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AFC East Report: Week 5 brings three-way tie atop the division

The Patriots are tied with the Bills and Jets – and even the Dolphins are not far behind.

NFL: New York Jets at Cleveland Browns Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday, the New England Patriots kicked off week five of the NFL 2017 regular season with a hard-fought 19-14 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Because of the win, the defending world champions improved their record to 3-2 and now find themselves in a three-way tie for the best record in the AFC East.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves, though. Here's this week's installment of the AFC East Report.

1. Buffalo Bills (3-2)

Week 5: loss (20-16 against the Cincinnati Bengals, in Cincinnati OH)

The AFC East-leading Bills suffered their second loss of the season in week five. Despite winning the turnover battle rather decisively (3 to 1), Sean McDermott's team was once more unable to overcome its offensive struggles: The unit gave up six sacks and gained a mere 3.3 yards per play – compared to 6.1 by the Bengals. As a result, it had a hard time getting into a consistent rhythm and as a result on the scoreboard.

After exchanging three-and-outs to open the game, the home team took a 7-0 lead after Buffalo's defense surrendered a 77-yard passing touchdown. It took the Bills two drives to adequately answer as a Steven Hauschka (3/3) field goal cut the team's deficit to four points. The Bengals answered with a field goal of their own and while the Bills' offense was forced to punt on their next series, the defense gave them the football back quickly.

An interception by Micah Hyde set up Buffalo at the Cincinnati 23-yard line. Six plays later, the game was tied thanks to a touchdown pass from Tyrod Taylor (20/37, 166 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT) to Brandon Tate (2/25 yds, 1 TD). The Bills were in a position to break the 10-10 tie early in the third quarter: The defense's second interception of the day – this time by Jordan Poyer – gave Buffalo the football on the opponent's 36. However, the offense only marched backwards and had to punt.

Poyer registered another takeaway on the next series – a forced fumble and recovery – and this time, the Bills made it count: Buffalo marched 51 yards in nine plays to set up Hauschka's second field goal of the day. The lead did not last long, though, as a Bengals touchdown put the home team up 17-13. The Bills responded with another field goal before watching Cincinnati take a 20-16 lead.

With 3:33 left on the game clock, Buffalo was in a position to drive for the game-winning touchdown. However, the offense failed to do that as an interception by Taylor crushed any hopes of a comeback victory. Instead, the Bills have fallen to 3-2 as they head into their bye week.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

2. New York Jets (3-2)

Week 5: win (17-14 against the Cleveland Browns, in Cleveland OH)

The Jets continue to surprise: Thanks to a 17-14 victory against the Browns, the team has now won three games already this season – something it was not able to accomplish until week eight last year. And even though it was not the prettiest performance, particularly on offense, New York was able to take advantage of Cleveland's miscues to ultimately come away with a victory.

The game started with three straight punts before the Browns drove deep into Jets territory. The series did not produce any points, though, as New York's defense was able to recover a fumble at its own 7-yard line. The team was unable to turn the takeaway into points and instead had to watch the Browns again come close to taking a lead. This time, however, the team missed a field goal attempt.

The first half continued to be a comedy of errors. First, the Jets turned the ball over on an interception by Josh McCown (23/30, 194 yds, 2 TDs, 1 INT). Cleveland then drove deep into New York's territory before again giving the football away: safety Marcus Maye recorded an interception. New York also failed to turn its second takeaway into points and instead had to watch the Browns miss their second field goal – which in turn allowed the Jets to take a 3-0 halftime lead on a 57-yard Chandler Catanzaro (1/1) field goal.

Quarter number three started with the Browns once more producing a long drive. This time, however, the team did not shoot itself in the foot and instead took a 7-3 lead. New York failed to respond but Cleveland's third turnover of the day – an inteception by Morris Clayborne – set the offense up at the Browns' 13-yard line. Two plays later, McCown connected with Austin Seferian-Jenkins (6/29 yds, 1 TD) to put New York ahead 10-7.

Following a defensive fourth down stop on their own 2-yard line, the Jets added to their lead by driving 97-yards and finishing with a touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse (4/38 yds, 1 TD). Cleveland cut the lead to three inside the two-minute warning but New York was able to recover the ensuing onside kick attempt to seal its third win of the season. The Jets will host the Patriots in week six.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

4. Miami Dolphins (2-2)

Week 5: win (16-10 against the Tennessee Titans, in Miami Gardens FL)

The Dolphins' home opener brought the team its second victory of the year; a 16-10 win over the visiting Titans. The entire game was a sloppy affair by both teams, especially when it came to moving the football offensively: Neither team was able to crack 200 yards of offense (Miami had 178, Tennessee had 188) in a game that saw them combine for a total of 19 punts and four turnovers.

After four straight punts to open the game, the Dolphins defense was responsible for the first big play: Defensive tackle Davon Godchaux forced a Titans fumble that was recovered by safety Reshad Jones. Seven plays later, Miami was up 3-0 thanks to a 41-yard field goal by Cody Parkey (1/1). The defense, which also registered six sacks on the day, made another big play on the very next Titans possession.

Linebacker Kiko Alonso forced a Tennessee fumble that was again recovered by Jones and returned 38 yards for the game's first touchdown. Now, it was the Dolphins offense's turn to give the ball away: First, Jay Ajayi (25/77 yds) lost a fumble on Miami's next offensive series to set up a Titans field goal. Two drives later, Jay Cutler (12/26, 92 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT) threw an interception on Tennessee's side of the field.

Coming out of halftime, the Titans were able to tie the game at 10 on their first possession. It was the lone highlight of the third quarter as the punt-fest continued through the period. Early in the fourth quarter, however, the Dolphins started to move the football well and were able to re-take the lead on a six-yard scoring pass from Cutler to Jarvis Landry (5/44 yds).

In a somewhat perfect reflection of the game, however, the team missed the ensuing extra point attempt. It did not change the outcome of the game, though, as the Titans failed to rally back from the six-point deficit. Consequently, the Dolphins have improved to 2-2 as they now head into their week six matchup at the Atlanta Falcons.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.