AFC East Review: Week 3

FOXBORO MA - SEPTEMBER 26: Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Week 3 Games:

Patriots defeat Bills 38-30

New England got a late interception from Brandon Meriweather to seal the win in this high-scoring game. Tom Brady was back to his usual self, completing 21 of 27 passes for 252 yards and three TDs. Randy Moss caught two TDs and rookie Aaron Hernandez had a big game, leading the team with 6 receptions for 65 yards. C.J. Spiller helped the Bills stick around with a 95-yard kickoff return for a TD in the third quarter. Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick also played well, frequently completing passes against a Patriots secondary that featured Kyle Arrington starting at cornerback in place of Darius Butler. Fitzpatrick finished 20 of 28 for 247 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw two interceptions at critical moments in the game. The Patriots played well in the second half for the first time this year, and recorded a nice bounce-back victory. They have a long week to prepare to face the Dolphins in Miami on Monday night.

Jets defeat Dolphins 31-23

New York was able to move into first place in the AFC East with their second straight win over a division rival. Mark Sanchez had another good game, tossing three TDs and no interceptions. Dustin Keller was instrumental again as he tallied 98 yards to go with two touchdown receptions. Braylon Edwards was benched for the first quarter as punishment for a mid-week DUI arrest, but ended up making a big play, taking a Sanchez pass 67 yards for the score after Dolphins cornerback Jason Allen fell trying to prevent the completion. The Jets put up 31 points on a Miami defense that had held each of its previous opponents to 10. Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne threw 44 passes, completing 26 of them for 363 yards and two TDs, but also had an interception in the end zone on his last pass – a 4th down throw from the Jets’ 5-yard line to possibly tie the game. A win would have put Miami at 3-0 and in the AFC East drivers seat, but instead they join the Patriots and Jets at 2-1.

Awards and more after the jump....

 

Awards:

Offense of the Week: New England Patriots

Tom Brady completed passes to seven different receivers. Five of those receivers had gains of over 20-yards. Eight different Patriots carried the ball, including tight end Aaron Hernandez, receivers Julian Edelman and Brandon Tate, and the newly acquired Danny Woodhead, who had a key 22-yard scamper for a score. BenJarvus Green-Ellis had a nice game as he rushed 16 times for 98 yards and a fourth-quarter TD. Moss pulled in two TDs - his only catches, and Rob Gronkowski added another one on a five-yard pass from Brady.

The Jets could easily have taken this award as they put up 31 points against a better defense, however they had a number of needless penalties on their offensive line. I also felt the Patriots overall performance was excellent, and very much a team effort.

Defense of the Week: New York Jets

Jason Taylor had an early sack against his former team, and the Jets defense played well despite giving up 363 yards through the air to Chad Henne. Gang Green held the Dolphins running backs Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown to a combined 82 yards on 18 carries, and forced two fumbles from Williams (one was overturned). The Jets had two sacks and an interception by Drew Coleman in the end zone on the Dolphins’ final drive to seal the win. Miami’s 23 points was the least scored by an AFC East team in Week 3, in contrast to last week when only one scored more than 14.

Special Teams Unit of the Week: Buffalo Bills

Rookie C. J. Spiller had a 95-yard kickoff return TD where he received a number of key blocks before turning on the jets and taking it all the way. Spiller had some other quality returns, and the Bills generally started their drives in decent field position (partially due to poor punting from Patriots rookie Zoltan Mesko). Kicker Ryan Lindell added three field goals, two from 39 yards out and one from 34.

Offensive Player of the Week: Brandon Marshall, Dolphins

Dustin Keller, Chad Henne, Mark Sanchez and Tom Brady all had strong performances, but Marshall had a monster game in a losing effort. He routinely shook off tackles and gained important yards after the catch, racking up 10 receptions for 166 yards and a TD.

Defensive Player of the Week: Patrick Chung, Patriots

Chung takes this award for the second time in three weeks. He led the Patriots in tackles with seven, and intercepted a pass in the end zone. Chung decided to try and return the pick, and was able to take it to the 25. "Mini Missile" Chung may not be big, but he hits you hard while making sure he secures the tackle. I’d like to see this guy terrorize the quarterback on some more blitzes up the middle. Right now he looks like a safety that can do it all.

Special Teams Player of the Week: C. J. Spiller, Bills

Spiller’s kickoff return for a TD was the special teams highlight of the week. Additional nods go to Jets safety Brodney Pool for his blocked field goal against Miami, and to Dolphins safety Yeremiah Bell for his blocked punt to end the first half.

Coach of the Week: Rex Ryan, Jets

Ryan found a way to score against a previously stingy Miami defense. He rode the hot hand of LaDanian Tomlinson over Shonn Greene, and allowed Sanchez to get comfortable, step up and make some throws The Jets were able to overcome big performances from Henne and Marshall by getting some clutch turnovers. It was a big win for New York, especially given the pressure of the DUI incident during the week and being light at the receiver position due to the loss of Edwards for the first quarter.

Goat of the Week: Mike Tannenbaum, Jets

The Jets General Manager claimed Sunday on Ian O'Connor’s 1050 ESPN Radio show that the benching of Edwards for a quarter was "not for the arrest as much as going out and being out until 5 in the morning." This means had Edwards been arrested for a DUI at 5am after going to bed early, waking up, pounding three shots and going for a drive there would have been no punishment? If the lateness of the evening is the issue then what about Vernon Gholston and D'Brickashaw Ferguson who were also in the car? Are we really meant to believe that staying up late is a worse concern than being a potentially deadly danger to others on the road?

Injury Watch:

Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis is likely out again this week, but linebacker Calvin Pace may return against Buffalo. New England right tackle Sebastian Vollmer appeared to injure his leg during the Bills game but was later able to return.

Standings:

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

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

3. New England Patriots 2-1 (1-1 in division)

4. Buffalo Bills 0-3 (0-2 in division)

Week 4 Preview:

Patriots @ Dolphins

The Patriots often struggle in Miami, and this will be an important game for both teams. The Patriots cannot let Brandon Marshall torch their secondary, but who can cover him? Miami’s defense will look to get back on track against the highest-scoring offense in the league so far. Both teams have a bye in Week 5, so the loser will have a long time to stew over what went wrong.

Jets @ Bills

The Bills only lost to the Patriots by 8, and to Miami by 5, so this will not be a cakewalk for the Jets. There is also the over-confidence factor to watch out for after defeating both main division rivals. New York’s secondary has been beatable, and Ryan Fitzpatrick is a definite step up from Trent Edwards, who was recently released. A win for the Jets would push them to 3-0 in the division, and they would have a two game advantage over either Miami or New England.

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