New England Beats Oakland As Both Offenses Struggle

New England Beats Oakland As Both Offenses Struggle

New England defeated Oakland 16-9 on Sunday in a tepid offensive showing for both teams.

Matthew Dixon

Sunday's game between the Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots did not have much in the way of offensive fireworks. It ended up being the an unlikely Patriot defender who sealed the win. Vince Wilfork's interception with 51 seconds left allowed the Patriots to come away with a 16-9 win.

Wilfork's interception was the only turnover of the game, while the two kickers both hit three field goals apiece. The Patriot's offense was especially sluggish in the first quarter and did not even get past midfield in the first 15 minutes.

Both teams traded punts on their first possession before Oakland got their first field goal. Oakland's second drive stalled at the New England 31 yard line and Sebastian Janikowski nailed a 49 yard field goal to make it 3-0. New England did nothing with the ensuing possession and gave it back to Oakland, but the Raiders failed to sustain their drive as well.

The Patriots' first drive of the second quarter was their best of the game. The Patriots converted all 5 of their third down conversions including the last one, which was a 6 yard touchdown strike from Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski. That gave the Patriots the 7-3 lead that they would not relinquish. They would, however, have nervy moments throughout the remainder of the game.

The Raiders went three-and-out to give the ball back to Brady and the Patriots at midfield with 2:45 left in the first half. New England marched down to the Oakland 2 yard line, but could not punch it in. They settled for a 21 yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal to take a 10-3 lead into halftime.

An unsuccessful opening drive for the Patriots gave way to another Oakland field goal. Janikowski hit a 37 yarder to make it 10-6. Oakland's next drive would result with Janikowski's third field goal, this one from 47 yards to make it a 10-9 game late in the third quarter.

Matt Slater's 26 yard kickoff return gave the Patriots great field position at the end of the third quarter. When the drive resumed in the fourth quarter, New England got back down to the Oakland two yard line. Just like the previous time they were down there, they were unable to come away with a touchdown. Brady's second and goal pass to Gronkowski was tipped by Charles Woodson, but Gronkowski still had the ball hit his hands and came loose. After Gostkowski hit his 20 yard field goal, New England led 13-9.

Gostkowski added a 36 yard field goal on the next New England drive to make it 16-9, but Oakland still had a few chances left to tie the game.

With 3:12 left, Oakland began one final surge to get close to the end zone. Derek Carr's 18 yard pass to James Jones got the Raiders down to the Patriots' 33 yard line. Three plays later, Carr put up a deep pass into the end zone to Andre Holmes, which drew a pass interference call on Logan Ryan. The Raiders were in business at the six yard line. On the next play, Darren McFadden punched the ball in with ease, but Gabe Jackson was called for holding and the Raiders were backed up to the 12 yard line.

Then came the Wilfork interception.

Carr dropped back to pass and threw the ball in the direction of Denarius Moore, but Rob Ninkovich came over and got a hand on the ball. The ball then careened off Logan Ryan and Wilfork made the interception at the 10 yard line. The Patriots were able to run the clock out for the victory.

Derek Carr finished the game going 21 of 34 for 174 yards and the interception. Carr was not sacked during the game. Darren McFadden ran for 59 yards on 10 carries. James Jones caught 3 passes for 43 yards to lead the Raiders.

Stevan Ridley found it tough to run for big chunks of yardage against the Raiders. He ran 19 times for 54 yards. Julian Edelman caught 10 passes for 84 yards. Brandon LaFell had 4 catches for 46 yards while Rob Gronkowski caught 3 passes for 44 yards and the lone touchdown of the game.

Tom Brady had a solid game going 24 of 37 for 234 yards and 1 touchdown. He was sacked twice for a total loss of 13 yards. With the win, Brady has now won 150 regular season games, which is the 3rd-most by a starting quarterback in NFL history.

Sebastian Janikowski went 3 for 3 on his field goals for the Raiders, as did Stephen Gostkowski for the Patriots. Janikowski hit from 37, 47, and 49 yards. Gostkowski connected from 20, 21, and 36 yards.

Oakland (0-3) has their second home game of the year next week against the Miami Dolphins. New England (2-1) will travel to face the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football next week.