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Snap Judgments: Patriots 31, Raiders 19

10.02.11 at 7:19 pm ET
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The Patriots rebounded from last week’s loss in Buffalo with a 31-19 win over the Raiders in Oakland on Sunday.

Tom Brady tossed a pair of touchdown passes, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Stevan Ridley each rushed for a score and the defense — while giving up plenty of yardage — came up with a pair of turnovers, including the second INT of the year for Vince Wilfork.

With the Buffalo loss at Cincinnati, the Patriots are now tied at the top of the AFC East with a 3-1 record. They will host the Jets in a much-anticipated contest next Sunday at Gillette.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Wes Welker followed up his record-breaking effort last week in Buffalo with another outstanding performance, catching nine passes for 158 yards and a TD (his fifth TD of the season, Welker has never caught more than eight TDs in a season). Welker leads the NFL with 40 catches and 616 yards.

– Stevan Ridley was an absolute game-changer out of the backfield, rushing for 97 yards on 10 carries. He picked up the first TD of his NFL career with a 33-yard, third-quarter score (with help from a pair of terrific blocks from Rob Gronkowski and Nate Solder). Ridley also ripped off a 15-yard first-half rush (via a direct snap). Ridley was part of a dominant rushing attack for the Patriots, as BenJarvus Green-Ellis also found the end zone (and finished with 74 yards on 15 carries) and Danny Woodhead chipped in with 13 yards on a pair of carries before leaving the game. The Patriots rushed for 184 yards in the win.

– Tom Brady wasn’t exactly sharp but unlike Campbell did not make that critical mistake. He finished 16-for-30 for 226 yards and the two TD passes.

Pat Chung returned on Sunday and made the biggest defensive play of the game in the second quarter. With the Raiders again doing whatever they wanted on offense (they put up 268 yards of offense in the first half), a touchdown seemed a certainty with a second-and-goal at the NE 6 with 2:15 left. But Jason Campbell inexplicably tossed a Tim Wakefield fastball right into the hands of Chung. Not a great play (you’ll never see an easier pick), but it was the trigger of perhaps a 10-point swing, as Brady led the Patriots on a 11-play, 54-yard drive that ended with a Steven Gostkowski 44-yard field goal to close out the half.

Richard Seymour picked up two personal-foul penalties to help the Patriots on the opening TD drive  (including a take-down of Brady on a play that has already been whistled dead), part of a seven-penalty (85 yards) first half for the Raiders.

Nnamdi Asomugha and Darrelle Revis have combined for as many INT’s has Vince Wilfork this season. Wilfork looked like a middle linebacker (OK, a 350-lb middle linebacker) on his INT of Campbell Sunday, dropping back into coverage and reading exactly where the QB was going to go.

WHAT WENT WRONG

– Injuries, injuries, injuries. First it was Kyle Love (who did return), Jerod Mayo, Danny Woodhead and Dan Connolly all went down on Sunday. Obviously the Mayo injury is the headline — his left knee, injured on the second-quarter drive that ended with the Chung interception. For this struggling defense to lose its best player for any length of time would be troublesome, but if this turns out to be a season-ender for Mayo it’s fair to wonder if this team can recover.

– Yup, they were opportunistic, but the defense was again shaky, giving up a total of 504 yards of offense. This group has now allowed 14 drives of 70 or more yards this season. Third-down? The Raiders finished 8-of-12. Stopping the run? Darren McFadden rushed for 75 yards on 14 carries (the Raiders picked up 160 yards on 27 carries). Brandon Spikes, Rob Ninkovich and Mayo had difficulty in coverage and cornerbackswas beat several times by Darris Heyward-Bey (on one of the Heyward-Bey Sergio Brown took a horrible angle and missed an easy hit). Shaun Ellis whiffed on a couple of chances to stop McFadden for losses, and Chung had a tough time covering Kevin Boss.

–  Quiet day for Rob Gronkowski, who finished with just one catch (15 yards).

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