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AFC East Report Week 2: Dolphins take division lead after beating Jets

Let’s take a look around the division.

Miami Dolphins v New York Jets Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The second week of NFL action is in the books and it saw a new time rise to the top of the standings to take the AFC East lead, while the New England Patriots were beaten by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Before getting ahead of ourselves, however, let’s take a look at the division in this week’s installment of the AFC East Report:

1. Miami Dolphins (2-0)

Week 2: 20-12 win against the New York Jets, in East Rutherford NJ

The Miami Dolphins have climbed to the top of the AFC East thanks to a 20-12 road win against the New York Jets. It was a successful overall day for Miami, but one that can be divided into two halves: the team dominated the first two quarters while nearly allowed the Jets to come back into the contest by playing a sloppy second half.

The Dolphins’ defense made the first big play of the day when safety T.J. McDonald (1 tackle, 1 INT) intercepted Sam Darnold (25/41, 334 yds, 1 TD, 2 INTs) and returned the pick to the Jets’ 15-yard line. Three plays later, Kenyan Drake found the endzone to give the team a 7-0 lead. The game continued to be dominate by defense: following a series of punts, Miami had another takeaway when Kiko Alonso (13 tackles, 2 FF) forced a fumble that was recovered by fellow linebacker Raekwon McMillan (3 tackles, 1 FR).

Two plays after the takeaway, the team scored again when quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17/23, 168 yds, 2 TDs, 0 INTs) connected with Albert Wilson (3/37 yds, 1 TD) on a 29-yard scoring pass. Miami’s next possession – a well-executed two-minute drill – created even more points: ex-Patriot A.J. Darby caught a pass by Tannehill from 19-0 out to give his new team a 20-0 lead after a missed extra point attempt.

From that point on, the game was almost all Jets. Miami’s defense almost allowed a touchdown before the half – New York simply ran out of time at the 1-yard line – before giving up six points on the first possession of the second half. On the very next play from scrimmage, Tannehill lost a fumble that set up the Jets in good field position. However, an interception by Xavien Howard one play later kept Miami’s 14-point lead intact.

Miami’s defense continued to struggle, though, and another Tannehill fumble led to three more New York points. The Jets scored another field goal with six minutes left in the game but at that point, the Dolphins rose to the occasion and were able to run out the clock with a perfect possession that ended with Miami’s passer kneeling out the contest.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

t-2. New York Jets (1-1)

Week 2: 20-12 loss against the Miami Dolphins, in East Rutherford NJ

Their game against the visiting Miami Dolphins was also a tale of two halves for the New York Jets. Gang Green had its moments but ultimately made too many mistakes in key situations to come back out of the hole which it found itself in after the first two quarters – despite gaining more yards (362-257) and first downs (21-18) than its opponent.

New York’s very first possession was a sign of things to come: quarterback Sam Darnold (25/41, 334 yds, 1 TD, 2 INTs) fumbled the football. While he was able to recover, it was a first sign of the ball security issues that would haunt the Jets all game long. One play later, those issues produced the first turnover of the game when Darnold threw an interception when he was too focused on wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (7/92 yds).

The pick set up Miami’s first touchdown of the day – and things did not get a lot better afterwards. While New York’s defense kept the score at 7-0 until late in the second quarter, another Jets turnover – a fumble by wide receiver Robby Anderson (3/27 yds) – gave the Dolphins good field position once more and ultimately led to the visitors’ second touchdown and a 14-0 deficit for the home team.

New York gave up another six points before the half but was able to drive all the way to the opponent’s 1-yard line afterwards. However, the clock expired before the Jets could do anything with the possession and the team’s headed into halftime at 20-0 in Miami’s favor. the lead was cut to 20-6 on the first drive of the second half as Darnold and company finally were able to get into a rhythm, capped by a 28-yard pass to Bilal Powell (5/74 yds, 1 TD).

After a forced fumble and recovery by Jordan Jenkins, the Jets were in prime position to come even closer but an interception by Darnold killed all hope of another quick touchdown – and the momentum his team had built. While another fumble recovery by New York’s defense led to a field goal, the Jets were unable to quickly move down the field when they had to. This allowed the Dolphins to run out the clock with a six-minute possession at the end of the fourth quarter.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

4. Buffalo Bills (0-2)

Week 2: 31-20 loss against the Los Angeles Chargers, in Orchard Park NY

After their opening day loss in Baltimore, the Buffalo Bills opted to make a change at quarterback: out was inefficient starter Nathan Peterman, in was first-round rookie Josh Allen (18/33, 245 yds, 1 TD, 2 INTs). The change was only a slight improvement for Buffalo’s offense. While Allen and the unit scored more points than in week one, it still was unable to keep the team consistently competitive.

The first few minutes of the game already were a reflection of that: two quick three-and-outs by the Bills were each followed by Chargers touchdown drives. While Buffalo managed a field goal drive to bring the score to 14-3 early in the second quarter, things did not improve for the team’s offense and defense: the visitors scored touchdowns on their next two possessions as well, to put the Bills in a 28-3 hole.

Buffalo was able to add another field goal shortly before the half, and scored its first touchdown immediately after it: Chris Ivory (2/7 yds, 1 TD) found the end zone from one yard out. At that point, the game turned into a defensive battle with neither team being able to generate much offense. The biggest plays were two interceptions by Allen – the second of which setting up a Chargers field goal.

While Buffalo responded with its second field goal drive of the day, it was too little too late: Josh Allen’s first career touchdown pass – a three-yarder to Kelvin Benjamin (2/19 yds, 1 TD) – did little to change the outcome of the game and push the Bills to an 0-2 record.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.