Halftime analysis: Patriots 17, Raiders 10
|10.02.11 at 5:44 pm ET|
The Patriots and the Raiders are done with two quarters in Oakland, and New England holds a 17-10 lead. Here are a few quick notes:
‘¢For the second consecutive week, it’s clear the offense would be lost without Wes Welker. The receiver made a series of big catches and came away with 60 receiving yards and a touchdown catch in the first half. Meanwhile, Tom Brady ended the first half with 8-for-17 for 121 yards and one touchdown passes. On the other side of the ball, Jason Campbell — who clearly looks very comfortable in the Oakland offense — went 11-for-15 for 144 yards and one interception. Darren McFadden had eight carries for 57 yards.
‘¢On defense, the Patriots lost defensive lineman Kyle Love with an ankle injury in the first quarter and linebacker Jerod Mayo to a knee injury in the second quarter, leaving an already hobbled defense in even bigger trouble. Overall, the Patriots, who had done a pretty good job limiting tight ends through three games (eight catches for 98 yards and one touchdown coming into today), yielded some early yards to Oakland tight end Kevin Boss, as the ex-Giant accounted for 35 of the 50 yards on the Raiders’ opening drive, a series that ended with a 28-yard field goal from Sebastian Janikowski to make it 3-0. After the Patriots’ first touchdown of the day, things got ugly after that, as the Raiders pulled together a six-play, 88-yard drive — which included a nasty 41-yard gain from McFadden — to make it 10-7 early in the second quarter.
‘¢On the other side of the ball, former New England defensive lineman Richard Seymour was clearly jacked up about facing his old mates — he took two bad penalties on the Patriots’ opening drive for a total of 30 yards, helping New England put together its first touchdown of the game on its first drive. (Overall, the Raiders were flagged for a staggering seven penalties for 70 yards in the first half.) On that series Patriots picked up 15 yards on a direct snap to running back Stevan Ridley, a move that veteran Kevin Faulk has perfected on his career with the Patriots. (My personal favorite came in Super Bowl XXXVIII.) That series, which went nine plays, 80 yards and took 4:19, ended with a 15-yard pass from Brady to Welker on a play where Welker got a nice rub from Chad Ochocinco to get open inside the 10 and take it the rest of the way for the score to make it 7-3.
‘¢After the Raiders first score, the Patriots put together another good series in the second quarter when they assembled a six-play, 64-yard drive that included completions to Welker of 21 and 24 yards, and ended with a one-yard plunge into the end zone from BenJarvus Green-Ellis to make it 14-10 midway through the second quarter. Stephen Gostkowski added a 44-yard field goal with 11 seconds left in the half to finish the scoring over the first half.