By JOSH DUBOW
AP Sports Writer
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) _ Tom Brady grew up in the Bay Area rooting
for Joe Montana so it was only fitting that in his first game back
here in nine years he passed the Hall of Famer on an exclusive
Brady bounced back from a four-interception performance by
throwing for two touchdowns to pass Montana on the career list and
committing no turnovers to help the Patriots beat the mistake-prone
Oakland Raiders 31-19 Sunday.
“I’ll never be in Joe’s category,” said Brady, who was at
Candlestick Park in 1982 when Montana and Dwight Clark connected on
“We throw the ball a lot more than they threw it back then.
It’s much more of a passing league now than it’s ever been. Every
one of those touchdowns was important today, so it was fun. It was
fun to be back out there after last week.”
Wes Welker caught nine passes for 158 yards and a score,
BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Stevan Ridley added rushing touchdowns
and the Patriots (3-1) played a mostly mistake-free game after last
week’s surprising loss in Buffalo.
“It’s always big to bounce back,” said Welker, who has 40
catches 616 yards through four games.
“We had the letdown last week and we got a bounce-back from
that and coming on the road into a hostile environment, it’s a big
win for us. It was good to see.”
This time the interception that changed the game was made by New
England instead of thrown by Brady.
Patrick Chung got a gift-wrapped pick in the end zone late in
the first half when Jason Campbell inexplicably threw the ball
right to the safety with no receiver in the area for the Raiders
“It was just a bonehead play,” Campbell said. “I was just
going to throw the ball out of bounds, then I start running around
trying to make a play.”
Campbell threw another interception early in the fourth quarter
to 325-pound defensive lineman Vince Wilfork as the Raiders were
unable to give the energized sellout crowd much to cheer about
after the opening minutes.
The Raiders committed nine penalties for 85 yards, including a
pair of personal fouls on New England’s opening drive by former
Patriots star Richard Seymour.
But the biggest mistake was the one made by Campbell at the end
of the first half.
The Raiders were at the New England 6 and in position to take a
17-14 lead when Campbell stepped up in the pocket and threw the
ball directly to Chung.
The Patriots drove for a 44-yard field goal by Stephen
Gostkowski in the closing seconds of the half. New England then
took the opening kickoff of the second down the field for a score
on Ridley’s 33-yard run so the Raiders trailed 24-10 by the time
Campbell took his next snap.
“It cost us. It cost our team,” Campbell said. “It’s
something I don’t usually do. Unfortunately, it happened. And from
that point on, it kind of stirred the momentum. We just pretty much
were going tit for tat at that point. You’re going against a team
like New England, an offensive juggernaut, you can’t have mistakes
Oakland settled for a field goal deep in New England territory
late in the third quarter after the officials overturned a pass
interference call against the Patriots.
New England answered with another touchdown drive capped by
Brady’s 4-yard pass to Deion Branch that made it 31-13 and gave him
275 career TDs, tying Vinny Testaverde for eight place all time.
Brady passed Montana with his TD pass to Welker in the first
quarter and he also tied Peyton Manning’s record of 13 straight
games with at least two TD passes.
New England’s much-maligned defense did enough despite losing
star linebacker Jerod Mayo in the first half to a knee injury and
allowing 504 yards.
The Patriots held an opponent to under 20 points for the first
time this season, a drastic change from last week’s 34-31 loss to
Darren McFadden, the NFL’s leading rusher, had 75 yards on 14
carries. Campbell finished 25 for 39 for 344 yards, but the Raiders
only made it into the end zone once before Campbell’s 6-yard TD
pass to Denarius Moore with 28 seconds left.
Brady, who threw for a record 1,327 yards the first three games,
needed to do much less against the Raiders. He completed 16 of 30
passes as New England did plenty of damage on the ground with
Ridley rushing for 97 yards and Green-Ellis adding 75.
“We had a good day running the ball so that always helps
balance things up,” New England coach Bill Belichick said. “We
always want to have balance and we were able to have it today. We
blocked well, we ran well.”
Buoyed by a sellout crowd and big-game atmosphere, the Raiders
came out fast with Campbell completing four of five passes for 57
yards in the opening drive to set up a 28-yard field goal by
But that emotion also hurt the Raiders with Seymour being called
for unnecessary roughness for throwing Brady to the ground after a
delay of game penalty and a facemask later on a TD drive.
“They said they blew the whistle,” Seymour said. “But it was
so loud I never heard the whistle. That’s still no excuses. We have
to play better. We just couldn’t get off the field on third down.”
Notes: The Raiders held a moment of silence before the game for
Myra Kraft, the late wife of New England owner Robert Kraft. …
New England scored at least 30 points for the 12th straight game.
… Oakland had 19 points on six trips inside the New England 30.
Follow Josh Dubow on Twitter at http://twitter.com/JoshDubowAP
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)