November 18, 2002
OAKLAND, Calif. -- No need to go to the replay booth this time: Tom Brady definitely fumbled, and the Raiders deserved the victory.
Rich Gannon threw for 297 yards as Oakland took control early on its way to beating New England 27-20 on Sunday night, the first meeting between the teams since the Super Bowl champion Patriots' controversial overtime win over the Raiders in last season's playoffs.
The Raiders still are steaming about the infamous "tuck rule" call on that snowy January night, with team owner Al Davis ridiculing the decision in an interview Saturday.
Oakland didn't allow this game to come down to an officiating decision. Brady's ballhandling again figured into it, though.
Chris Cooper forced Brady to fumble shortly before halftime, setting up a touchdown that gave the Raiders a double-digit lead. Brady never got New England into the end zone and it was held to 195 yards.
With consecutive wins after losing four straight, the Raiders are within a game of Denver and San Diego in the AFC West. The Patriots are in a three-way tie for second in the AFC East behind first-place Miami.
Zack Crockett rushed for two short touchdowns and Charlie Garner ran for 57 yards and caught seven passes for 65 more. Gannon was 26-for-38, patiently directing a ball-control offense.
Kevin Faulk made things interesting with an 86-yard kickoff return for a score with 59 seconds left, but the Raiders recovered Adam Vinatieri's misdirected onside kick and ran out the clock.
In last season's playoffs, New England trailed 13-10 with 1:43 left to play when Brady lost the ball going back to pass. The officials' initial ruling of a fumble recovery was overturned on video replay based on the "tuck rule," keeping alive the drive that led to Vinatieri's game-tying field goal that forced overtime. The Patriots won it on another field goal and won the Super Bowl two weeks later as the Raiders fumed.