AFC East Review: Week 2

EAST RUTHERFORD NJ - SEPTEMBER 19: Tom Brady loses the ball after being sacked against the New York Jets. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Week 2 Games:

Jets defeat Patriots 28-14

The Jets rebounded from a dismal offensive showing last week with a superb second half as they rallied in front of a home crowd to beat New England. New York intercepted Tom Brady twice and recovered a sack-fumble. They outscored the Patriots 18-0 in the second half as Mark Sanchez completed passes at will against the Patriots secondary. Darius Butler had a day to forget as he was frequently targeted and unable to prevent key completions. Even with the Jets star cornerback Darrelle Revis sidelined, Brady struggled in the second half, often trying to force the ball to a covered Randy Moss. The Jets outplayed and outcoached New England, backing up some of their preseason talk with an important victory in the division.

 

Dolphins defeat Vikings 14-10

Miami forced four turnovers out of Brett Favre, including a fumble recovery in the end zone by rookie Koa Misi, as their defense overpowered Minnesota. Vontae Davis and Jason Allen each had interceptions in the red zone, and Allen finished with two picks on the night. Adrian Peterson was his usual self, totaling 145 yards and a TD on 22 carries, but Miami stopped him when it mattered most on a crucial fourth-and-goal run late in the fourth quarter. The Vikings defense played well, recovering fumbles from both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, while holding Chad Henne to just 9 of 15 for 114 yards and a touchdown. The Dolphins had only two accepted penalties for 15 yards. They won a physical contest on the road, and proved themselves to be serious contenders in the AFC East.

 

Packers defeat Bills 34-7

The Packers stomped Buffalo, sacking Trent Edwards four times (three by linebacker Clay Matthews) and intercepting him twice. Edwards finished with just 102 yards passing and an average of 2.8 yards per pass play (including sacks). Aaron Rodgers threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third. Tight end Jermichael Finley had four receptions for 103 yards in a game that Green Bay never trailed. Buffalo had two forced fumbles and played well against the run, but failed to record a single sack.

 

Awards and more after the jump....

 

 

Awards:

Offense of the Week: New York Jets

Mark Sanchez and Dustin Keller redeemed themselves against the Patriots. Sanchez was 21 of 30 for 220 yards and three TDs, while Keller pulled in 7 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown. Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery each caught passes for touchdowns, and Edwards particularly had a strong performance, although he picked up a needless penalty for taunting after his TD. LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 76 yards on 11 carries, and Shonn Greene hung onto the football during his 15 carries for 52 yards. Overall the Jets offense produced a strong bounce-back performance after a dismal showing in Baltimore last week.

 

Defense of the Week: Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins scoop this award for the second straight week as they embarrassed Brett Favre and the Vikings. Although they were unable to prevent a big game from Peterson, they tightened up in the red zone, and came through in the clutch with a goalline stop and two red zone interceptions. It surprises me how well Miami is playing despite losing Jason Taylor, Joey Porter and Jason Ferguson during the offseason. They will have to step up again this week if their offense continues to struggle against the Jets.

 

Special Teams Unit of the Week: Miami Dolphins

Miami held the Vikings to just 14 yards on 3 punt returns in a week where no special teams performance particularly stood out.

 

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

Sanchez threw for three TDs, and looked much more confident at home. Keller had a number of good receiving plays over the middle as the Patriots struggled to cover him.

A special nod goes to Randy Moss for one of the most spectacular one-handed catches ever.

 

Defensive Player of the Week: Jason Allen, Dolphins

Allen had two interceptions, including one on his own 2-yard line. He added 11 tackles (7 solo).

 

Special Teams Player of the Week: Nick Folk, Jets

Folk kicked two field goals including an important 49-yarder at the end of the first half to help the Jets recover from the breathtaking Moss TD catch to end the Patriots previous drive.

 

Coach of the Week: Rex Ryan, Jets

Ryan rallied his team in the locker room and New York held the Patriots scoreless in the second half without the help of Revis. His willingness to let Sanchez throw the ball and constant double-coverage of Randy Moss were wise decisions. This was a big win for Rex and the Jets.

 

Goat of the Week: Darius Butler, Patriots

Butler committed two pass-interference penalties, and gave up numerous completions. He seemed unable to cover Braylon Edwards, as the receiver outmuscled, outjumped and outmaneuvered the second-year cornerback. Without Leigh Bodden this season, the Patriots need to figure out how they will cover big receivers. Butler has the speed and quickness to stay with anybody, but needs to track the ball better and improve his focus and timing. As a cornerback in the NFL you are going to face a big receiver almost every week, and if you can’t find a way to stop them you won’t be around for long.

 

Injury Watch:

Patriots running back Kevin Faulk was lost for the season with a torn ACL. Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis will miss at least the next game with a hamstring injury. Jets linebacker Jason Taylor injured his elbow on Sunday, but is listed as probable for Week 3. Jets linebacker Calvin Pace will sit as he continues to recover from a broken foot. Bills linebacker Paul Posluszny is out this week with a knee injury.

 

Standings:

1. Miami Dolphins 2-0 (1-0 in division)

2. New York Jets 1-1 (1-0 in division)

3. New England Patriots 1-1 (0-1 in division)

4. Buffalo Bills 0-2 (0-1 in division)

 

Week 3 Preview:

Bills @ Patriots

The Bills will be looking to deliver a knock-out blow to a Patriots team reeling from their loss in New York, and snap a 13-game losing streak against New England. Bill Belichick will be eager to prove his team is better than their second-half efforts this season suggest. Brady had an especially bad game last week, and will need to re-establish his rhythm and spread the ball around, while learning to adjust to life without Kevin Faulk.

 

Jets @ Dolphins

This Sunday night match-up will feature two strong defenses and two inconsistent young quarterbacks. Miami will look to defend their perch on top of the division as they continue a particularly tough first half of their schedule (Jets, Patriots, bye, @Packers, Steelers, @Bengals, @Ravens). Should they win, they will have some serious momentum and a long week to prepare for the Patriots in another prime time game the following Monday night. A win for the Jets would put them on top of the division with a 2-0 record in the AFC East. Needless to say, Patriots fans should pay close attention to the outcome.

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