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AFC East Report week 7: Dolphins, Jets, Bills losing makes for a perfect week for the Patriots

Notes from around the division.

Buffalo Bills v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

While the New England Patriots registered their fourth straight win on Sunday, the team’s AFC East rivals went a combined 0-3. This, in turn, allowed the Patriots to take a two-point lead over their closest competitor in the division, the Miami Dolphins. Let’s find out how this week went down in the latest edition of the AFC East Report:

1. New England Patriots (5-2)

Week 7: 38-31 win against the Chicago Bears, in Chicago IL

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To watch highlights of the game, click here.

2. Miami Dolphins (4-3)

Week 7: 32-21 loss against the Detroit Lions, in Miami Gardens FL

The Miami Dolphins saw backup quarterback Brock Osweiler (22/31, 239 yds, 2 TDs) play another solid game in place of the injured Ryan Tannehill, but they still lost their third contest in four weeks to fall another game behind the Patriots. The reasons for that? A defense that was susceptible to the big play, failed to get off the field in critical situations, and allowed its opponent to run all over it. The offense, meanwhile, took to long to get into a rhythm.

While the home team opened the game with a three-and-out, the Detroit Lions were able to march right down the field to take a 7-0 lead. With Miami unable to get much going on its next two drives either, the visitors went up 10-0 early in the second quarter. At that point, Adam Gase’s team finally woke up and went on an 11-play drive that covered 77 yards and ended with a touchdown pass from Osweiler to Kenny Stills (1/5 yds, 1 TD).

With momentum on their side, the Dolphins surrendered another big touchdown drive to their opponent and therefore went into halftime down 17-7. Coming out of the locker rooms, Miami’s defense was unable to hang with the Detroit offense: the team scored on all four of its possessions in the second half. It started with a field goal, which was answered with a long touchdown run by Kenyan Drake (6/72 yds, 1 TD).

Detroit, however, responded with a touchdown drive of its own and after another Miami punt increased its lead to 15 points. The Dolphins’ third touchdown of the day – a 24-yard pass from Osweiler to ex-Patriot Danny Amendola (6/84 yds, 1 TD) – brought back hope of a comeback but Miami’s inability to force a punt came back to haunt the team once again: after another Lions field goal, the team was down 11 with under two minutes to go.

The Dolphins ended the game with a missed field goal attempt and have now quickly crashed back to earth after their 3-0 start. While the team is still very much in the race for the division title or a wild card playoff spot, it is undoubtably trending downwards. Maybe Tannehill’s return – which will not come this week – will help turn the team’s fortunes around again.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

3. New York Jets (3-4)

Week 7: 37-17 loss against the Minnesota Vikings, in East Rutherford NJ

Coming off back-to-back wins, the Jets were blown out at home by the visiting Minnesota Vikings. While New York was able to keep the game close through the first half – mainly because of a solid defensive performance – the team failed to keep up with the Vikings over the final 30 minutes and has now fallen back below .500 due to self-inflicted mistakes and inconsistent offensive play.

The contest started badly for the home team as it took Minnesota just four plays to reach the end zone and go up 7-0. In the meantime, the team’s offense started slowly and had to punt on its first two possessions – luckily for New York, the defense was able to settle down after giving up the early touchdown. This, in turn, allowed the Jets to tie the game late in the first quarter on a scoring pass from Sam Darnold (17/42, 206 yds, 1 TD, 3 INTs) to Chris Herndon (4/42 yds, 1 TD).

A field goal after a short punt allowed the Vikings to get back on top early in the second period. At that point, the game turned into a defensive showdown with neither team being able to string together plays. While New York’s offense struggled and turned the football over on a lost fumble by Darnold, its defense – aided by a missed Minnesota field goal attempt – was able to keep the contest close.

Coming out of halftime down a mere three points, the Jets quickly fell apart. Following a punt on the first drive, the Vikings not only scored their second touchdown of the day they also picked off Darnold to set up a field goal. Down 20-7, the Jets added a field goal of their own but the momentum would firmly stay on the visitors’ side: Minnesota scored another touchdown early in the fourth period to went up by 17.

A quarterback sneak by Darnold made it a two-possession game again, but the Jets failed to make the game any closer: two more interceptions led to 10 more Vikings points to put the game out of reach. Ultimately, New York had its moments but in between them made to many errors to stay competitive for 60 minutes.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

4. Buffalo Bills (2-5)

Week 7: 37-5 loss against the Indianapolis Colts, in Indianapolis IN

With starting quarterback Josh Allen out due to an elbow injury – one that will also force him to miss next Monday’s game against the Patriots – the Buffalo Bills turned to Derek Anderson (20/31, 175 yds, 3 INTs) over former second-stringer Nathan Peterman. The results were still bad: while Buffalo’s offense was already inconsistent with Allen and even worse with Peterman at the helm, Anderson did little to help the unit.

What also hurt the Bills was starting running back LeSean McCoy (2/1 yd) suffering a concussion on just his second play of the day. Despite that, Buffalo was able to hold its game against the Indianapolis Colts close for the first 15 minutes. However, the scoreless tie was broken early in the second period with a Colts touchdown. Just five plays later, the Bills turned the football over when Charles Clay (3/14 yds) lost a fumble.

The give away set up the home team’s second touchdown of the day – and it was far from done. After a Bills three-and-out, Indianapolis again sliced through Sean McDermott’s defense: marching 82 yards in nine plays, the Colts were able to score their third touchdown of the second quarter. Following an interception by Anderson, Indianapolis added three more points to take a 24-0 halftime lead.

Coming out of the half, the Bills produced their best drive of a day: the team went 56 yards in 12 plays to get on the scoreboard with a Steven Hauschka (1/1) field goal. Late in the third quarter, Buffalo was able to add two more points via a safety. Cutting the deficit to 19 points can be seen as the team’s high point of the day as the team went back to full collapse mode as soon as the fourth quarter started.

Just two plays into the final period, Anderson lost a fumble. Three plays later, the Colts scored another touchdown to go up 31-5. A failed fourth down attempt and another interception later, Buffalo was down 37-5. The quarterback’s third pick of the day did not change anything but Indianapolis’ fantasy points. T’was a bad day for the Patriots’ next opponent.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.