New England Patriots: Four Takeaways From 16-9 Win Over Oakland Raiders

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Sep 21, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback

Tom Brady

(12) scrambles during the fourth quarter against Oakland Raiders at Gillette Stadium. The New England Patriots won 16-9. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

1. Offensive line main cause for struggles

We have returned to our week one problems. How the hell are the Patriots going to keep Tom Brady upright? If they can’t do that, this offense has a zero percent chance of doing well this season. We can talk all we want about the lack of receiving options outside of Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski, but the success of this offense starts and ends with the big guys up front.

Nate Solder, Marcus Cannon, Dan Connolly, and Jordan Devey all had horrendous games, with rookie Bryan Stork, and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer being the only two lineman that held up against the Raiders front seven. Brady was only sacked twice, but he was hit six times, and it completely disrupted the offense from start to finish.

If there were receivers open deep (which was unlikely), Brady had no chance of finding them, because there were Raiders defenders all over him within one second of the snap. When Dante Scarnecchia retired this offseason, I don’t think anyone really thought it would have much of an impact on this year’s team, but I fear losing him is exactly why New England is struggling so badly to start the year.