EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

October 3, 2011

Back on Track: Patriots adds physicality to balance offense in Oaklan

Here's the New England Patriots' numbers of the game yesterday in Oakland: 30 and 30.

As in 30 passes and, get this, 30 rushes.

Everything else was, well, meaningless.

Yes, Tom Brady made plays.

The difference yesterday, 3,500 miles away, was thankfully he didn't have to make all of them.

The New England Patriots went back to their winning days — bend and don't break on defense and tough, opportune football on offense. It led to an impressive 31-19 win over the Oakland Raiders.

Even the nondescript 2011 Patriots special teams didn't allow a potentially big play, forcing the Raiders to go nearly 80 yards every time their offense got the ball. That is a tall task with Jason Campbell at quarterback.

Anyway, the up-and-coming Raiders weren't the story in Black & Silver Land. It was the kind of football the Patriots played, the kind that didn't just win football games around here. It won championships.

It's a far cry from what we saw the last few weeks or really the last few years when the Brady wreaked havoc on the record book.

Mind you, this was not a Super Bowl contender the Patriots pummelled yesterday. Far from it. But the Raiders not only were playing in their home stadium but they did bury the braggadocious New York Jets a week ago, which we all know around here is no small accomplishment.

The Patriots had a lot to prove yesterday. The loss to the Buffalo Bills was embarrassing. Brady made a handful of mental errors that turned a 52-0 win into a humiliating loss. And the defense got abused by a Harvard University graduate at quarterback.

Their collective manhood was questioned. And rightly so.

When was the last time Brady barely topped 50 percent completions (he was 16 for 30)? Was it at Michigan? Junipero Serra High?

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports

Local Sports Videos
Sports Videos
Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft NHL playoff preview: Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings NHL playoff preview: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens NHL playoff preview: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Carolina Panthers NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Atlanta Falcons Too Hot or Too Cold: Brewers and Rangers NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Baltimore Ravens NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Arizona Cardinals NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs – Oakland Raiders NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs – Houston Texans NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs – Jacksonville Jaguars Olympic Great Michael Phelps Ending Retirement Draft Preview: Chris Davis Draft Preview: Jay Prosch Watson: 'I'm always going to cry' Is the use of pine tar considered cheating? Draft Preview: Jake Matthews Draft Preview: L'Damian Washington
Boston Sports
Iginla hungry for first Stanley Cup Running Strong: How the Bruins National Anthem brought Boston together Patriots Talk TV: Should the Pats abandon the 2 TE system? Brad Stevens: Hopeful season was a 'learning experience' for young Celtics Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft NHL playoff preview: Boston Bruins vs. Detroit Red Wings NHL playoff preview: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens NHL playoff preview: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday McAdam: MLB replay system already affecting Sox Running Strong: Marathon Sports Manager, Shane O'Hara reflects back on Marathon bombings Merloni: An imperfect game we're trying to make perfect Felger sounds of on the MLB replay system McAdam: Pedroia D.L. stint 'not hard to imagine' NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Carolina Panthers NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Atlanta Falcons Too Hot or Too Cold: Brewers and Rangers NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Baltimore Ravens NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs - Arizona Cardinals NFL Draft 2014 Team Needs – Oakland Raiders