Miami Dolphins (7-6, t-2nd AFC East)
Week 14: loss (13-28 against the Baltimore Ravens, in Miami)
The Dolphins took a step back in the AFC playoff race after losing their week 14 match up against the visiting Baltimore Ravens. The game actually started well for the home team, and the Dolphins were able to jump to a 10-0 first quarter lead after Ryan Tannehill (23/33, 227 yds, 1 TD) found Brian Hartline (2/11 yds, 1 TD) for a 3-yard touchdown. It would, however, remain the only time the Dolphins were able to find the endzone, as the team was unable to keep its momentum. The offense in particular began to struggle after the first 15 minutes: Miami was shut out in the second and third quarters, and only gained 249 yards on the day. An inability to sustain drives (going 4/12 on 3rd down) and bad offensive line play (allowing six sacks and two tackles for loss) were the two major reasons for the offensive woes. The defense, which was stout for most of the first half, also had its issues. The unit gave up 447 total net yards and allowed the Ravens to convert four of five red zone trips into touchdowns. Furthermore, the Dolphins allowed their opponent to run for 183 yards (5.9/att). The defense did come up with the only turnover of the game (a R.J. Stanford interception), but it was too little to overcome bad line play on both sides of the ball. Thus, the Dolphins' chances of reaching the playoffs look bleak.
Game highlights can be found here.
Buffalo Bills (7-6, t-2nd AFC East)
Week 14: loss (17-24 against the Denver Broncos, in Denver)
By now, the story of the 2014 Buffalo Bills is well known: they only go as far, as their offense allows them to. This was on full display in Denver, where Buffalo's offensive ineptitude once again reared its head. Statistically, the Bills outgained the Broncos in most categories: they gained more total net yards (415-306), were more efficient on 3rd down (56%-40%) and held the ball longer (33:29-26:31). Still, Buffalo was unable to put pressure -- in the form of points -- on its opponent, as the Bills only scored one Dan Carpenter (1/1) field goal in the first three quarters. Buffalo's offense was inconsistent throughout the day. Rookie Sammy Watkins (7/127 yds) lost a fumble on the Bills' first drive, and quarterback Kyle Orton (38/57, 355 yds, 1 TD, 2 INTs) threw two interceptions. Mistakes like turnovers, sacks (four allowed) and a failed 4th-down-attempt in the first quarter were the major reason the Bills couldn't capitalize on a very solid defensive performance. Led by Corey Graham, who had an interception and a fumble recovery, Buffalo's defense was able to keep the Broncos' vaunted passing attack mostly in check; allowing only 173 yards through the air, while coming up with three takeaways (Stephon Gilmore also had an interception). The Bills had some issues against the run, however, allowing 133 yards and three touchdowns. In the end, the Bills just didn't do enough to leave Denver with a win.
Game highlights can be found here.
New York Jets (2-11, 4th AFC East)
Week 14: loss (24-30 in overtime against the Minnesota Vikings, in Minneapolis).
On the first offensive play of the day, Geno Smith (18/29, 254 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT) threw a pick-six, putting his team in a hole early on. The Jets and their quarterback would bounce back, though, as Smith hit former Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin (6/124 yds, 1 TD) for a 35-yard touchdown later in the first quarter. The Jets' offense had one of its statistically best outings of this season, gaining 410 total net yards (242 through the air, 168 on the ground), while holding the ball for almost 36 minutes. However, the Jets also turned the ball over twice (Smith's interception and a Chris Ivory fumble near the Vikings' goal line) and went 0-for-5 in the red zone. Therefore, kicker Nick Folk (5/5) saw plenty of action, scoring 15 of the Jets' 24 points. The Jets' defense also scored, as defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson came up with an end zone sack for a safety (one of Richardson's three sacks). Furthermore, the defense came up with two takeaways (a Darrin Walls interception and a T.J. Graham fumble recovery). The unit was far from perfect, though: it did give up 411 total net yards and allowed two long touchdown passes, one of 56 and one of 87 yards. The latter ended the game on Minnesota's first overtime possession, after the Jets were unable to take advantage of receiving the initial kickoff of the extra period.