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There is something about playing a Jack Del Rio led team that makes Tom Brady very happy. A game that last year would have been billed as one of the marquee matchups of the NFL season turned out to be a matchup of teams moving in two very different directions. Brady was nearly perfect in the first half, going 20-of-24 for 201 yards and two touchdowns as the Patriots took control early.
The dominance carried over in the second half as Brady hit Brandin Cooks for a 64-yard touchdown on their opening drive of the second half, seemingly ending the game less than a minute into the third quarter. The Raiders finally scored a touchdown late in the fourth quarter on a touchdown pass from Derek Carr to Amari Cooper, however, it was far too late. The Patriots held on for a 33-8 victory, extending their road winning streak to 13 games overall.
The Raiders were threatening to keep the game close as they marched towards the end zone with under two minutes to go in the first half. However, a fumble by Oakland receiver, Seth Roberts in the end zone gave the Patriots (8-2) the ball with just under a minute to play in the half and two timeouts. Brady drove the team down the field and set Stephen Gostkowski up for a career-best 62-yard field goal to close out the half. It was the seventh consecutive game the Patriots have scored in the final two minutes of the first half.
Brady strengthened his case for league MVP honors with another near-flawless performance. After tossing two touchdowns in the first half, Brady ended the night going 30-for-37 for 339 yards and three touchdowns and no interceptions. Good for a 131.9 quarterback rating. For the year, Brady has now thrown for 22 touchdowns, 3,146 yards, and two interceptions.
Brady hit seven different receivers in the victory with Cooks leading the way with 149 yards on six receptions. Danny Amendola added eight receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown. Dion Lewis caught the third Brady touchdown on the afternoon. Tight end, Dwayne Allen, caught a pass for the second consecutive week as well, hauling in two for 24 yards and recovering an early Rex Burkhead fumble.
In addition to the career-best 62-yard field goal, Gostowski was perfect on all four of his field goal attempts. In the second half, Gostkowski hit from 51, 50, and 28 and was perfect on all three point after tries. The 62-yard field goal was also a Patriots franchise record, besting the previous high of 58 yards set by Gostkowski earlier this season.
On top of the dominating performance on offense, the Patriots were equally as dominant on defense. For the sixth consecutive game, the Patriots held an opponent under 17 points. A far cry from the first few weeks where the team was historically bad. The coverage was superb from start to finish as the defensive backs and linebackers stood toe-to-toe with all the Raiders weapons. Raiders quarterback was frustrated all game, completing just over 50 percent of his passes for under 250 yards.
The win was the 271st Win in the career of Bill Belichick, officially moving him past Tom Landry for third place all time. Brady extends his road wins record to 87 games after breaking the record last week.
The Patriots now turn their attention to three straight divisional matchups, starting with the Dolphins at home. The team is once again poised for a very very deep playoff run and could have the division wrapped up in just a couple weeks before their AFC showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
– Ian Glendon is the National Editor for cover32 and the Managing Editor for cover32/Patriots. He covers the NFL and New England Patriots. Like and follow on Follow @iglen31 Follow @cover32_NE and Facebook.