We already knew that slowing the roll of a receiver on a record setting pace was going to be difficult. To date the Oakland secondary hasn’t looked anything like the dominant unit we’ve seen in recent years. So with Tom Brady slated for a Bay Area reunion the early assumption was that the iconic QB was going to have a field day.
Well, things don’t always go as planned.
For whatever it’s worth the Raiders actually limited Brady to his most pedestrian effort of the season. 226 yards is usually the kind of production Brady you’d expect of Brady in the first half. Instead that was the total the Raiders bullied out of Brady for the entire game thanks to constant pressure and close coverage.
Well, close coverage on everyone except Wes Welker.
Eventually somebody out there is going to figure out a way to remove Welker from the Patriot passing attack. Too bad for the Raiders they couldn’t be that team.
Of Brady’s measly 16 completions 9 went to Welker. The diminutive receiver’s 158 yards accounted for 70% of New England’s passing game. No other Patriot – other than Chad Ochiocinco – caught more than one ball and even then Chad only had two catches.
In theory it would appear that had the Raiders put together a better plan to contain Welker then we might have seen a different result Sunday.
Well, that would be true if the Raiders fared better against the league’s worst running game.
For all the progress this team has made there is still the overwhelming inability to stop the run. The problem that has plagued this franchise for far too long showed its fugly mug at the exact wrong time.
Yesterday the Pats beat the Raiders at their own game as they dominated the line of scrimmage on running plays allowing rookie Stevan Ridely to best Darren McFadden in yardage while BenJarvus Green-Ellis equaled Run DMC’s total.
Now you can cite some costly calls by the officials. To be sure Jason Campbell’s careless INTs were as much to blame as the defensive letdowns. After it is all said and done the Welker factor combined with the hideous run D played as big a role in this loss as any other factor in Sunday’s home loss.