Here is who caught our eye for better or worse upon live viewing.
Loser: WR DeVante Parker. It was another quiet game from the Patriots big-bodied receiver, who finished with just one catch for seven yards. Parker saw two other targets - one he appeared to run the wrong route and one that featured a brutal drop on New England’s final drive.
Loser: QB Mac Jones. Jones did not implode like the past two weeks, and the aforementioned drop by Parker was a beautifully thrown pass from the QB. But, Jones did have another rough interception when he made a crossbody throw while moving to his right. He also should have had another pick near the goal line when he locked on to Ty Montgomery.
It’s well-documented Jones is in a tough situation, but there are plays to be had that he’s not converting.
Winner: RB Ezekiel Elliott. One of the positives from Sunday was that the Patriots appeared to get their run game going. New England averaged 4.4 yards per carry and had a 65 percent success rate on the ground, which was led by Ezekiel Elliott. The veteran back looked like he had plenty of life left in his legs, picking up 34 yards on seven carries and found the end zone for the first time this season.
Loser: Offensive line. Another week, another new offensive line combination for the Patriots as Michael Onwenu was available only on an emergency basis. With Onwenu out, New England turned to rookies Atonio Mafi and Sidy Sow at guards. Mafi struggled for a second straight game allowing a sack and getting flagged for a late holding call. Additionally, right tackle Vederian Lowe continued to look outmatched in a tough spot against Maxx Crosby. The edge rusher beat Lowe clean for a safety to ice the game.
Winner: DL Christian Barmore and defensive standouts. The Raiders managed just 2.5 yards per carry on the ground Sunday and Christian Barmore was a big part of that. The third-year lineman caused some havoc in the trenches, recording a tackle for loss and drawing a hold. Barmore also got his hands on two passes.
In addition, New England received some strong performances from linebackers Ja’Whaun Bentley and Anfernee Jennings. The latter recorded six tackles and a TFL, while Bentley made an impact as a pass rusher with two QB hits. Jabrill Peppers and Jahlani Tavai also continued to make impact plays, combining to force New England’s lone turnover.
Loser: Penalties. The Patriots spent the past week “starting over” and getting back to the fundamentals. Yet, their first two plays on offense featured penalties. In total, New England was flagged 10 times for 79 yards — with two others coming on their final offensive possession.
“It’s not a good formula,” Bill Belichick said post-game. “Need to eliminate that.”
Winner: Kendrick Bourne. Everyone seemed to know Mac Jones was trying to get the ball to Kendrick Bourne but the Raiders still could not stop him. Bourne finished with 10 catches for 89 yards and was New England’s only real pass catcher who made something happen with the ball in his hands.
- There was much hype for Malik Cunningham entering the game, but it was a quiet debut for the rookie UDFA. Cunningham was a decoy on Elliott’s touchdown and appeared to make a poor read on a later read-option resulting in a 5-yard loss.
- In addition, wide receiver Tyquan Thornton also had a quiet debut. The speedster finished with just one catch for six yards on two targets.
- Another mixed bag for the Patriots’ special teams unit. Chad Ryland knocked through a 43-yard field goal and both extra points while punter Bryce Baringer rebounded nicely after an opening 34-yard punt. But, Sam Roberts got called for a leveraging penalty on a field goal which gifted Las Vegas a new set of downs.