive if Gary Guyton is expected to fill in for him as an every down player.
-The Patriots did a great job stopping the run. They dared the Raiders to pass and Jason Campbell beat himself. From the second half forward, the Patriots defense played a great game.
-Patrick Chung’s interception couldn’t have been easier, but it was still impressive with the big cast on his thumb. Chung made a big difference in this game. The Pats defense looked a lot better with him back.
-Great pick by Vince Wilfork, it’s great when he shows off his athleticism for his 325 lb frame.
-A lot of people will complain about the lack of pressure, but once again, when the goal was to stop the run, you’re not going to blitz heavily. I’d save the blitzes for the Jets. Still, only getting three QB hits and 0 sacks is really poor even for constant four man rush.
-The New England secondary, especially McCourty, did a nice job staying with the Raiders speedy WRs. They’re not good WRs, but they are speedy and constantly having a safety over the top limited their biggest asset. This secondary will look a lot better after Dowling and Bodden are back. Don’t look at the 300 yards Campbell threw, look at the score.
-I liked finally seeing Dane Fletcher and Jermaine Cunningham get some significant playing time late in the game. I’d like to see Mark Anderson in more next.
-The o-line continues to protect Brady well, even without Vollmer in. Brady also does a nice job of making them look better by evading pressure so well.
-Ridley continues to show what an asset he is in the offense. Don’t expect to see 20 carries from him, but he might lead the team in carries from here on out.
-I worry a little bit about how dependent Brady has been on Welker lately. Gronk seemed to struggle a little bit today, but Brady needs another dependable target. Welker has been amazing this season.
-Deion Branch has had a terrible time getting open the last two games, I hope that Ochocinco and Taylor Price get some looks if that continues
-The lack of Hernandez continues to take the no huddle out of the game for New England. Expect to see this Patriots offense back to being super charged when he comes back.
-Ochocinco still hasn’t had his breakout game, but at this point he is a nice piece to have. I’d expect to see him a lot against the Jets.
Overall, the Patriots did a really nice job of stopping a very dangerous player in Darren McFadden. This team will only keep getting better the better the defense gets. There were a lot of new pieces to put in place and not a lot of time to set them up. Expect to see Shaun Ellis and Gary Guyton get less playing time as the season progresses. Andre Carter also hasn’t been very impressive, it might be time to see some new looks along the front seven.
Most importantly, the offense wasn’t meshing like they’ve showed all season and the defense showed this team can still win if we’re not putting up 500 yards of offense.
I’ll have more thoughts tomorrow in my keys to victory column.