Patriots still not quite right with ball
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The New England Patriots host the Oakland Raiders this week hoping to rediscover their normally potent offense.
The Patriots moved to 1-1 with Sunday’s 30-7 win at Minnesota. But after the game, which saw the defense pick off four of Matt Cassel’s passes and turn a blocked field goal into a touchdown, much of the talk was about the struggles of the offense.
New England won the game with 292 yards of total offense, enough to win — easily — but nothing to get excited about.
“Just everything,” fullback James Develin said Monday. “There’s room for improvement on every aspect of the game: our running game, our detail on our passing game ... everything. Look at the film and there’s evidence that you can just improve.”
Through two games, the Patriots sit in the lower half of the NFL stats in many offensive categories. Through Sunday, New England was tied for 25th in first downs; 27th in total yards per game and passing net yards per game; 28th in third-down efficiency; and 30th in both yards per play and passing net yards per play.
Tom Brady is 44 for 78 for 398 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, with a quarterback rating of 78.9.
Stevan Ridley did run for 101 yards on 25 carries in the victory.
“It was good to see Rid get out there and get some carries, and do some work,” said slot receiver Julian Edelman, who had six catches, one for a touchdown, and has 12 grabs in two games. “The offensive line improving, guys making blocks, but we still left a lot of yards out there, and we feel like we can get better.
“It’s two games. ... We’re trying to improve, and this is a good week against a hungry team.”
That hungry team is the Raiders (0-2), who are 24th in the league in total defense, although second against the pass because teams can run on them so efficiently. They have yielded a league-worst 200 yards per game on the ground.
On paper, this home opener could be a day for the New England offense to fatten up its anemic numbers.
“Just the little things, the small details that we can count on toward the end of the games and coming up with those conversions and coming up with those touchdowns to get us over the edge,” said tight end Tim Wright.”
Added Develin, “These first couple weeks of the season are really the integral weeks for improving and kind of cleaning things up. Mistakes are going to be made. This is the beginning of the year. You just have to take it and learn from it and improve.”
NOTES: The Patriots were guilty of 15 penalties for 163 yards Sunday and lead the league in penalty yardage with 263. “Fifteen penalties accepted and there were several early ones where we had multiple fouls on the same play and 160 yards, or whatever it was, it’s way too much,” coach Bill Belichick said Monday. “We can’t keep doing that. We had a lot of penalties last week, we had a lot of penalties this week and it’s not just the penalties it’s the yardage, it’s too many personal fouls.” . The 49ers were leading the NFL with 27 penalties, New England has 24.
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