Jason Campbell had two interceptions vs. the Patriots after throwing just one in his first three games. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
In victories over Denver and the New York Jets, Jason Campbell had been efficient and effective. In a 38-35 shootout loss to Buffalo, he had at times been electric.
But on Sunday, it was Campbell’s errors that loomed large in a 31-19 loss to the New England Patriots at O.co Coliseum.
Though Campbell threw for 344 yards against the Patriots – his most yardage as a Raider – he also threw two costly interceptions, a change in course from his steady performance in the first three games when he had thrown just one interception, and that was a throwaway.
The combination of Campbell’s solid decision-making and Oakland’s league-leading rushing offense had the Raiders turning heads in the NFL, especially after a big win over the Jets in Week 3.
On Sunday, however, that offense stalled and sputtered. It was Campbell’s late first-half interception in New England’s end zone that seemed to be the game’s turning point. There wasn’t a Raiders receiver near Patriots safety Patrick Chung when Campbell’s pass floated right to him in the back of the end zone, killing a drive on which the Raiders had marched to the 6-yard line.
Later, Campbell threw another pick right into the hands of giant Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork.
After the loss, Campbell put much of the blame on himself.
“Unfortunately, I made a bone-headed mistake on the interception,” Campbell told Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News, referring to Chung's pick. “That cost us. That’s something I don’t usually do. From that point on, I think it kind of stemmed the momentum.”
Head coach Hue Jackson told reporters Campbell “did some good things” but also did “some things he wishes he could have had back.”
Campell isn’t asked to carry the load for his offense like Tom Brady does for the Patriots. With a strong running game, Campbell is asked to manage the game and make big plays when needed. He ranks just 24th in the NFL in passes attempted this season. But he ranks 12th overall in passer rating at 89.1.
Two weeks ago, Jackson called Campbell “as fine a quarterback as there is in this league.”
Against the Patriots, Campbell stumbled for the first time this season against Jackson’s – and his own – expectations.