Patriots overcome lackluster effort to fend off Raiders


The New England Patriots overcame a lackluster effort and held off an Oakland Raiders' comeback with a Vince Wilfork interception to ice a 16-9 field-goal palooza. Our takeaways:

1. For the third straight week the Patriots' offense couldn't generate big plays, and Tom Brady was under duress once again. The quarterback didn't look sharp, missing slightly on several passes -- including two from the 2-yard line. This is a station-to-station offense that didn't earn a 20-plus-yard gain until 2:00 remaining in the third quarter. The Pats won, but against better offensive teams, it could be a big problem.

2. The Raiders' defensive line terrorized the Patriots' offensive line. Justin Tuck (three QB hits) and gang were all over Brady, earning two sacks, six QB hits and a plethora of rushed throws.

3. Derek Carr made some good throws until his final pass was tipped and intercepted by Vince Wilfork. He also stared down too many receivers and made some amateur passes. He was in dink-and-dunk, "take what the defense gives him" mode early before opening it up late. Carr's fearlessness in going at Darelle Revis late is a good sign. His poise against the rush was another positive for the Raiders' coaches to build on.

4. Julian Edelman was a puzzle the Raiders' secondary couldn't solve. He caught 10 passes for 84 yards on 13 targets.

5. Chandler Jones was the Patriots' best player once again. He was consistently disrupting the offense and earned two big passes batted down.

6. The Raiders tried to get Swiss-army-knife fullback Marcel Reece involved in the passing game. It didn't work out well. He caught just three passes for 19 yards on seven targets.

7. You have to love when the big men get interceptions. They are especially fun when they happen as the opposing offense is knocking on the door for a game-tying touchdown, as Wilfork's did Sunday. 

Those INTs: Wilfork and Dominique Easley.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps all of the Week 3 action and picks the top team in the AFC.