OAKLAND, Calif. – The Patriots improved to 3-1 with a 31-19 victory over the Raiders at O.co Coliseum. Let’s take a look back.
WHY DID THE PATRIOTS WIN?
Well, for one, the Patriots didn’t turn the ball over. They are very hard to beat when they do that. And the Raiders contributed by having nine penalties and two interceptions. If Jason Campbell doesn’t throw an interception right to Patrick Chung with in the end zone with 2:24 left in the first half with the Patriots leading 14-10, we might have a different game.
- LB Jerod Mayo (left MCL sprain): This is the type of injury where it depends on how quickly the player heals. A league source said a month is likely, but Aaron Hernandez had the same injury and hopes to be back this week. Anywhere from two to six weeks.
- DT Kyle Love (knee): Returned to the game and said he was fine after the game.
- RB Danny Woodhead (left ankle): Did not return.
- LB Rob Ninkovich (right leg): Did not return. Said he was just sore after the game. This is something he’s been dealing with for a while.
THREE THINGS TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT
- Thirteen points: That’s what the defense allowed until garbage time. In this day and age in the NFL, that’s pretty good no matter what the circumstances are.
- Offensive balance: The Patriots ran (30 times) as many times as they passed it (30), which is something we thought we might never see again. The running backs had 20 carries for 185 yards (9.3 yards per carry). Rookie Stevan Ridley busted out with 97 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown, on 10 carries.
- Evolution of Ochocinco: Chad Ochocinco only had two catches for 26 yards, but he didn’t have a big mistake and contributed in run blocking. This was something he can build off of, and the Patriots will need him later in the season.
THREE THINGS TO WORRY ABOUT
- Mayo injury: He’s likely out about a month, and he keeps everybody lined up right on that defense. His leadership will be missed, but guys will need to do the job.
- Lack of offensive options: Wes Welker had nine receptions for 158 yards, and no one else had more than two. The better defensive teams, like the Jets this week, are going to double Welker and TE Rob Gronkowski, and make Brady go elsewhere. Can the Patriots survive that? We’ll see.
- 504 yards: It didn’t kill them in this game, but the Patriots can’t continue to allow over 450 yards and 62 percent third down conversions. They need to get off the field and let the offense do more damage.
1. WR Wes Welker: He was targeted 14 times, caught nine and had 158 yards with a touchdown. You worry about him taking a beating, but nobody’s tougher.
2. RB Stevan Ridley: He’s crying out to get more touches. The reason he isn’t is probably his lack of comfort with the entire offense. Because his talent indicates he should be out there. Nobody has more explosion in the backfield.
3. CB Devin McCourty: He had a rough game against the Bills, but he led the team with eight tackles – which was a must to keep Darren McFadden running wild.
Vs. Jets (2-1), 4:15 p.m., at Gillette Stadium
Result: Jets, who lost to the Raiders in Week 2, were playing terrible in the first half vs. the Ravens on Sunday Night Football.