On Sunday afternoon, the New England Patriots moved to 2-1 on the season after defeating the Las Vegas Raiders, 36-20, at Gillette Stadium. This game featured a breakout performance from Rex Burkhead and Sony Michel, as well as the Patriots defense stepping up. Let’s break it down.
The Patriots were able to run the ball very efficiently on Sunday. Rex Burkhead had six carries for 49 yards and two touchdowns, as well as seven receptions for 49 yards and a receiving touchdown.
Sony Michel had nine carries for 117 yards, with a game-long carry of 48 yards.
Cam Newton had a subpar game by his standards, going 17-of-28 for a touchdown and one interception, as well as nine carries for only 27 yards.
Newton had a really bad moment at the end of the first quarter where he forced a throw on third down into triple coverage, and was intercepted for a second week in a row.
“I’ve just got to do a better job with protecting the football,” Newton said after the game during a video press conference. “That inexcusable interception was completely my fault. Trying to extend the play, kind of pressing a little bit too much. Yet at the end of the day, those type of games will happen, and we did what we needed to do, and I think that’s all that matters.”
The Patriots defense was able to hold star running back Josh Jacobs to only 71 yards on 16 carries.
The Patriots defense also held Darren Waller to only two catches for nine yards, with both of those receptions coming in the final five minutes of the game.
Derek Carr had a decent game going 24-of-32 for 261 yards and two touchdowns. On a side note, I’m personally very happy to watch Derek Carr finally get back on track after a couple of disappointing seasons.
Deatrich Wise recovered a fumbled forced by Shilique Calhoun for a touchdown. Calhoun forced two fumbles, as well as Chase Winovich recording one forced fumble, for a total of three forced fumbles and recoveries for the Patriots defense on Sunday.
Nick Folk was 3-for-3 on field goals and 3-of-4 on extra points. I guess that’s a respectable stat line for someone who tends to miss field goals.
Derek Carr has surpassed Hall-of-Famer Ken Stabler (96) for the most QB starts with the Raiders in franchise history.
Cam Newton has surpassed Randall Cunningham (4,928) for the second-most career rushing yards by a QB in NFL history.
Jon Gruden is now 1-4 vs Bill Belichick head-to-head.
New England is now 53-1 in regular-season games when an individual player has 100+ rush yards since 2000.
This was an encouraging win for the Patriots in multiple ways. First off, this team proved that, even when Cam Newton has a subpar performance, they can find other ways to win games. The running game was stout and the defense was able to create havoc and win the turnover game. The Las Vegas Raiders are a legitimate football team and this was a good benchmark win for the New England Patriots. Next week, a much more difficult challenger approaches: the Kansas City Chiefs.
Talk to you all soon.