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AFC East Report week 16: Miami Miracle turns into Miami Meltdown for the Dolphins

Notes from around the division.

Jacksonville Jaguars v Miami Dolphins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

It took 16 weeks but the race for the AFC East is over and brought the same result as the last nine years. Meanwhile, the division will send just one team to the postseason for the first time since 2015. Furthermore, it will also only have one team with a winning record — something that has not happened since 2013. How did this all happen in one week? Let’s take a look at it in the latest installment of the AFC East Report.

1. New England Patriots (10-5)

Week 16: 24-12 win against the Buffalo Bills, in Foxboro MA

Patriots vs Bills game report: Running backs carry New England to 24-12 victory

Watch the Pats Pulpit Postgame Show from New England’s 24-12 win live!

6 observations from the Patriots’ 24-12 win over the Bills

7 winners and 3 losers from the New England’s 24-12 win against Buffalo

Quick-hit thoughts on the Patriots’ 24-12 win against the Bills: It’s a great day to be a Patriots fan

Bill Belichick explains how the Patriots were able to dominate the Bills in the running game

Patriots vs. Bills: Fan Notes from the Game

“Always a great feeling to win the division”: Patriots react to their 24-12 win over the Bills, capturing the AFC East

Patriots vs Bills snap count report: How New England tried to replace Josh Gordon

Patriots vs Bills advanced stats: New England’s pass defense had a field day against Buffalo

Matthew Slater comes up big for the Patriots after being denied his eighth Pro Bowl berth

Patriots vs Bills: Best and worst plays from New England’s 24-12 win over Buffalo

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

2. Miami Dolphins (7-8)

Week 16: 17-7 loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars, in Jacksonville FL

The Miami Dolphins’ year came down to this: a week 16 game against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars in order to keep their hopes for a playoff berth alive. Adam Gase’s team needed a win and some outside help to put itself in a position to potentially extend its season into January. However, the Dolphins failed to do that and instead fell apart against the Jaguars — with the offense in particular struggling.

Miami actually started the contest very well: the team received the opening kickoff and marched 78 yards in eight plays to take a 7-0 lead on a short touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill (15/22, 146 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT) to ex-Patriot Brandon Bolden (5 touches/13 yds, 1 TD). The lead, however, was a short one as the Jaguars tied the contest on the very next drive. Miami’s offense failed to answer and suddenly was out of the rhythm it displayed early on.

The game’s next big play was made by the team’s defense when Andre Branch (2 TKLs, 0.5 SCKs, 1 FR) recovered a fumble that set up the Dolphins in Jacksonville territory. After gaining just three yards on five plays, the team had to settle for a field goal but kicker Jason Sanders (0/1 FG, 1/1 XP) pushed the kick wide right. As a result of Sanders’ miss and the Jaguars also failing to hit a field goal late in the second quarter, the two teams went into the half tied at seven.

With neither team being able to get into scoring position again in the third quarter, the tie would remain in place until the early fourth quarter. At that point, the Jaguars went up 10-3 on a short field goal. Miami’s ensuing possession lasted just three plays, the final of which the a game-clinching turnover: a Tannehill pass was undercut by Jacksonville and returned to the end zone for a pick-six. The Dolphins failed to come back from the 10-point deficit and had to kiss their already slim playoff hopes goodbye.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

3. Buffalo Bills (5-10)

Week 16: 24-14 loss against the New England Patriots, in Foxboro MA

Notes from Buffalo Rumblings:

Bills lose to Patriots: rapid reaction and notes

Five takeaways: Bills outcoached in latest loss to Patriots

McDermott-led Bills have serious trouble scoring against Patriots

Billieve: The Bills fall flat against the Patriots

Penalty recap: Bills at Patriots

Snap count notes: Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

4. New York Jets (4-11)

Week 16: 44-38 OT loss against the Green Bay Packers, in East Rutherford NJ

With the New York Jets and the Green Bay Packers both out of the playoff race, they had little to play for in week 16 but draft positioning. Yet, the two teams’ meeting turned into a highly entertaining affair that was dominated by offense and saw New York quarterback Sam Darnold (24/35, 341 yds, 3 TDs) play arguably the best game of his young career — hanging with a talented but underperforming Packers offense.

New York began the game with the football and marched right down the field. However, the team came away with no points as the usually reliable Jason Myers (1/2 FG, 5/5 XP) missed a 45-yard field goal attempt wide left. Green Bay did not fare much better which allowed the Jets to go up 7-0 on their second possession. A 4-yard touchdown run by Elijah McGuire (17 touches/85 yds, 2 TDs) capped a 12-play, 83-yard series.

With the Jets defense continuing to shut Green Bay down early on, the team was able to add to its total early in the second quarter: Darnold connected with Robby Anderson (9/140 yds, 1 TD) to put the home team up 14-0. And while the Packers replied with a short touchdown drive of their own, the two-score lead was soon back in place as Andre Roberts (4/50.8 yds avg, 1 TD) returned the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a score.

At that point, the shootout was one as the Packers were able to score 10 points on their next two possessions to take the game into the half down just 21-17. The deficit was cut to one point coming out of intermission before the Jets finally got on the board again on a 5-yard pass from San Darnold to fellow rookie Chris Herndon (6/82 yds, 1 TD). Momentum then continued to stay with Gang Green.

After a fumble recovery on the ensuing kickoff gave the team a short field, Darnold connected with McGuire to put New York up 35-20 late in the third quarter. The game, however, was far from over. Green Bay scored a field goal and a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to come within five points. And with the Jets offense suddenly unable to move the football, the Packers were able to get up 38-35 one series later.

However, Roberts came through again: the returnman ran the subsequent kickoff back 51 yards to set up a field goal that tied the game at 38 with only 17 seconds left in regulation. Overtime then saw the Packers win the coin toss and as has been the case in the fourth quarter, the team had no issues moving the football against the Jets defense. Eight plays and 75 yards later, the game was over.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.