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Belichick: 'Nobody works harder' than Brandin Cooks

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The seemingly unstoppable Patriots have the power to unleash a different weapon weekly.

One day it's Rob Gronkowski, the big-bodied, touchdown-scoring tight end; the next it's Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead and the roster's gaggle of interchangeable and versatile runners. On Sunday, Brandin Cooks emerged to play his finest game of the year.

The former Saints wideout, acquired in an offseason trade, torched the lost-at-sea Raiders for 149 yards off six catches, headlined by his lightning-quick, 64-yard touchdown grab in a 33-8 romp over Oakland in Mexico City.

"Nobody works harder than Brandin," coach Bill Belichick said. "He has the speed and acceleration to create mismatches and does everything well, from slants, outs and deep passes. He's been a good player for us."

Oakland's secondary is a mess, but that doesn't diminish what Cooks accomplished on the scoring bomb from a nearly perfect Tom Brady, who lofted the ball into the arms of the pass-catcher as he tore past defenders alone toward the Mexican pay dirt to bury the Raiders for good.

"It's hard to catch him from behind," Brady said of Cooks, who showed off his blazing speed on the play. "With the thin air, you just have to let it go and hopefully you'll connect deep. It was a great play-calling by [offensive coordinator] Josh [McDaniels] and it worked on the fade. The defense bit it and Cooks was all alone, so I just needed to put the ball in there."

Cooks hasn't been quiet this season -- he leads the club in yardage and yards per catch -- but he isn't the only game in town. Brady meticulously spreads the ball to a rash of backs, possession men and deeper targets depending on the opponent.

Cooks catching fire, though, makes this passing game almost entirely unstoppable, which should tell you where the AFC is headed -- once again -- in this repeating, Groundhog Day-like, pro-football drama.

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