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A week after the Patriots nearly lost to a lesser team, they came out and played one of their best games of the season in dismantling the hapless Raiders. New England jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and didn’t look back as every time the Raiders seemed to gain some momentum they would make a big play (Ellis Hobbs kick return for touchdown) to put any thoughts of a comeback to rest. All the credit in the world has to go to Matt Cassel, who had himself quite a day. Here are the answers to my pregame questions:
It was overall a dominant victory for the Patriots as despite one poor special teams play and Ben Watson’s butter fingers, the Patriots took it too the Raiders from the get go. The offensive and defensive line owned the trenches which is so important down the stretch of the season. The Patriots rushed for 277 yards, a gaudy number for a team ravaged by injuries – including Matt Light during the game. I’ve been harping on the importance of third down conversions all season and today the Pats owned that stat, converting 8 of 13 third downs while holding the Raiders to 5 for 13. The Patriots still have a lot to do and the road to the playoffs is still a very tough one, but Bill Belichick can be proud of the way his team played today.