By: Ian Logue/PatsFans.com
November 17, 2002

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OAKLAND, CA -- Sometimes the best team doesn't always win.

And that's the belief that will continue to rage on in Oakland after the Raiders got their first shot at redemption for the "Snow Bowl" by beating the Patriots 27-20 on Sunday night.

There would be no "controversial tuck call", but a critical turnover by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady inside the Oakland 10-yard line with just under 2-minutes left in the first half gave the Raiders the momentum and a 17-6 lead at intermission that they wouldn't relinquish.

On the play Brady dropped back to throw, and as he stepped up to try and get away was stripped of the football and Oakland recovered, ending any final chance of putting points on the board before the end of the half. The turnover gave Oakland the ball inside the Patriots 10-yard line, and on the ensuing play a holding call on Terrell Buckley gave Oakland first-and-goal at the 2-yard line. Quarterback Rich Gannon then rolled left and outran everyone for a touchdown, giving the Raiders a 17-6 lead at the half.

On the ensuing possession Brady handed the ball off three times to Antowain Smith, and New England let time run out as they went into the locker room to regroup.

But the fumble by Brady had given the Raiders the momentum.

Oakland then came out in the second half and put together a 15-play 83-yard drive that lasted 9:42, taking advantage of missed tackles by Victor Green and Tedy Bruschi, along with a 12-man on the field penalty by New England's defense which helped set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Zach Crockett. The Raiders now had a commanding 24-6 lead with 5:22 left in the 3rd quarter.

To make matters worse, not even the ever-reliable Adam Vinatieri could help them. The Patriots were called for a holding penalty on the ensuing kickoff return, and New England had to start deep in their own territory at their own 15-yard line. They drove down to Oakland 33, but the drive stalled and Vinatieri would attempt a 52-yard field goal that sailed wide left.

However New England caught a big break on Oakland's next possession. Linebacker Tedy Bruschi intercepted Rich Gannon after the ball bounced off of Lawyer Milloy's foot while he was defending Jerry Porter, and Bruschi caught the ball and took off 48-yards into the endzone for a touchdown, cutting the lead to 24-13. The officials reviewed the play, but ruled that the ball did indeed hit Milloy's foot and the call was upheld.

The Patriots defense then forced the Raiders to punt on their next possession, but on the first play from scrimmage Brady was hit from behind as his arm was going forward and hit an ineligible receiver, which was a five yard penalty. The television replay showed it was a questionable call and the Oakland crowd began to get loud.

They became even more enraged after the next play when Antowain Smith appeared to fumble as he was going down. The officials ruled the play dead, and despite the fact the television replay reviewed that the ball was coming out before Smith was down, the Raiders were out of challenges so they couldn't challenge the call. New England then took the ball down the field on 7-plays, but facing a 4th-and-1 at the Oakland 43 Brady threw incomplete to David Patten and the Raiders took over on downs with 9:29 remaining in the 3rd quarter.

On the next possession the Raiders drive stalled and New England blocked a 49-yard field goal attempt by Janikowski. The drive was over, but the Raiders took a little over five minutes off the clock and the Patriots took over at their own 31-yard line with just 4:39 left in the game.

And things didn't exactly work out too well.

Brady was sacked on the first play from scrimmage losing six-yards. He then completed a nine-yard pass to Troy Brown before throwing incomplete to him which set up a 4th-and-6 at their own 43-yard line with 3:46 left in the game. Brady was then hit from behind on the play while trying to throw, the pass fell incomplete and the Raiders took over on downs.

A tired Patriots defense then gave up passes of 10-yards to Jerry Rice and a 29-yard pass play to Tim Brown, and to that point had spent 34-minutes on the football field. Janikowsi would later kick a field goal, and with 1:13 left in the game New England had one last chance to try and stage a comeback.

For a moment, it looked like they had a chance. Runningback Kevin Faulk returned the kickoff 86-yards for a touchdown, cutting the lead to 27-20 with :59 left in the game, but it wasn't enough. Oakland recovered the ensuing onside kick and the game was over.

New England will now return home to take on the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday at 1:00pm at Gillette Stadium

GAME NOTES:

Wide receiver Donald Hayes was activated for Sunday night's game but didn't play....Troy Brown took a shot in the stomach early in the game on New England's first drive and left the game. He later returned and finished the game…… Brady had two chances for two deep plays, one to Deion Branch who was open on a deep ball but was overthrown on their second possession of the game. Had Branch caught the ball it appeared he would have scored. The next one came just before the end of the 1st quarter when he overthrew an open David Patten.....Charlie Garner had just 54-yards rushing on 19-carries over the past two games coming into Sunday night's game. He had 57-yards on 15-carries against New England....Inactives for the game: J.R. Redmond, Patrick Pass, Jimmy Hitchcock, Steven Neal, Tom Ashworth, Russ Hochstein, and Kenyatta Jones.


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