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AFC East Report: Week 11; Dolphins edge out Rams, Bills bounce back

Let’s take a look at this week’s divisional happenings.

The New England Patriots bounced back from their week 10 loss by beating the San Francisco 49ers 30-17 on the road. The team was therefore able to keep a three-game lead in the division despite the Miami Dolphins winning their fifth straight contest.

Let’s take a look at their game – and the Buffalo Bills’ as well – in this week’s AFC East report:

2. Miami Dolphins (6-4)

Week 11: win (14-10 against the Los Angeles Rams, in Los Angeles CA)

While the Dolphins entered the game against the Los Angeles Rams riding a four-game win streak, the biggest story of the day was the debut of number one overall draft pick Jared Goff (17/31, 134 yds) as the Rams’ starting quarterback. Goff’s first series was a short one, as Miami’s defense was able to force a three-and-out on the game’s opening drive. In a sign of things to come, the Dolphins’ offense did not fare any better.

Los Angeles eventually took a 7-0 lead on its next series, which the Dolphins answered with another three-and-out. Overall, both offenses struggled in a sloppy and defensively dominated first half, which saw more punts (11) than first downs earned (9). And the second half did not start any better for the two offenses.

After Miami’s unit went three-and-out yet again, Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso forced and recovered a fumble in Rams territory two plays after the punt. However, on the very next play, Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (24/34, 172 yds, 2 TDs, 1 INT) threw an interception in Los Angeles’ end zone. While the Rams were unable to take advantage of the turnover, they did score a field goal later in the third quarter to take a 10-0 lead heading into the final period. The fourth quarter did not start any better for the two offenses but Miami’s finally found some rhythm after a missed Rams field goal attempt.

With 6:40 left in the game, the unit went on an eight-play, 77-yard drive capped by a touchdown pass from Tannehill to Jarvis Landry (5/28 yds, 1 TD). After the Dolphins defense forced a quick three-and-out Tannehill and the offense went on another long drive; this one seven plays and 75-yards and ending with a touchdown pass to DeVante Parker (8/79 yds, 1 TD). Despite starting in decent field position, Goff and the Rams offense could not fight back with a mere :29 seconds left in the game.

For the first 3.5 quarters, the Dolphins were kept in the game by their defense, which gave up only 227 yards and 12 first downs, while stopping the Rams on 11 of 13 third downs. Miami’s offense did not look any better – collecting 240 yards, 17 first downs while converting only one third down on 11 attempts – until it had to. In the end, the offense made the plays when they needed to be made. Thanks to their victory over the Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Dolphins now own the AFC’s longest win streak.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

3. Buffalo Bills (5-5)

Week 11: win (16-12 against the Cincinnati Bengals, in Cincinnati OH)

Coming off their bye week, the Bills were able to snap their three-game losing streak on the road in Cincinnati. On the first series of the game – which saw the Bengals lose Pro Bowl wideout A.J. Green to a hamstring injury –, Buffalo’s defense forced a three-and-out. The offense was also able to start the game well, driving 75 yards in eight plays to take a 7-0 lead on a LeSean McCoy (5/33 yds, 1 TD) touchdown run.

The Bengals answered with a touchdown of their own, though, making it a one-point game after the extra point sailed wide right. Early in the second quarter, the home team was driving to take the lead but Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore intercepted Andy Dalton (24/43, 207 yds, 1 TD, 2 INTs) and returned the pick to the Bengals’ 3-yard line. However, the offense could not convert the field position into a touchdown and instead had to kick a field goal.

Cincinnati was able to finally take the lead on the subsequent possession but missed another extra point attempt. With more than 3:00 left in the half, Buffalo tried to get on top again but Tyrod Taylor (19/27, 166 yds, 1 INT) was picked off on the Bengals’ 1-yard line. Gilmore then registered his second interception of the day and the teams headed into the locker rooms with Cincinnati up by two points.

On the first drive of the second half, Buffalo was able to re-take the lead due to a 54-yard Dan Carpenter (3/3) field goal. The teams went on to exchange punts for the rest of the quarter before Carpenter hit another field goal early in the fourth period to give the Bills a 16-12 lead. While the offense failed to add to Buffalo’s point total, the defense did not allow the home team to score again, sealing the team’s fifth victory of the season.

The Bills did not play a perfect game against the Bengals but were able to do one thing, Cincinnati failed to do: limit mistakes. While Buffalo turned the ball over only once, the Bengals did so twice while adding two missed extra points. Overall, it was a solid outing by Buffalo, which was able to return to .500 before heading back home to take on the 2-8 Jacksonville Jaguars.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

4. New York Jets (3-7)

Week 11: bye week