Tale of the Tape: Patriots and Raiders

Derek Havens
October 06, 2011 at 09:01am ET

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Each week, I have decided to do a new post called "Tale of the Tape" a few days after the previous week's game. Sometimes, it is beneficial to let the emotion and high or low wear off to offer a more accurate analysis. This entry will include several thoughts and insight on the game.

Stevan Ridley had his best game a a pro, with 97 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown. The LSU product may be starting a running back controversy in New England. While Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead have proven they are serviceable tailbacks for this team, Ridley has shown his potential in the last two weeks.

Devin McCourty played better in the team’s zone scheme against Oakland. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

- CB Devin McCourty stood out in this game, in a good way. After the first three weeks of struggling in man to man coverage, McCourty played well in the zone scheme vs the Raiders. He had a number of solid plays, and had a strong contribution in the run game. I hope to see more development by him in pass defense, as he still is working to get to last season form.

- I was very impressed with how the defense contained Darren McFadden throughout the game. I am aware that he had 75-yards on 14 carries, but he ran for a 41-yard gain in the second quarter. If you take away the big gain, he averaged only 2.6 yards per carry throughout the rest of the game. McFadden has been one of the league's top running backs since last season and his containment led to this victory.

- Andre Carter was brought to New England to get after the QB, but the Patriots pass rush has been nonexistent through four weeks. I am honestly dumbfounded that between all of the Pats acquisitions over the off-season, the defense is still having problems getting after opposing quarter backs.

- In the first four games, Wes Welker has had 40 receptions for 616 yards and five touchdowns. In terms of receptions and yards, Welker’s total is the most by any player through four games in league history. He is on pace for an incredible 160 catches, 2,464 yards and 20 touchdowns.

- I was impressed with the Patriots balance on offense. With 29 rushes and 30 pass attempts, the team kept the Raiders defense off balance for the majority of the game.

- With tight-end Aaron Hernandez out with a MCL sprain the past two weeks, Tom Brady lost one of his favorite targets. The reigning MVP QB has relied heavily on Wes Welker during this time. One example of this, through the last two weeks, Welker has 25 receptions, all other receivers have a combined total of 21.

- This defense has to learn how to get off the field on third down. With the exception of the Miami Dolphins game in Week one, the Patriots have struggled to keep opposing offenses from driving the length of the field. On Sunday, New England allowed Oakland to convert 8-13 on third down conversions.

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