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Week 11 Game Recap: New England Patriots 33, Oakland Raiders 8


What you need to know

New England Patriots

• “Brady! Brady! Brady!” was chanted during Oakland’s ‘home game’ at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. Brady wooed fans by slicing and dicing an overmatched Oakland secondary. Playing at high attitude, Brady and Co. played high-tempo from the start—and an energized Brady completed his first 12 passes attempts. The game was never in doubt---New England controlled the game from whistle to whistle.

• Brady and Brandin Cooks hooked up for two 50+ yard plays, which included a 64-yard third quarter touchdown against safety, Obi Melifonwu, who started at left corner.

Dion Lewis took full control of this backfield. Lewis was dynamic between the tackles—and was regularly deployed as a receiver. Lewis scored the game’s first touchdown on a 15-yard option route. Mike Gillislee (healthy scratch), James White (five carries), and Rex Burkhead (limited impact) are clearly playing second fiddle.

• New England rolled out a new three tight-end set featuring Rob Gronkowsi, Dwayne Allen, and Martellus Bennett---and threw the ball with a lot of success. The aforementioned 64-yard touchdown strike occurred in this formation due to Melifonwu’s poor one-on-one coverage skills.

Oakland Raiders

The Raiders had some early success running the ball with Marshawn Lynch but dropped passes and turnovers killed too many drives and the Raiders quickly found themselves in a 24-0 hole. Derek Carr missed a few passes and was also let down far too often by his wide receivers. Amari Cooper was essentially shutout until garbage time but scored a late touchdown. Seth Roberts made some costly mistakes, including a game-changing fumble just shy of the end zone.

New England Patriots

QB Tom Brady, 57 offensive snaps, Pass: 30 - 37 - 339 - 3 TD / 0 INT
Another week, another dynamic performance by the ageless Tom Brady. Brady masterfully picked apart an overmatched Oakland secondary that started safety, Obi Melifonwu at left corner. New England played high-tempo from the start as Brady completed his first 12 pass attempts, culminating with a 15-yard touchdown strike to Dion Lewis on an option route. Lewis made the first defender miss before accelerating and ‘corkscrewing’ into the end zone. Overall, the game plan revolved around using speed and agility to win against Oakland’s bigger corners and linebackers—and that game plan was executed perfectly. Brady targeted Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola on half of his pass attempts—and this dynamic duo had no problems winning. In the second quarter, Brady hit Amendola for a 5-yard touchdown on a crossing route in the back of the end zone. The pocket broke down, but Brady stepped up, and found a streaking Amendola in the back of the end zone. This scoring play gave New England a 14-0 advantage.

While Amendola was a fixture over the middle of the field, Cooks brought a big play element. Brady and Cooks hooked up for two 50-yard plays, which included a 64-yard touchdown against Melifonwu, who was playing corner without safety help. Cooks also had a 52-yard gain on a deep seam route where he literally ran by double coverage and caught Brady’s strike in-stride. Brady completed passes to all three tight ends, but the smaller, shifty receivers were the focal point of the attack.

RB Dion Lewis, 26 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 60 - 0, Rec: 4 - 28 - 1 (4 targets)
Dion Lewis has taken control of this backfield. Deployed as a runner and as a receiver, Lewis gave Oakland’s defense fits. Lewis was asked to run between the tackles—and rewarded the coaching staff with some hard-nosed running. Lewis refused to be taken down by the first tackler and kept his legs churning to pick-up additional yardage. In the first quarter, Brady hit Lewis on an option route—and Lewis turned the reception into a 15-yard touchdown. On the scoring play, Lewis, who was sitting in the flat as Brady’s second option, made the first defender miss before accelerating and corkscrewing into the end zone. As the game progressed, Lewis was fed and picked up tough yards between the tackles. Mike Gillislee was inactive and James White only had five carries, so Lewis appears to have a strangle-hold on this backfield.

RB Rex Burkhead, 19 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 16 - 0, Rec: 4 - 21 - 0 (6 targets)
Rex Burkhead worked as the second option behind Dion Lewis. Burkhead fumbled in the first quarter, but luckily, the ball was recovered by Dwayne Allen. Burkhead sat out a series before re-emerging in his normal pass catching role. Burkhead had a few carries between the tackles, but was quickly bottled up. As a receiver, he made two tough grabs—one of which went for 10 yards.

RB James White, 17 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 13 - 0 (1 targets)
James White was barely used. He received a few carries late in the game, but was a non-factor against an Oakland defense that has been gashed by pass catching running backs.

WR Danny Amendola, 35 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 66 - 1 (9 targets)
Oakland didn’t have an answer for Danny Amendola on third downs. In the first half alone, Amendola converted three third down opportunities, which included a 5-yard touchdown strike on a crossing route in the back of the end zone. The pocket broke down, but Brady stepped up, and found a streaking Amendola in the back of the end zone. This scoring play gave New England a 14-0 advantage. Overall, Amendola’s route running and shiftiness allow him to find open space against Oakland’s zone coverage.

WR Brandin Cooks, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 149 - 1 (9 targets)
‘Big Play’ is the best way describe Brandin Cooks’ performance. Cooks, who torched this same secondary last season as a member of the Saints, picked up where he left off. Brady and Cooks hooked up for two 50-yard plays, which included a 64-yard touchdown against safety, Obi Melifonwu, who was playing corner without safety help. Cooks put one move on Melifonwu—and it was over as the speedy receiver ran unopposed into the open field. Cooks also had a 52-yard gain on a deep seam route where he literally ran by double coverage and caught Brady’s strike in-stride.

TE Martellus Bennett, 17 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 15 - 0 (3 targets)
Martellus Bennett was used sparingly as a check down option. He made three grabs for 15 yards on a short crossing routes.

TE Rob Gronkowski, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 36 - 0 (3 targets)
It was a quiet performance for Gronk; he wasn’t targeted until midway through the second quarter. Gronkowski had a long play of 14-yard on an out-route where he outmuscled a larger defender for position. While he didn’t do any major damage as a receiver, Gronkowski was effective as a run blocker.

TE Dwayne Allen, 25 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 24 - 0 (2 targets)
Dwayne Allen was primarily utilized as a blocker, but made two noteworthy plays. In the first quarter, Allen recovered Burkhead’s fumble, which saved the drive that culminated with Lewis’ touchdown reception. In the fourth quarter, Brady hit Allen on short crossing route for a 19-yard gain.


Oakland Raiders

QB Derek Carr, 74 offensive snaps, Pass: 28 - 49 - 237 - 1 TD / 1 INT
Carr and his receivers weren’t able to establish a rhythm against New England. With the way the New England offense was rolling, the Raiders had offense had little margin for error so the drive-killing drops by the wide receivers were killers. Oakland only had three drives in the first half. A 3rd-down drop by Seth Roberts ended the first drive. A nearly perfect deep ball to Johnny Holton bounced off of his shoulder pads up into the air for an interception to end the second drive. Carr drove the Raiders down inside the 5-yard line but a Seth Roberts fumble ended the third drive. By the time Carr got the ball back for his fourth possession, Oakland was in a 24-0 hole and forced to play more aggressively. Carr led a mostly meaningless touchdown drive late, capped off with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper.

RB Marshawn Lynch, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 67 - 0, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (1 targets)
Lynch was the lone bright spot for the Raiders offense. He ran with power and explosion. His first carry, he stiff-armed a defender in the backfield and ran through a second tackler to make something out of nothing. Lynch showed a nice burst on a gain off of right tackle that went for 25 yards. He was able to make a man miss in the open field to cut back inside for a 10-yard gain on his only passing target. Lynch did look winded a couple times, tapping his helmet to come out of the game after three straight carries on the opening drive. The game script took away the opportunity for Lynch to possibly have a big fantasy day. The Raiders fell behind 24-0 before their fourth possession.

RB Jalen Richard, 11 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 19 - 0, Rec: 2 - 9 - 0 (3 targets)
Richard impressed in limited work. He was able to make himself skinny and squirt through small holes for gains of five or six yards on multiple occasions. When it looked like he’d be stacked up at the line, he slithered through and kept his legs moving for solid gains.

RB Jamize Olawale, 14 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 16 - 0, Rec: 2 - 6 - 0 (2 targets)
Olawale continues to see touches as a running back in short yardage and in the hurry-up offense. He was stacked up for a loss on a key 4th-and-1 carry midway through the third quarter. Olawale did make some nice plays in the hurry up, including an 11-yard run off of left tackle where he showed solid burst through the hole and excellent power to keep his legs moving and push the pile forward for an extra handful of yards. Olawale made some nice plays in blitz pickup as the shotgun back next to Carr as well, a big reason why he should continue to see time as the lone back when the Raiders are forced into a pass-heavy offense.

RB DeAndre Washington, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 7 - 0, Rec: 2 - 12 - 0 (3 targets)
Washington split the backup role three ways with Jalen Richard and Jamize Olawale. He was the least effective of the trio. He was clothes lined and brought down for a loss on a carry between the tackles. Washington was one of many Raiders to drop a pass when he took his eye off of the ball too early and had it bounce off of his chest.

WR Michael Crabtree, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 51 - 0 (11 targets)
Crabtree saw a lot of Stephon Gilmore in coverage and the big cornerback mostly fared well in a physical matchup. Gilmore was able to get away with some contact that might have drawn flags for pass interference in other games but Crabtree was doing plenty of hand fighting as well. Crabtree was well covered and unable to haul in two deep balls into the end zone but it is a positive that he continues to see so many opportunities to score. On the Raiders lone touchdown drive, Crabtree made a contested catch for 15 yards on a fourth-down play to keep the drive alive.

WR Seth Roberts, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 36 - 0 (9 targets)
Roberts was the second-most targeted player of the game and made a couple nice catches but also made some costly mistakes that killed any chance the Raiders had of winning. He as unable to stretch out and secure a third-down pass slightly in front of him to keep the chains moving on the opening drive. Roberts caught a red zone pass that should have set up the Raiders 1st-and-goal inside the five-yard line but he never pulled the ball into his body, swinging it wildly in one hand, which led to it being punched out for a costly fumble.

WR Amari Cooper, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 28 - 1 (7 targets)
On a day when the Raiders receivers had butterfingers, Cooper was one of the few who didn’t suffer any drops. His problem was that he wasn’t able to get open against Malcolm Butler. Cooper was rarely targeted early. He finally made a few plays in garbage time. His 3-yard touchdown was a fantastic route. He lined up out wide and faked the slant before stopping on a dime and pivoting back to the outside. He caught the ball near the sideline, was able to plant his feet to stop his momentum toward the sideline and then dove forward to clip the inside of the pylon with the ball.

WR Johnny Holton, 13 offensive snaps (2 targets)
Carr took a deep shot to Holton down the left sideline. Holton had a slight bit of separation but the ball bounced off of his shoulder pad, popped straight up and was intercepted.

TE Jared Cook, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 36 - 0 (5 targets)
Cook caught a deep out for 26 yards early in the game but was rarely targeted after that. He was open for a solid gain on one pass but it was tipped at the line and fell way short of reaching him.