FOXBOROUGH — J.C. Jackson warned the Patriots had something in store for Las Vegas’s Darren Waller.
Turns out that something led to a whole lot of nothing for the talented tight end.
The Patriots threw everything and everybody at Waller, holding him to a pair of meaningless catches for 9 yards on the game’s final drive.
Raiders coach Jon Gruden joked the Patriots might have trouble finding Waller because of the way he moves his top pass catcher around, but it turned out everyone in a blue jersey knew where No. 83 was at all times.
Waller came to Gillette with 18 catches but could barely get out of his own way as the New England defense took turns blanketing Derek Carr’s safety blanket.
The Patriots’ defense prevented Waller from finding any time or space, consistently forcing Carr to hold onto the ball or seek other options.
“They did a good job of making it look like a double when they weren’t doubling him,” said Carr. “And you don’t have three seconds to [say], ‘is he really doubling?’ You’ve got to play the game fast.”
Bill Belichick employed a number of looks on Waller and was pleased with the outcome.
"I thought the players did an excellent job,” he said. “When we had opportunities to jam and reroute him, we tried to do that, but he’s a tough guy to match up on. A couple of different guys matched up on him depending on what the coverage was, and there was some zone coverage in there as well.”
Gruden was more matter of fact about the matchup.
“We didn’t come in here today to target Waller every play,” said Gruden. “Credit New England; they had a nice game plan. They got pressure on the quarterback a few times. We had Waller open. The film was out there for everybody to look at, but New England did a nice job. They did a better job than we did today.”
Newton climbs to second
Cam Newton rushed further into the record books with his 27 rushing yards, giving him 4,955 for his career, and moving past Randall Cunningham and into second place all time for quarterbacks.
The only QB with more career rushing yards is Michael Vick, who has 6,109.
Raiders investigated for COVID-19 violation
According to an ESPN report, the Raiders are under NFL investigation for permitting an unauthorized team employee into their locker room following last week’s win over the Saints, the franchise’s first game at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
As part of the COVID-19 protocols, teams are allowed only 40 employees in the locker room, including coaches, medical staff, equipment staff, the general manager, a security officer, a media relations official, and up to three ownership representatives. According to the report, the employee in the locker room did not fit into the authorized categories.
Belichick moving up
Belichick earned his 275th career regular-season win and trails only Don Shula (328) and George Halas (318) all time. Belichick improved to 9-1 against the Raiders, his best winning percentage against any team … Belichick again thanked those who reached out with condolences and support after the death of his mother, Jeannette, and the death of his girlfriend’s father. He thanked his staff for their work during the time, too. “I really can’t say enough about how much I appreciate how much everybody helped this week and how hard they worked when I wasn’t able to pull my weight here. So, really give them and the organization a lot of credit.”
Running it up
New England averaged 6.6 yards per carry, the franchise’s highest since Dec. 19, 2010, when it averaged 7.06 against the Packers … Since 2001, the Patriots are 52-1 in the regular season when they have a back eclipse 100 yards rushing … Undrafted rookie receiver Isaiah Zuber made his pro debut and had a 13-yard rush on his first NFL touch … New England improved to 101-1 when leading at halftime at Gillette Stadium … The Patriots held a moment of silence for James White’s dad, Tyrone, who was killed in an automobile accident last week.
More Patriots coverage
- As it happened: After a slow start, Cam Newton and the Patriots roll to 36-20 win over the Raiders
- Instant analysis: Cam Newton didn’t have his best day against the Raiders, but Patriots prove they aren’t a one-man team
- What did N’Keal Harry say to Cam Newton to cause a meme-worthy reaction? Cam’s not telling
- Patriots up front about reasons for success against Raiders - the offensive line came to play
Jim McBride can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globejimmcbride.