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AFC East Report: Week 3; Bills sit atop the division after defeating Broncos

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

Denver Broncos v Buffalo Bills Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Week three of the 2017 regular season is in the books and it saw the New England Patriots improve to 2-1 thanks to a last-minute victory over the visiting Houston Texans. The defending world champions are now closer to the AFC East lead than they have been all year long, trailing the 2-1 Buffalo Bills only due to tiebreakers.

With that out of the way, let's take a look at what happened around the division in this week's installment of the AFC East Report.

1. Buffalo Bills (2-1)

Week 3: win (26-16 against the Denver Broncos, in Orchard Park NY)

Coming off their first loss of the year, the Bills were able to bounce back against the visiting Broncos. The contest started as a defensive affair, with Denver getting the first points on the board and taking a 3-0 lead late in the first quarter. Buffalo's offense, however, was able to answer: The unit drove 74 yards in 10 plays to go ahead 7-3 on a rather curious looking play.

A pass from Tyrod Taylor (20/26, 213 yds, 2 TDs, 0 INTs) intended for Zay Jones was deflected by the rookie and subsequently caught by Andre Holmes (2/6 yds, 1 TD). The Bills' lead was short-lived, though, as Denver went ahead 10-7 on the very next series. Later in the half, the teams exchanged field goals with Buffalo's Steven Hauschka (4/4) accounting for two to send the teams into the locker rooms tied at 13.

Denver went ahead 16-13 early in the second half but a four-play, 69-yard drive resulted in another lead change: Taylor found Charles Clay (6/39 yds, 1 TD) in the end zone to put his team ahead 20-16. While an interception on the next drive by Bills cornerback E.J. Gaines did not lead to any points, stopping a fake Denver punt ultimately did. The takeaway on downs set up Hauschka to give his team a seven-point lead early in the fourth quarter.

The Broncos answered by driving deep into Buffalo territory, but the defense's second interception – this one by rookie Tre'Davious White – gave the home team the football again. The Bills made it count by taking 7:30 off the clock to go ahead 26-16. The home team's defense did not allow Denver to come any closer and effectively ended the game on a fourth down stop inside the two-minute warning.

Even though the Broncos out-gained the Bills in almost every major category, the home team was able to win by 10 points. The defense's ability to create turnovers, either through interceptions or on downs, played a big part in that as did some solid play on offense and special teams. Buffalo thus founds itself atop the division heading into its week four game on the road against the Atlanta Falcons.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

3. Miami Dolphins (1-1)

Week 3: loss (20-6 against the New York Jets, in East Rutherford NJ)

After a close victory in their season opener, the Dolphins fell to 1-1 in their second game of the year – in large parts due to defensive lapses and an offensive inability to sustain drives (Miami converted only one of 12 third down attempts). The game did start well for the visitors, as they were able to force a three-and-out on the contest's opening series. The game remained a defensive affair for much of the first half.

New York came closest to scoring but a missed field goal kept the game at a scoreless tie. Miami, meanwhile, was unable to get into any noteworthy offensive rhythm. Consequently, the Jets were able to go up 3-0 before taking a 10-0 lead late in the first half on a play that saw the Dolphins' defense get burned deep for a 69-yard pass touchdown.

Coming out of the locker rooms, Miami did not fare any better: The offense struggled to kickstart its momentum, while the defense again allowed the Jets to drive down the field and score a touchdown. Down 17-0, the Dolphins tried some trickery after yet another failed third down attempt. However, a fourth down pass by punter Matt Haack (7/47.6 avg) was intercepted to set up yet another Jets field goal.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Miami's defense was able to take the football away but the team's offense gave it right back: Seven plays after linebacker Mike Hull's fumble recovery, quarterback Jay Cutler (26/44, 220 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT) threw an interception. Cutler's last-second touchdown pass to DeVante Parker (8/76 yds, 1 TD) only helped avoid a shutout. The missed extra point did therefore not hurt much.

Due to the loss, the Dolphins fall to .500 and third place in the AFC East. Next up: A trip to London to play the 1-2 New Orleans Saints.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

4. New York Jets (1-2)

Week 3: win (20-6 against the Miami Dolphins, in East Rutherford NJ)

After two losses to open the season, the Jets were able to win their home opener against the Dolphins. And just like the team's games against the Buffalo Bills and Oakland Raiders, this one was no close affair. After each team started with a three-and-out, New York was able to drive into field goal range. However, Chandler Catanzaro (2/3) missed a 45-yard attempt and the game remained scoreless.

Catanzaro was able to bounce back on his next field goal try midway through the second quarter: His 40-yarder capped a nine-play, 41-yard drive and gave the home team a 3-0 lead. Two possessions later, New York expand its lead to 10-0 when quarterback Josh McCown (18/23, 249 yds, 1 TD, 0 INTs) connected with Robby Anderson (3/95 yds, 1 TD) on a 69-yard scoring pass.

After intermission, the game did not change much: New York's defense dominated the Dolphins' offense, while its own was able to add to the lead. A one-yard touchdown run by Bilal Powell (15/37 yds, 1 TD) put the Jets ahead by 17. After Terrence Brooks intercepted a fourth down pass attempt by Miami's punter, the team was able to add another field goal to its lead late in the third period.

The fourth quarter saw the Jets stop the Dolphins on consecutive fourth down tries. And despite a lost fumble by rookie running back Elijah McGuire, the Dolphins were unable to get back into the game thanks to Brooks' second pick of the day. And even though the offense failed to cash in on the turnover, the Dolphins were unable to come much closer; a last-second touchdown did not change the overall result.

While not all was perfect (third down conversions, missed field goal, lost fumble), the Jets looked much improved on both offense and defense in their third game of the season. Therefore, they will head into their week four game against the Jacksonville Jaguars with a 1-2 record.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.