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Patriots vs Raiders: 7 observations from New England’s 33-8 win against Oakland

The Patriots are rolling.

New England Patriots v Oakland Raiders Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images

The New England Patriots easily dispatched the Oakland Raiders in Mexico City, winning with the final score of 33-8. Here’s what we learned.

Tom Brady should play every single game abroad

Brady just finished this third game on foreign soil (2009, London, Buccaners; 2012, London, Rams) and New England holds a 3-0 record with a combined score of 113-22.

In those three games, Brady’s completed 76 of 104 (73.1%) for 950 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions for a passer rating of 125.1.

The Patriots are simply dominant when they play in a different country.

Brady is now the league-leader in passer rating

Tom Brady now leads the NFL with a passer rating of 110.9, with Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (107.6), and Saints quarterback Drew Brees (104.3) trailing. Anyone who says that Brady isn’t the Most Valuable Player in the NFL had better be a relative of Carson Wentz because it’s hard to make that argument with a straight face.

Brandin Cooks has big game, ranks 4th in receiving yards

Cooks finished the day with 6 catches for 149 yards and a touchdown, grabbing both a 52-yard catch to set up a Danny Amendola touchdown and a 64-yard touchdown catch deep down the field to open up the second half.

This was arguably Cooks’ biggest game of the year- he picked up 131 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Texans in week 3- and he’s proving to be well-worth the cost of his acquisition.

Cooks now has 786 receiving yards in 2017, ranking fourth in the NFL behind just Steelers WR Antonio Brown (1,026 yards), Vikings WR Adam Thielen (916 yards), and Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins (879 yards).

Patriots keep scoring before the half

The Patriots have accomplished this feat eight times this year and it shows why New England loves to get the ball after the half. If Tom Brady can get the double-whammy (scoring before and after the half), it could create a 14-point swing in favor of the Patriots.

The field goal before the half and touchdown after the half gave the Patriots a 10-point boost and forced Oakland to have to throw the ball for the rest of the game.

New England defense played another strong game

The Raiders scored a lone touchdown in garbage time as the Patriots did a great job defending all of Raiders various receivers. Michael Crabtree had 6 catches for 51 yards with Stephon Gilmore in coverage; Amari Cooper had 3 catches for 28 yards and a touchdown with Malcolm Butler in coverage; Seth Roberts had 5 catches for 36 yards with Jonathan Jones in coverage; Jared Cook had 2 catches for 36 yards with Patrick Chung in coverage.

The Patriots pass defense was simply outstanding.

There’s room to improve on run defense, although the eventual return of Malcom Brown should be a nice boost, since the Raiders running backs combined for 109 yards on 21 carries (5.2 YPC), and the Patriots failed to record a tackle for loss.

Still, this defense is now one of the best in the league.

Stephen Gostkowski was exceptional

Gostkowski hit all seven of his kicks, including a career-high 62-yard field goal attempt. He also hit from 51 yards, 40 yards, and 29 yards, in addition to his trio of extra points from 32 yards out.

Gostkowski now ranks in the top 20 for most points in NFL history with 1,563, although Atlanta Falcons kicker Matt Bryant has 1,558 points and plays on Monday night and could bump Gostkowski back down to 21st.

Still, congratulations to Gostkowski who is having a fantastic year.

First penalty against the Patriots came with 4:45 left in the third quarter

The Patriots followed up an extremely rare one-penalty performance against the Denver Broncos with just two penalties for 10 yards against the Oakland Raiders. Head coach Bill Belichick talked about how the Patriots needed to stop unforced errors in the second half of the year by avoiding penalties and it’s clear that the team has been playing some of its smartest football all year.

The Patriots host the Miami Dolphins next week.