Miami Dolphins (6-5, t-2nd AFC East)
Week 12: loss (36-39 against the Denver Broncos, in Denver)
The Dolphins came close to improving to 7-4, as the team entered the 4th quarter of its game against the Broncos with an 11 point lead. In the end, however, Miami gave up three touchdowns in the final period to come up short. The defense, which was able to slow Denver's prolific attack down at times, seemed to run out of gas in the last 15 minutes; giving up 22 points. Overall, the unit ended up surrendering 39 points and 450 total net yards. It had issues against the pass and the run, as the Broncos were able to rush for 201 yards (5.7 yds/att) and one touchdown, while scoring four times through the air. Furthermore, Miami's defense allowed 9 of 13 3rd down attempts to be converted (69%) and failed to put consistant pressure on its opponent (one sack by Jelani Jenkins). Miami's offense fared a little better, even though it only gained 313 total net yards. Led by Ryan Tannehill (26/36, 228 yds, 3 TDs, 1 INT), the unit was able to convert all 5 of its red zone trips, as well as 50% of its 3rd down attempts (4/8). Tannehill, who threw touchdown passes to Mike Wallace (4/35 yds, TD) and Jarvis Landry (7/50 yds, 2 TDs) was able to spread the ball around, hitting nine different targets. Unfortunately, one of those targets was a Broncos' defensive back, which set up Denver's third touchdown of the 4th quarter. Because the Dolphins were unable to close the door or take advantage of Denver's miscues (missed a field goal; lost a fumble, recovered by Miami's long snapper John Denney), their chances of entering the playoffs took a significant hit in week 12.
Game highlights can be found here.
Buffalo Bills (6-5, t-2nd AFC East)
Week 12: win (38-3 against the New York Jets, in Detroit -- counted as a Bills' home game)
The Buffalo Bills find themselves back in a tie for the 2nd place in the AFC East after beating the New York Jets 38-3 in Detroit. For the Bills, it was a complete team victory; all three units played an important part in the rout. The offense, even though not overly spectacular from a statistics-perspective (336 total net yards), was efficient and did not commit major mistakes throughout the game. The Kyle Orton-led (24/32, 230 yds, 2 TDs) unit looked especially sharp in the red zone, as it was able to convert all three of its trips into touchdowns: one scoring pass apiece to Robert Woods (9/118 yds, TD) and Scott Chandler (3/28 yds, TD), and one Fred Jackson (10/32 yds, TD) run. The fourth offensive score was a 30-yard run by Anthony Dixon (12/54 yds, TD), who also blocked a Jets' punt that was recovered for a touchdown by Manny Lawson. Buffalo's defense was the only unit not to score. It was still a very successful day, as it did only allow 3 points, while limiting the Jets to only 218 offensive net yards and a 20% 3rd down conversion rate. The Bills' pass defense in particular was firing on all cylinders, recording 7 sacks (2.0 apiece by Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes) and an interception by Duke Williams, all while limiting the Jets' quarterbacks to 126 net passing yards. Add it all up, and the Bills find themselves above .500 again.
Game highlights can be found here.
New York Jets (2-9, 4th AFC East)
Week 12: loss (3-38 against the Buffalo Bills, in Detroit -- counted as a Jets' road game).
After getting blown out 38-3 against the Bills, it is official that the New York Jets will finish the 2014 season with a losing record. Gang Green, coming off its bye week, had issues in all three phases of the game and was unable to create any sort of momentum. The defense gave up 336 total net yards, allowed 4 touchdowns (2 through the air, 2 on the ground) and could not get off the field on 3rd down often enough, allowing the Bills to convert 7 of 13 attempts. Furthermore, it was unable to create any consistant pressure and came up with just one sack (split by Quinton Coples and Leger Douzable). Special teams play was equally discouraging: the unit gave up a touchdown after a Ryan Quigley punt was blocked in the 3rd quarter. The major on-field problems, though, seem to stem from the offense, which scored only 3 points while gaining a mere 218 total net yards. While the running game found some success (4.8 yds/carry), the passing game was atrocious. Michael Vick (7/19, 76 yds, INT), Geno Smith (10/12, 89 yds) and company were unable to get anything going against a very good Bills' defense, which sacked the Jets' quarterbacks 7 times. On average, the team did only gain 3.3 yards per pass play. With the loss, the Jets will finish the season in last place in the division.