AFC East Review: Week 1

 

Week 1 Games:

Dolphins defeat Bills, 15-10

The Dolphins pulled off a less than convincing victory over the team many predict will be the worst in the league this year. The Bills were largely ineffective on offense, especially on the ground. The new-look Dolphins defense had a positive debut, recording three sacks including one each from newcomer Karlos Dansby and rookie Koa Misi. At the end of the game the Bills took an intentional safety and, after a defensive stop, got the ball back with over 30 seconds remaining but they were unable to capitalize.

Patriots defeat Bengals, 38-24

The Patriots opened up a 24-3 halftime lead on the defending AFC North Champion Bengals. Cincinnati fought back in the second half but the game was already out of hand. The Patriots dominated in all three phases of the game, scoring on an interception return by Gary Guyton and a kickoff return by Brandon Tate. The Patriots young defense performed well and frustrated Carson Palmer by mixing up their formations and disguising their coverage. Wes Welker had a terrific return from injury, making quick cuts, absorbing hits and finishing the day with two TDs.

Ravens defeat Jets, 10-9

Mark Sanchez had an abysmal day passing the ball, and running back Shonn Greene lost two fumbles as the Baltimore defense suffocated New York in their opening game at New Meadowlands Stadium. The Jets defense for the most part played well, stuffing the vaunted Ravens running game, but were unable to get off the field on third down. They had two sacks and caused three turnovers, including an interception by Antonio Cromartie, but Cromartie and rookie cornerback Kyle Wilson were flagged for numerous penalties which extended Baltimore drives. Mark Sanchez had an opportunity to lead a game-winning drive, but Dustin Keller inexplicably ran out of bounds short of the marker after catching a 4th down pass.

(awards and more after the jump)

Awards:

Offense of the Week: New England Patriots

The New England offense showed its versatility and Brady distributed the ball well, completing 25 of 35 passes for 258 yards and three TDs. The three tight ends especially had great games, and Wes Welker was the exact player we remember in his miraculous return from injury. The running game, lead by Fred Taylor (14 carries for 74 yards) also provided a nice compliment.

Defense of the Week: Miami Dolphins

Miami did not force as many turnovers as the Jets, but they limited the Bills to just 166 total yards on offense and only 50 yards on the ground. The true strength of this unit should be revealed next week when they face Adrian Peterson and the Vikings, but this was a convincing performance.

Special Teams Unit of the Week: New England Patriots

Brandon Tate’s 97-yard kickoff return to start the second half was a joy to watch. He thoroughly embarrassed Bengals kicker Mike Nugent, leaving him sprawled in his dust. Tate also outran two Bengals who were in pursuit showing his tremendous speed. The Patriots also got down the field quickly to cover kicks, and looked sharp as a unit.

Offensive Player of the Week: (tie) Wes Welker/Tom Brady, Patriots

Brady was given plenty of time to throw and really spread the ball around, hitting 4 different receivers for gains of over 20 yards. Welker’s performance (8 catches, 64 yards and 2 TDs) was crucial, and his second TD grab was a very tough catch. I think we can stop talking about Wes being injured. He’s good to go.

Defensive Player of the Week: Patrick Chung, Patriots

Credit goes to Sione Pouha of the Jets for showing quick thinking and reflexes for his two fumble recoveries, but what a difference a year makes for Patrick Chung. Every time he tackled the ballcarrier (which he did a total of 16 times) he both hit him hard and wrapped him up – an excellent combination. The Patriots rotated their safeties, as Chung, James Sanders and Brandon Meriweather all played extensively, but Chung seems to be the total package. He has Meriweather’s speed, Sanders’ sure-tackling ability, and his own brand of competitive fire. The Patriots may have found their replacement for Rodney Harrison.

Special Teams Player of the Week: Brandon Tate, Patriots

I wonder if Tate will try that little jump move at the start of all his kickoff runs now?

Coach of the Week: Entire Patriots Staff

Credit for this award goes to all the Patriots coaches as they managed to confuse and frustrate Cincinnati in all three phases of the game. The play-calling was good for the most part although the defense seemed to ease up a little in the second half. Nonetheless it was a standout performance all around.

Goat of the Week: (tie) Dustin Keller/Mark Sanchez, Jets

Keller went out of bounds on fourth down a yard short of the marker without any pressure from the Ravens, killing off the Jet’s chances of a game-winning drive. It seemed he was confused because the person holding the marker moved out of the way. Regardless, he should have had the presence of mind to get the necessary yardage.

Mark Sanchez had an awful day throwing the ball against a depleted Baltimore secondary that was missing safety Ed Reed, among others. "Sanchise" finished a horrendous 10 of 21 for 74 yards with no TDs. His defense kept him in the game and he managed to not commit any turnovers, but an NFL quarterback needs to do a lot more to earn his keep.

 

Injury Watch:

Jets nose tackle Kris Jenkins re-injured his knee and may be out for the season again. Bills linebacker Paul Posluszny injured his knee, but should only be out for a few weeks. Miami rookie defensive lineman Jared Odrick left the game with a foot injury, but it is not yet known if he will miss any time.

 

Standings:

  1. Miami Dolphins 1-0 (1-0 in division)
  2. New England Patriots 1-0 (0-0 in division)
  3. New York Jets 0-1 (0-0 in division)
  4. Buffalo Bills 0-1 (0-1 in division)

 

Week 2 Preview:

Patriots @ Jets

Can the Jets stop getting penalties? Will Moss finally get the best of Revis? Can Mark Sanchez keep his turnover-free streak alive? All shall be revealed….

Dolphins @ Vikings

If the Dolphins win this game they must be taken seriously this season. Prepare for a heavy dose of AP.

Bills @ Packers

The Packers were not too convincing beating the Eagles, and running back Ryan Grant is out. We will see if the Bills secondary is as good as it was last year.

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