Charles Krupa/Associated Press
The New England Patriots relied on rushing and defense to earn a 36-20 Week 3 win over the Las Vegas Raiders.
Cam Newton earned his second win in three starts for the Patriots, but he had only one touchdown in an otherwise quiet game. Instead it was Rex Burkhead who scored three times as part of a rushing attack that totaled 250 yards on the day to hand Las Vegas its first loss of the season.
The Raiders were coming off a surprising upset victory over the New Orleans Saints last week, but they couldn’t keep it going even without fans at Gillette Stadium. The franchise hasn’t had a victory in Foxborough since 1994.
Derek Carr had a 119.4 quarterback rating, but it didn’t tell the story, as the Patriots defense was dominant in a bounce-back showing after getting torched by Russell Wilson in Week 2.
Cam Newton, QB, NE: 17-of-28, 162 passing yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 27 rushing yards
Rex Burkhead, RB, NE: 6 carries, 49 rushing yards, 7 catches, 49 receiving yards, 3 total TDs
Sony Michel, RB, NE: 9 carries, 117 rushing yards, 2 catches, 23 receiving yards
Derek Carr, QB, LV: 24-of-32, 261 passing yards, 2 TDs
Josh Jacobs, RB, LV: 16 carries, 71 rushing yards, 3 catches, 12 receiving yards
Hunter Renfrow, WR, LV: 6 catches, 84 receiving yards, 1 TD
Deep Backfield Leads the Charge for Patriots
It might not be a great situation for fantasy football managers, but the running back rotation for the Patriots did its job Sunday.
Rex Burkhead was the key player around the goal line, scoring three touchdowns, including one through the air.
Sony Michel spent a lot of the game on the bench, although he had one of the biggest plays of the day with a 48-yard rush.
J.J. Taylor also performed well when given the opportunity, rushing for 43 yards on a team-high 11 carries:
It resulted in 250 yards on the ground with an average of 6.6 per carry.
This is despite both Damien Harris and James White being inactive.
Newton didn’t do much as a passer or runner in this game, but his teammates were there to keep the offense moving the football throughout the day.
Derek Carr Contained by Patriots Defense
The Patriots have always been known for their strategy of taking away a top weapon from the opposing offense and head coach Bill Belichick did it again Sunday.
Darren Waller had 12 catches in Week 2 and two against the Patriots, both on the final drive of the game.
The tight end was targeted only four times, and the Patriots always seemed to have players around him.
This was enough to help shut down the Raiders offense as Derek Carr failed to find much consistency with his other targets, especially with rookie first-round pick Henry Ruggs III unavailable.
There were some positive moments, especially the touchdown drive right before the half:
Carr also found Renfrow for a touchdown after the game was decided.
However, the squad failed to sustain drives and the team was just 3-of-9 on third downs. The Raiders also only managed two touchdowns in five red-zone opportunities.
This inefficiency is not going to get it done against a top opponent like New England.
Any comeback attempt was then ruined after giving up a fumble in the end zone for a Patriots touchdown.
It was one of three turnovers during a forgettable day for the Raiders offense.
The Patriots will now prepare for one of the toughest games on the schedule in a road game against the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs. The Raiders will have another tough AFC opponent in the Buffalo Bills at home next Sunday.