Patriots Live Blog: Tom Brady, Wes Welker, Vince Wilfork Key New England’s 31-19 Victory in Oakland

Patriots Live Blog: Tom Brady, Wes Welker, Vince Wilfork Key New England's 31-19 Victory in Oakland

Final, Patriots 31-19: The Patriots improved to 3-1 and are in a tie for first place in the AFC East with the Bills. The Jets can join them with a victory against the Ravens on Sunday night.

It's a big win for the Patriots, who traveled to the West Coast to pick it back up after a second-half letdown in Buffalo. But the story going forward will be the health of Jerod Mayo, who departed in the second quarter with a left knee injury.

Now, it's on to the Jets. The division rivals square off at Gillette Stadium next Sunday.

Fourth quarter, 0:28, Patriots 31-19: The Patriots were sloppy defensively on that garbage-time drive, and Bill Belichick won't be happy about that. Denarius Moore caught a six-yard touchdown pass to cap off the drive, but the Raiders failed on the two-point conversion. Devin McCourty knocked a fade route away, though he didn't turn his head to see the ball, which has been a problem for him this season.

The Raiders don't have any timeouts and will need to recover two onside kicks and score two touchdowns in 28 seconds. I don't like their chances.

Fourth quarter, 3:43, Patriots 31-13: This one has slowed to a crawl, and the last few possessions have been sloppy from each team. One of those times when you just want the officials to run the clock and put this thing to bed.

Linebacker Rob Ninkovich has apparently departed for the locker room, and wide receiver Julian Edelman has an ankle issue. The Patriots are getting crushed with injuries.

Fourth quarter, 6:38, Patriots 31-13: The Raiders only gained one first down and elected to punt on fourth-and-3 from their own 27. Curious decision to punt there. I like Hue Jackson — his enthusiasm and passion really show — but I haven't agreed with two of his decisions in this game, including the punt from the New England 40 on fourth-and-2 early in the game. In order to turn around a losing culture — and Jackson is doing that to an extent — you've got to be aggressive, show the players you trust them and aren't afraid to gamble on them. Jackson has been a little conservative in that aspect against the Patriots.

Fourth quarter, 8:21, Patriots 31-13: The Pats went three-and-out for the first time in the game, but Zoltan Mesko's punt pinned Oakland at its own 10. Still a tall task for an offense that isn't built to erase leads.

Fourth quarter, 10:19, Patriots 31-13: Vince Wilfork is an interception machine, and now he's got two picks in three weeks. Wilfork was working off his block and seemed to realize he wasn't going to get through his man, so he read Jason Campbell, dropped back and made the pick. Unreal. Great anticipation for Wilfork, and he returned it 19 yards to the New England 49. This one is just about over.

Fourth quarter, 13:38, Patriots 31-13: That's a big-time drive from the Patriots, and Deion Branch's first reception in two weeks has given them a three-possession lead. Good luck to the Raiders' pedestrian passing attack against this sort of deficit. Wes Welker caught four passes for 62 yards on that drive and has nine catches for 158 yards and one touchdown in this game.

End of third quarter, Patriots 24-13: Wes Welker caught a 19-yard pass on third-and-6 but took a hard whack to the back from Jerome Boyd. The ball was a little high and forced Welker to leave his feet and make himself vulnerable on the play. He got up on the Patriots sideline and told someone he was OK, but wide receivers coach Chad O'Shea literally pulled him off the field. Welker only missed one play and came back onto the field to make a six-yard catch.

The Raiders, by the way, have gotten away with two high hits on Tom Brady. They weren't penalties five years ago, but they're supposed to be in this era. Just stay consistent with the calls. That's all anyone wants.

Third quarter, 3:21, Patriots 24-13: Sebastian Janikowski drilled a 44-yard field goal to cut into the lead, and the Patriots benefited from an overturned pass interference penalty on Kyle Arrington, which was a little bizarre. The call was overturned after it was apparently ruled, so who knows what's going on there. Anyway, the Patriots aren't playing very well defensively, but Jason Campbell's interception, Oakland's mistakes and two field goals have kept the Raiders behind the pace. If the Patriots offense can find the end zone here, they might be able to demoralize this Raiders squad. Don't let them hang around, though.

Third quarter, 4:07, Patriots 24-10: I got a chance to watch Jerod Mayo's last pay on the field, and it was strange because there was nothing notable. Mayo worked off a block from Stefan Wisniewski. After they disengaged, Mayo started hobbling, then looked at his leg and really exaggerated the hobble a little more. I wonder if he hurt the knee earlier in the game and tried to play through it, or if something weird just happened on that play. Such a strange turn of events, especially considering the apparent severity of the injury.

Third quarter, 10:30, Patriots 24-10: Kyle Love is back on the field, but Danny Woodhead is nowhere to be found. He's got an ankle injury, and his return is questionable.

Third quarter, 11:07, Patriots 24-10: For all of the compliments I've given Stevan Ridley, I've wondered if he'd have the breakaway speed to get through the secondary. That question has officially been answered. Ridley scored on a 33-yard run to double the lead, and he looks really good against Oakland. I spoke with Ridley on Friday and will share more of his thoughts on the Patriots' backfield and his own game later on.

Third quarter, 14:40, Patriots 17-10: Jerod Mayo was carted back to the locker room at halftime and hasn't emerged since. Even if the Patriots win this game, Mayo's injury could be the biggest story of the trip to Oakland.

Stevan Ridley started the second half with the offense. I love his talent, but I wonder if there will really be a time when he supplants BenJarvus Green-Ellis as the starter. The coaches love Green-Ellis in a big way, so I don't think they'd ever be used in anything other than a rotation.

Halftime, Patriots 17-10: Stephen Gostkowski's 44-yard field goal gave the Patriots the biggest lead of the day for either team. Tom Brady has been off the mark down the field in this one, and his third-down attempt for Deion Branch sailed way over the receiver's head. Whether it was a poor throw or a bad route, it had no chance, much like most of Brady's downfield throws in this game.

Good news for the Pats, Brady hit Chad Ochocinco twice for a total of 26 yards to the left sideline.

Some more injury news, though: Danny Woodhead left on that drive with a left leg injury. It looked bad when he hopped off the field, but he apparently put his helmet back on near the bench. Kyle Love also returned to the bench after departing for the locker room with an ankle injury. That's a good sign because the Patriots usually keep their more seriously injured players in the locker room, especially on the road.

On that note, it will be telling if Jerod Mayo stays in the locker room after halftime. The team said he has a knee injury, and his return is questionable. When Mayo walked off the field, he gave his helmet to Gary Guyton because it's got the headset in it. That's a pretty obvious sign that he wasn't expecting to return anytime soon.

Second quarter, 2:15, Patriots 14-10: Wow, Jason Campbell just threw one of the worst interceptions you'll ever see. On second-and-goal from the 6, Campbell scrambled in the pocket before lobbing the ball straight to Patrick Chung in the back of the end zone. There was no Raider in the area, so the assumption is Campbell was just trying to throw it away. But if you're going to throw it away, you might not want to throw it eye-level directly to a guy who isn't on your team. Horrible job by Campbell after the Raiders were cruising up the field again.

On another note, good for Chung to hang onto the pass with the hard cast on his right hand.

Second quarter, 5:28, Patriots 14-10: Jerod Mayo left the field with the help of two trainers after suffering an apparent left knee injury. Television replays still haven't shown what happened. There's no overstating Mayo's value to this team. If this is serious, it would be a disaster.

Second quarter, 7:44, Patriots 14-10: BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for a hard one-yard touchdown to keep the back-and-forth action going. Two plays earlier, Wes Welker caught a 21-yard pass down the left sideline at the pilon. If you saw the replay, you would have seen Welker start his route by taking a few steps, turning around in a complete 360 and then running up the sideline. It fooled cornerback Chimdi Chekwa. Funny story, we saw the Patriots receivers practicing that 360 maneuver during practice and kind of laughed about it. Now, it works in game action. Good stuff.

It's useful because it gives the corner the impression that the receiver could be running a quick hitch, and when the corner bites, the receiver will have an open lane to run past him when he's off balance.

The Raiders picked up 30 more yards of personal fouls on the kickoff before that drive because Ryan Wendell was headbutted twice by a pair of Raiders, who are playing stupid football with 70 yards of penalties so far.

Second quarter, 10:20, Raiders 10-7: The Raiders flew down the field, paced by Darren McFadden's 41-yard run on the first drive of the game, and Michael Bush scored a 1-yard touchdown on third-and-goal. Gary Guyton ran way too far out wide in his attempt to contain the right defensive edge.

McFadden entered the game with an NFL-high 19 runs of 20 yards or mroe since the start of the 2010 season. He missed three games with an injury last year, so he averages more than one 20-plus yarder per game. It was only a matter of time before he busted a long one, frankly.

The Patriots announced Kyle Love has an ankle injury, and his return is questionable.

Second quarter, 13:32, Patriots 7-3: The Patriots punted after faltering near midfield. Tom Brady has misfired on a couple of downfield throws so far, including on third down with Wes Welker wide open over the middle of the field. It wasn't an easy throw to make, but he's missed considerably to Welker and Rob Gronkowski.

Richard Seymour was called for offsides, but it was declined due to Stevan Ridley's 25-yard run. That's Seymour's third infraction of the game. Ridley leads the Patriots with 36 rushing yards on three carries, while BenJarvus Green-Ellis has four carries for 19 yards. They could develop into a serious one-two combo if the Patriots can stay dedicated to the ground game.

End of first quarter, Patriots 7-3: The Patriots gave up a pair of third-down conversions but stopped Jason Campbell short on his third attempt, though I'm surprised the Raiders punted on fourth-and-2 from the New England 40. I thought they'd be more aggressive and go for it, or at least give Sebastian Janikowski a chance at a 57-yarder. Not like he can't kick those or anything.

Anyway, Shane Lechler, another outstanding specialist, dropped a punt at the 4. Will the Patriots run it out of the shadow of their goal line? Nope, Tom Brady just threw a 15-yard pass to Rob Gronkowski to give the Pats some breathing room on the first play of the drive.

First quarter, 4:59, Patriots 7-3: Defensive lineman Kyle Love injured his right leg, and it might have been the knee. It looks like it could be serious, which would be a tough blow for a line that is hurting with injuries for the second year in a row. Love has progressed far more rapidly this season than I expected. He's been good.

By the way, regarding Richard Seymour's penalty for hitting Tom Brady, I bet Seymour was trying to send a message. He probably heard the whistle, but he'll never admit it. If he did, he'd get a huge fine.

First quarter, 6:07, Patriots 7-3: It looked bleak at the start of the drive, as Dan Connolly got flagged for holding Richard Seymour on the first play, but Seymour bailed out the Patriots with a stupid personal foul by driving Tom Brady to the ground after the Patriots were whistled for a delay of game. Later in the drive, Seymour grabbed BenJarvus Green-Ellis' facemask to give the former Patriot 30 penalty yards on the opening drive. Brady then hit Wes Welker for a 15-yard touchdown after Welker ran a quick out  to the left side for his fifth touchdown of the season. He's scored three of them on that route alone.

First quarter, 10:26, Raiders 3-0: I wonder if Sebastian Janikowski gets bored by 28-yard field goals. Anyway, he capped Oakland's opening drive with a chip shot after an illegal block set up the Raiders with a first-and-20. Two big plays there: First, Jerod Mayo missed a tackle on Darren McFadden, who lined up wide to the right and caught a pass in the flat for a 15-yard gain. Then, Kevin Boss caught a 23-yard pass after Rob Ninkovich checked him at the line and was slow to drop into his zone coverage. It was too soft on the left side, and Jason Campbell found Boss for an easy throw.

First quarter, 15:00, 0-0: Ouch, Stephen Gostkowski pulled a John Kasay on the opening kickoff, and the Raiders will start at their own 35 after the ball went out of bounds.

4:16 p.m.: The Patriots will kick off to start the game, and the day's biggest question marks — New England's defense against Oakland's offense — will be put on display right away.

4:13 p.m.: The Bengals' comeback is complete, and they used an interesting strategy at the end of the game. With two timeouts at their disposal, they chose to let about 20 seconds run off the clock to kick a 43-yard field goal for the win. It worked, but that's quite the risk to take when you could try to get a little closer. The second-guessing would have been resounding in Cincinnati this week if that didn't work.

3:51 p.m.: After becoming the first team to win consecutive games after trailing by at least 18 points, the Bills have given away a 14-point lead in Cincinnati. The Bengals just tied the game at 20, and they've been the better team, sans their string of mistakes earlier in the action. If the Bills keep trending in the wrong direction in this one, the Patriots can get back into a tie for first place in the AFC East with a victory. Still a while to go, though.

3:15 p.m.: The Raiders won't have immensely talented safety Michael Huff, who will miss the first game of his six-year career due to a concussion. Huff is a heck of a player, and this could turn out to be the most important injury for either team in this game.

3:05 p.m.: Gerard Warren will also make his regular-season debut after re-signing with the Patriots this week. It should be interesting to see what type of fronts the Patriots use on defense to counter Oakland's run-heavy offense.

I don't know if there's a scientific method for stopping Darren McFadden, but here's a look at how the Patriots will try.

2:46 p.m.: Quarterback Ryan Mallett is the final inactive player for the Patriots, which means wide receiver Taylor Price will be in uniform for the first time this season. Safety Patrick Chung is also back in the mix after missing last week's game against the Bills. The Patriots' secondary struggled badly without Chung on the field.

This is going to be a real eye opener with the way the Patriots use Price and Chad Ochocinco. If Price gets more reps than Ochocinco, it certainly won't be a good sign for the star wideout.

2:20 p.m.: The Patriots have already ruled out some big names for Sunday's game against the Raiders: defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth, cornerback Leigh Bodden, tight end Aaron Hernandez, tackle Sebastian Vollmer, cornerback Ras-I Dowling and defensive lineman Mike Wright. They'll announce the sixth inactive player in about 10 minutes.

The Raiders have some extremely fast wide receivers, but I'm not overly impressed with their overall skill sets. I'm not going to say losing Leigh Bodden and Ras-I Dowling is no big deal, because that would be entirely off base, but the Patriots might be able to better deal with the absence of both corners against the Raiders than another team.

8:00 a.m. ET: The Patriots are on the West Coast preparing to get things right after a brutal loss in Buffalo, and there's a great unknown surrounding the upcoming events.

What is this Patriots team made of in the face of adversity? Can they stop running back Darren McFadden? Can the Raiders survive against New England's offense without a high-octane passing attack of their own? How legitimate are the Raiders, particularly on the heels of a victory against the Jets?

One thing is certain: Tom Brady will play well. He's won 18 of his last 20 regular-season games after a loss, and he's 25-6 overall on such occasions. Brady has also 4-1 with a 68.3 completion percentage, 1,293 passing yards, nine touchdowns and just one interception in games following his four-interception performances.

The Patriots and Raiders kick off just after 4 p.m. Stay with NESN.com's live blog for complete updates.

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