Heading into their Week 3 matchup, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick praised Las Vegas Raiders tight end, Darren Waller. Belichick knew the threat Waller posed so he made sure to take him out of the game. ‘The hoodie’ succeeded and the Patriots beat the Raiders 36-20.
Bill Belichick knew how to neutralize the Raiders’ best weapon
Waller was coming off from his best game of the season. He hauled in 12 catches for 105 yards and one touchdown against the New Orleans Saints in Week 2. The Saints defense didn’t seem to have an answer for the Raiders tight end all game long. Belichick took note like he always does, he knew the problem he posed for their defense. Before the game, the Patriots head coach said that it has been a while since he saw someone with Waller’s skillset. He added he was ‘unique’ and he was going to be a matchup problem.
The Patriots made stopping Waller a point of emphasis and they successfully neutralized him. The Raiders tight end finished the game with two catches for nine yards on four targets. On the other hand, that opened things up for his teammates. Wide receiver Hunter Renfrow hauled in six receptions for 81 yards and a touchdown while rookie Bryan Edwards caught two passes for 48 yards. Moreover, he had his longest catch of the year, a 34-yard reception. In the end, it wasn’t enough and the Raiders had a hard time scoring.
There weren’t many other options
Quarterback Derek Carr threw a one-yard pass to tight end Foster Moreau before halftime. However, the Raiders would have a hard time finding the red zone again and they did so only until the fourth quarter when the game was already out of reach. That’s when Carr hit Renfrow for a 13-yard touchdown with 1:54 left on the clock. It was too little, too late. With wide receiver Henry Ruggs III out and Edwards leaving the game with an ankle injury, the Silver and Black didn’t have the weapons to instill fear in the Patriots secondary.
The Patriots knew how to stop the Raiders offense and they did it successfully, they took away their best player and couldn’t make the necessary adjustments. As Renfrow said after the game, it was a disappointing loss, but the Raiders will have the chance to fix whatever issues they have during the week and before they take on the Buffalo Bills.
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