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AFC East Report: Week 4

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The first quarter of the season is over. Time to take a look at the Patriots’ division after four games.

Time flies. The first quarter of the 2016 season is already over and we can do some early analysis already. The Cardinals have not been as good as many thought they’d be. The Broncos do just fine with Trevor Simian (and Paxton Lynch) at quarterback. The AFC South is the worst division in football.

Also: the New England Patriots are the favorites to win their division for eighth straight year. Despite having missed the best quarterback in football the first month and just coming off an ugly 16-0 loss at the hands of the division rival Bills, the Patriots still lead the division and are in the driver’s seat for yet another AFC East title.

That being said, here is this week’s edition of the AFC East report.

2. Buffalo Bills (2-2)

Week 4: win (16-0 against the New England Patriots, in Foxboro MA)

Pats Pulpit is already in the process of analyzing this game.

To watch highlights of the game, click here (but do yourself a favor and don’t watch them).

t-3. Miami Dolphins (1-3)

Week 4: loss (22-7 against the Cincinnati Bengals, in Cincinnati OH)

After winning their first game of the season last week, the Dolphins were back on the losing side on Thursday, courtesy of a 22-7 loss at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals. Despite the end result, the game actually started relatively well for the visitors. After holding Cincinnati to a field goal on the opening drive, a 74-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill (15/25, 185 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT) to Kenny Stills (1/74 yds, 1 TD) gave Miami a 7-3 lead.

It was the high-point for the Dolphins as the lead would hold just six minutes before the Bengals re-took it. While neither team played efficient offensive football, Cincinnati was able to add two more field goals – one off a Tannehill fumble – in the first half to take a 16-7 lead. Quarters three and four were more of the same: Miami struggled to move the ball, while the Bengals slowly and steadily widened the gap by taking advantage of the Dolphins’ miscues and adding two more field goals.

Overall, it was a bad day for Miami – especially on offense. The unit gained a mere eight first downs and 222 yards, while turning the ball over twice, giving up five sacks and converting only 2 of 11 on 3rd down attempts. The inability to keep drives alive as well as the self-inflicted wounds ultimately led to a 22-38 deficit in time of possession and only four snaps in Cincinnati territory.

While the offense struggled once again, the defense was a little better – at least on 3rd down (3 of 15) and against the run (2.1 yds/rush). However, the Dolphins could not consistently stop the Bengals’ passing attack. Quarterback Andy Dalton (22/31, 296 yds, 1 TD) completed 71% of his passes; most of which to wideout A.J. Green (10/173 yds, 1 TD) for whom the Dolphins had no answer. And just like that, the team slides to 1-3 on the season.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

t-3. New York Jets (1-3)

Week 4: loss (27-17 against the Seattle Seahawks, in Seattle WA)

On the opening possession of their week 4 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks, the New York Jets drove 62 yards in 14 plays before kicking a field goal to take a 3-0 lead. It was a sign of things to come – at least in the first half – as New York was able to keep the game close by moving the ball fairly well against a talented Seattle defense. While the Seahawks were able to score two touchdowns in the second quarter, Ryan Fitzpatrick (23/41, 261 yds, 1 TD, 3 INTs) and Brandon Marshall (4/89 yds, 1 TD) connected for a score with :17 left in the first half to narrow the deficit to four points.

However, a possible momentum-swing did not carry over into the second half and New York found itself down 17-10 entering the fourth quarter. Just as has been the case last week, a comeback attempt stalled because of Fitzpatrick throwing untimely interceptions. The first led to a touchdown four plays later, the second to a field goal, and the third iced the game. In the meantime a fumble by the Jets’ quarterback was recovered by wide receiver Charone Peake (3/30 yds.) and taken to the endzone for New York’s lone score in the second half.

Statistically, the Jets and Seahawks were equals for most of the day. New York gained 305 yards of offense, Seattle 354. New York had 20 first downs, Seattle 21. New York held the ball for 29:15, Seattle for 30:45. Neither team was able to run the ball effectively; both had seven penalties. The major difference, therefore, is easy to spot: turnovers. While the Seahawks did not turn the ball over, the Jets had three giveaways leading to 10 points.

As has been the case last week against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Jets were down late in the game and had to turn to their passing game to dig them out of their hole. And, just like last week, the Jets – particularly Ryan Fitzpatrick – could not deliver. As a result, New York falls to 1-3.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.