MEXICO CITY (AP) — Tom Brady felt right at home in his first appearance in Mexico by throwing for 339 yards and three touchdowns, to the delight of an adoring crowd, in the New England Patriots’ 33-8 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
Brady completed his first 12 passes and picked apart Oakland’s suspect defense to chants of “Brady! Brady!” from an amped-up crowd at Azteca Stadium. The large contingent of Patriots fans in the well-divided crowd for a Raiders “home” game had plenty to cheer about as New England (8-2) dominated from start to finish.
After winning their debut trip to Mexico City last year against Houston, the Raiders (4-6) were completely overmatched in their return. The offense failed to score until Derek Carr threw a TD pass to Amari Cooper in the fourth quarter with Oakland trailing by 30 points.
The defense got victimized by short passes by Brady and then beaten on a 64-yard TD to Brandin Cooks on the third play of the second half that gave New England a 24-0 lead.
There was a festive environment at the famed stadium, with loud cheers for both teams from the crowd of 77,357 fans and a notable buzz throughout the early portions. Much was made heading to the game about the differing approaches to playing in an elevation of 7,200 feet above sea level. The
Patriots spent the week at the Air Force Academy practicing at an elevation of 6,621 feet, while the Raiders stayed home and opted to limit their time at high altitude.
In a game this lopsided it probably didn’t play much of a factor, although it was the Patriots who had two players leave because of dehydration in the second half with receiver Danny Amendola and cornerback Stephon Gilmore being sidelined for brief stretches.
The thin air might have helped Stephen Gostkowski set a New England record with a 62-yard field goal at the end of the first half that was tied for the sixth-longest field goal in NFL history. Two of the five longer kicks, including Matt Prater’s record 64-yarder in 2014, were also done at high elevation in Denver. Gostkowski added three field goals in the second half.
Brady went 9 for 9 on the opening drive for New England as the Patriots used an up-tempo offense and short passes to keep the Raiders on their heels. He capped it with a 15-yard pass to Dion Lewis to take a 7-0 lead. Brady added a 5-yard TD pass to Amendola midway through the second quarter.
The Raiders appeared in position to score late in the first half before Marquis Flowers knocked the ball out of Seth Roberts’ hands inside the 5. Patrick Chung recovered with 33 seconds left at the New England 7. The Patriots managed to move 48 yards in four plays and ended the half with Gostkowski’s long kick. The Patriots have now scored in the final minute of the first half in seven straight games.
Brady became the first quarterback with 300-yard games in three countries, having also done it twice in London and 79 times in the United States.
Raiders WR Johnny Holton left to be evaluated for a concussion after getting hurt on a deep pass that bounced off his shoulder pads for an interception by Duron Harmon . Holton returned in the second half and was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Patriots: Host Miami on Sunday.
Raiders: Host Denver on Sunday.
More AP NFL: pro32.ap.org and twitter.com/AP_NFL