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Oakland 27; New England 20

Nov. 18, 2002 at 7:46 AM   |   Comments

OAKLAND, Calif., Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Fullback Zack Crockett scored on a pair of short runs Sunday night as the Oakland Raiders exacted a measure of revenge against the New England Patriots with a 27-20 victory.

It was the first meeting between the teams since the Patriots pulled out a 16-13 overtime win last Jan. 19 in a snowstorm at Foxboro Stadium on the way to their improbable Super Bowl triumph.

The Raiders believed they were done in by a bad call that cost them a chance at advancing in the playoffs.

On the Patriots' game-tying drive in the fourth period, quarterback Tom Brady fumbled after being sacked and the Raiders recovered, but a controversial replay review overturned the fumble, calling it an incomplete pass. The ruling by the replay official likely will be remembered forever as the "no-tuck rule" since Brady was in the act of throwing the ball forward when he stopped his motion and did not tuck the ball back into his body, which is why it was called an incompletion rather than a fumble.

The Raiders were still perturbed by the call when the two teams met Sunday night. They boycotted a training camp session in which officials addressed the team on NFL rule changes as a show of protest.

With revenge on their minds, the Raiders did their best to ensure that this contest would not be decided by the officials as they built a 24-6 lead with just over five minutes left in the third quarter.

Crockett had a pair of two-yard touchdown runs, the second capping a 15-play, 85-yard drive to start the third quarter that took more than 9 1/2 minutes.

Led by Crockett and their defense that sacked Brady four times, the Raiders (6-4) won their second straight game and remained a game back of division co-leaders San Diego and Denver in the AFC West.

"We spent the week focusing on what we had to do in this game to make the playoffs this year," said Raiders Coach Bill Callahan. "We treated them like any other opponent."

"They're the (reigning) Super Bowl champions," Crockett said. "It was a big game for us with all the controversy from last season and everything. Without dwelling on the past, we came out and stepped it up today."

The Patriots' offense failed to produce a touchdown. They got two field goals from Adam Vinatieri, an interception return by linebacker Tedy Bruschi, and a kickoff return by Kevin Faulk, whose 86-yard return with 59 seconds remaining pulled the Patriots to within 27-20. Tory James sealed the contest for the Raiders by recovering the ensuing onside kickoff.

"I think bad execution was the biggest factor," Brady said. "Not making enough plays. The fact is they made more plays than we did. I had Deion (Branch) on a post wide open for a 70-yard touchdown that I missed. You can't afford to miss that."

New England (5-5) fell into a three-way tie with Buffalo and the New York Jets for second place in the AFC East, a game back of Miami.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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