December 14, 2008

NFL: New England 49, Oakland 26

Matt Cassel threw four TD passes in the rain Sunday and the New England Patriots maintained a share of their division lead with a 49-26 blasting of Oakland.

The Patriots are tied with Miami and the New York Jets at 9-5 atop the AFC East. The Jets currently have the tiebreak advantage.

Oakland, heading to the finish of another dismal season, fell to 3-11 while setting a dubious NFL record. The Raiders are the only franchise in the history of the league to lose 11 or more games in six straight seasons.

Cassel completed 18 passes for 218 yards on the muddy field. He threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Faulk and a 20-yarder to Randy Moss during the first half of the first quarter.

Wes Walker caught a 13-yard touchdown throw from Cassel to make it 28-7 in the second period, after which the teams produced back-to-back kickoff returns for scores. Justin Miller brought one back 91 yards for Oakland and Ellis Hobbs then returned one 95 yards for New England, giving the Patriots a 35-14 halftime lead.

Moss caught a second scoring pass early in the second half. Sammy Morris rushed for 117 yards on 14 carries and scored New England's third touchdown of the opening period on a 29-yard run.