Miami Dolphins (7-5, t-2nd AFC East)
Week 13: win (16-13 against the New York Jets, in New York)
The Dolphins had a hard time against the New York Jets on Monday Night Football, but were able to come away with the win thanks to a Caleb Sturgis (3/4) field goal with two minutes left in the game. Up to that point, the Dolphins struggled on both sides of the ball. The offense, which only gained a total of 291 net yards, had troubles getting into a rhythm and sustaining drives, as evidenced by Miami's 5/13 (38%) performance on 3rd down. For the first three quarters in particular, the Ryan Tannehill-led (25/35, 235 yds, 1 INT) unit struggled, scoring only 6 points, while going 3-and-out thrice and turning the ball over once (Tannehill's interception). Yet, they were able to tie the game with a 4-yard Lamar Miller touchdown-run in the fourth quarter. The Dolphins were able to stay in the game the entire time, even though they struggled on offense and gave up 326 yards on defense. A staggering 277 of those yards came on the ground (5.7/attempt). But why were the Dolphins able to come away with the win? Mostly because of the Jets, who were unable to take advantage of Miami's sub-par performance. New York couldn't make the plays when it mattered, the Dolphins could -- as evidenced by Miller's touchdown run and the game-sealing Reshad Jones interception. Due to the win, Miami now holds the 6th seed in the AFC.
Game highlights can be found here.
Buffalo Bills (7-5, t-2nd AFC East)
Week 13: win (26-10 against the Cleveland Browns, in Buffalo)
For two and a half quarters, the Bills' week 13 game against the visting Cleveland Browns was a close defensive battle. Buffalo's first seven offensive drives ended with four punts, two Kyle Orton (17/31, 190 yds, 1 TD, 2 INTs) interceptions and a blocked Dan Carpenter (4/5) field goal. Two consecutive third-quarter-plays, however, changed the complexity of the game. The Bills took a 7-3 lead when Orton found Chris Hogan for a 3-yard scoring pass. On the Browns' very next offensive play, Bills' defensive end Jerry Hughes forced, recovered and returned a fumble for a touchdown, putting the Bills ahead 14-3. The Bills would never look back and went on to score four fieldgoals in the fourth quarter to seal the win. The story of the day was Buffalo's defense, which forced three turnovers (Hughes' fumble recovery and two Da'Norris Searcy interceptions), allowed only 315 yards, and held the Browns to a 25% 3rd down conversion-rate. Most importantly, the unit made up for the offense's rather poor performance. The Bills had a hard time against a stout Browns' defense, gaining only 287 total net yards, converting a mere two of 15 3rd down attempts (13%), while giving the ball away twice. Furthermore, of Buffalo's five trips into the red zone, only one ended with a touchdown. In the end, the Bills' offense did enough to win. However, the unit can't always bank on getting bailed out by the defense.
Game highlights can be found here.
New York Jets (2-10, 4th AFC East)
Week 13: loss (13-16 against the Miami Dolphins, in New York).
The Jets' second consecutive Monday game turned out to be a more competitive event than last week's game against the Buffalo Bills. The result, however, was the same, even though Rex Ryan's team had some success against the Dolphins on both sides of the ball. The defense limited its opponent to only 16 points and 291 total net yards, while coming up with one takeaway (a Darrin Walls interception). The run offense was efficient as well, amassing 277 yards on 49 attempts (5.7/attempt), led by Chris Johnson's 105-yard effort. Eight different players carried the ball at least once, and wide receiver Greg Salas scored the Jets' only touchdown on a 20-yard reverse in the first quarter. While the Jets had success on the ground, they once again struggled in the passing game, gaining only 49 total net yards. Quarterback Geno Smith (7/13, 65 yds, 1 INT) was not asked to do much more than hand the ball off, but he struggled when his number was called; for example when he threw an interception with 39 seconds left on the game clock. Interestingly enough, the Jets never really tried to take advantage of the running game's performance, in the form of play action passes. The passing game was not the only issue for the Jets, though, as kicker Nick Folk (2/4) missed two field goals -- the second one in the fourth quarter, when the game was tied at 13. New York definitely had its chances to win the game, but left a few too many plays on the field.