How did the Patriots manage to do it? They had a secret weapon.
WR Brandin Cooks.
Cooks was dominant all game registering six receptions, 149 receiving yards and a touchdown in the game. Cooks threatened the defense with his speed ultimately catching two separate passes over 50 yards. Obviously for a guy like Cooks, when the deep game goes well, the remainder of his game manages to benefit too. With cornerbacks starting to line up off the line of scrimmage and playing with a major cushion, Cooks was allowed to work underneath on hitches and comebacks:
Ironically for Cooks, it was his best game of the season.
Since then, the Raiders have made plenty of changes in their personnel having cast off the main players who were burnt in CB Sean Smith and S Obi Melifonwu. They also have a new Head Coach in Jon Gruden among many other changes like Defensive Coordinator Paul Guenther along with a new offensive coordinator in former Rams OC and QB Coach Greg Olson.
Also if you’ve been hiding under a rock, Cooks was traded to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for a first-round pick. Cooks’ addition is not one to scoff at as his positional versatility and game-breaking speed allow Head Coach Sean McVay to become extremely creative and only add to an offense which was incredibly explosive in 2017.
It will be a different battle with different teams and different players, but one thing is for certain: Brandin Cooks is a threat, and the Raiders will have to adjust accordingly.