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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Tue Apr 23 - 02:00 PM | Wed Apr 24 - 11:55 AM

Take Two-sday: Clock management costs Patriots points

The Patriots may have cost themselves a chance to put a touchdown on the board late in the first half due to some questionable decisions.




The Patriots won for the second week in a row on Sunday, taking a 16-9 decision over the Oakland Raiders. But based on the talk in the aftermath of the win, and the much-closer-than-anticipated score, there didn't seem to be a lot to get excited about in the victory.

Given that New England was taking on a rookie quarterback making just his third career start, and playing against a team that had been outclassed in its first two games, it's easy to understand why many were less than impressed with the result.



]( that in mind our second look at the win focuses on a sequence of plays that weren't exactly run to perfection, despite the fact that the series led to points and ultimately helped the Patriots prevail.

Leading 7-3 with 2:45 to go before halftime, the Patriots caught a huge break when Oakland punter Marquette King shanked a 22-yard punt that was downed at midfield. With a pair of timeouts and the two-minute warning, it would seem the Patriots had plenty of time to march 50 yards for a touchdown. Turns out they nearly came away with nothing.

There were a couple of factors at work here that appeared to show the Patriots weren't exactly crisp. The first was subtle as Tom Brady threw a 10-yard pass to Julian Edelman with 2:10 left and a flag was thrown to stop the clock. The official conferred and reported there was no penalty for a chop block so the played stood. However, the Patriots huddled up while the clock began to tick, and as Brady and his mates broke the two-minute warning had arrived, costing the offense a chance to run another play.

Still, with the ball at the Raiders 38 and with a pair of timeouts, time was not yet a factor. Stevan Ridley picked up 9 yards up the middle and Brady then connected with Rob Gronkowski for 16 yards and Edelman for 4 before using a timeout with 1:06 left and the ball at the 9. Here's where things went awry, and it wasn't entirely the Patriots fault.



]( again shot up the middle and appeared to be just short of the first down. But the officials spotted the ball about a half-yard ahead, giving New England the first down at the 3. The problem was, Brady didn't realize that and called for another Ridley run out of the no huddle. He picked up a yard to the 2 and Brady even signaled first down, but instead of first-and-goal it was second-and-goal, and the clock continued to run.

At that point Brady either needed to use a timeout or call a pass. He did neither, and worse the team huddled as precious seconds ticked away. Shane Vereen was then stuffed for no gain to set up third-and-goal from the 2 with just 8 seconds left. Now the Patriots had to use their final timeout and were forced to pass. Dan Connolly's poor snap eliminated any chance for redemption on third down and ultimately the Patriots settled for the field goal.

But there's no reason for the Patriots to run two plays in 58 seconds between the first timeout with 1:06 left and the last with just :08 remaining. That forced everything to be perfect in terms of execution, and on this day the Patriots were anything but.

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