FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Coach Bill Belichick questioned a defensive pass interference penalty against his Patriots.
Raiders coach Dennis Allen didn't agree with a holding penalty that nullified a potential tying touchdown on the next play.
There was no doubt about the play that followed — an interception by 325-pound defensive tackle Vince Wilfork that ended Oakland's last chance with 51 seconds left and gave New England the ball at its 11-yard line.
All Tom Brady had to do was kneel down three times and throw an incompletion before time ran out on the heavily favored Patriots' 16-9 win on Sunday.
"Sometimes you've got to grind them out," New England wide receiver Julian Edelman said after catching 10 passes. "An ugly win is better than a pretty loss."
This one was supposed to be easy.
The Patriots (2-1) were coming off a 30-7 win at Minnesota and had won 11 of their previous 12 home openers. The Raiders (0-3) lost their previous game to Houston 34-14 and had lost 14 straight games in the Eastern time zone.
But Oakland led 3-0 on the first of Sebastian Janikowski's three field goals, a 49-yarder in the first quarter, before New England took a 10-3 lead at halftime on Tom Brady's 6-yard pass to Rob Gronkowski with 4:41 left and Stephen Gostkowski's 21-yard field goal on the last play, the first of his three.
"We had some opportunities there to score more points," Brady said. "There are some teams that are playing really well already. We're not really doing that offensively yet."
The Patriots have just three offensive touchdowns in their last 10 quarters. The Raiders have only four all season.
But both teams were pleased with their defense.
"We started fast on defense and we just got into a rhythm," Oakland defensive end Justin Tuck said. "We had a good chance to beat a good team on the road and it didn't happen."
New England held Oakland to 241 yards, but that wasn't the most important number to Belichick.
"The big thing defensively is we gave up nine points," he said. "The rest of those stats, really, you can do whatever you want with them. They don't really mean much."
Here are other key points in the Patriots' win:
ONLY TOUCHDOWN: Gronkowski's catch was the only touchdown despite New England getting inside the 10-yard line three times and Oakland getting inside the 30 three times.
"We did just enough to get the victory," Gronkowski said. "Sometimes it's frustrating, but what we did today is not always going to get the job done."
One play after defensive pass interference was called against Logan Ryan at the Patriots 6-yard line, Darren McFadden would have scored if holding wasn't called against left guard Gabe Jackson.
"When I turned around and everybody wasn't coming to celebrate with me, I knew something wasn't right," McFadden said.
HAPPY HOME: Brady added to his impressive record at home. In his last 62 games at Gillette Stadium, including the playoffs, he is 57-5. After a Monday night game at Kansas City, he should get a chance to add to that against the Cincinnati Bengals on Oct. 5.
Maybe his offense will be rolling by then.
"We've always gotten better as the season has gone on and, as players, gained more experience," Brady said. "Right now, we're building our team."
Brady completed 24 of 37 passes for 234 yards and has a mediocre 82.9 passer rating this season with three touchdown passes and no interceptions.
CARR STILL WINLESS: Rookie quarterback Derek Carr is winless after three games with the Raiders. The second-round draft pick completed 21 of 34 passes for 174 yards and one interception.
"We put ourselves in a position to win in a tough place against a Super Bowl-type team," Carr said. "I just wanted to come back in that locker room and see the smiles on my teammates' faces."
ACROSS THE POND: After the game, the Raiders headed straight to London for next Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium. "I was looking forward to it being after a win," safety Charles Woodson said. "It's a great opportunity to represent the NFL, but it's a business trip."
The Raiders began their season with a trip from the West Coast to face the Jets in New York, then flew back home to face the Houston Texans before flying east again to face New England.
INJURY REPORT: Patriots defensive tackle Sealver Siliga didn't return after hurting his foot in the first quarter. The team provided no update. Allen said Raiders wide receiver Rod Streater and safety Tyvon Branch each left the game with a broken foot.
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