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AFC East Report: Patriots take division lead in Week 4; Dolphins remain winless

Let’s take a look at what happened in the division this week.

NFL: SEP 29 Patriots at Bills Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It took until Week 4 of the 2019 regular season, but the AFC East is back to having a familiar face sit on top after two teams shared the same record through the first three games. While one division matchup determined who will take the lead within it, the other two clubs enjoyed their first-ever lead this season and a bye, respectively. With that in mind, let’s find out what happened over the weekend in the latest edition of the AFC East Report.

1. New England Patriots (4-0)

Week 4: 16-10 win against the Buffalo Bills, in Orchard Park NY

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To watch highlights of the game, click here.

2. Buffalo Bills (3-1)

Week 4: 16-10 loss against the New England Patriots, in Orchard Park NY

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Circling the Wagons: Bills offense/special teams turns over game to Patriots, 16-10

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To watch highlights of the game, click here.

3. New York Jets (0-3)

Week 4: Bye

Week 5: at Philadelphia Eagles

Week 6: vs Dallas Cowboys

Week 7: vs New England Patriots

Week 8: at Jacksonville Jaguars

New York had its bye week rather early this year, but it gives the team time to recoup after starting 0-3. Furthermore, the bye gives cornerstone players like Sam Darnold and Quinnen Williams an opportunity to keep rehabbing from their respective ailments to potentially return in Week 5 against Philadelphia. Needless to say, however, that the team’s next three weeks will be tough.

4. Miami Dolphins (0-4)

Week 4: 30-10 loss against the Los Angeles Chargers, in Miami Gardens FL

Another week, another lopsided defeat for the Miami Dolphins. The team of ex-Patriots defensive signal caller Brian Flores continues to look putrid and was blown out by the visiting Los Angeles Rams by 20 points. There are some positives to take away from Miami’s perspective, however, even though it looks like grasping for straws at this point: the team suffered it closest defeat on Sunday and also took its first lead in a game this year.

It all started with the Chargers receiving the opening kickoff and marching right down the field to take a 3-0 lead. Unlike in week’s past, though, the Dolphins were actually able to fight back this time: led by quarterback Josh Rosen, the offense marched 75 yards in six plays to go up 7-3 on a 34-yard pass to wide receiver DeVante Parker. The lead was short-lived, however, as L.A. was back up again just four minutes later.

While the offense looked strong early on, the defense was unable to stop the Chargers from quickly driving 75 yards and go up 10-7 on a touchdown pass. Nevertheless, Rosen and company were able to again answer accordingly. While the Dolphins did not score a touchdown this time, they did add three points to tie the game thanks to a 30-yard field goal by kicker Jason Sanders. At that point, the game was fairly competitive.

The defense was then able to make a big play of its own as it forced a turnover on downs; in combination with a penalty against the Chargers, the Dolphins were set up in Los Angeles territory. Miami could advance the football only 16 yards at that point, but still had a shot at taking the lead again — it would be the closest the team would come again on this afternoon: Sanders’ 50-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right.

Los Angeles responded by driving for another touchdown and going up 17-10. And while the Dolphins had another shot at cutting into their deficit before the half, another Sanders kick — this one from 52 yards out — ended outside of the uprights. And with the team’s offense being forced to punt on the opening possession of the third quarter, the visitors were suddenly in a position to pull away. They did just that, and went up 20-10 on a field goal.

Things finally started to unravel for the Dolphins at that point. After going three-and-out, the defense surrendered another touchdown which was followed by a Rosen interception. Six plays later, the Chargers were up 30-10. Miami got the ball back with seven minutes left in the game but was unable to add to its point total before turning the football over on an unsuccessful attempt at converting a fourth down.

Miami is therefore heading into its bye week with an 0-4 record — the first time since 2011 that the team remains winless one quarter into the season. Back then, the Dolphins started 0-7 before finishing the year with six wins in their final nine games. Such a turnaround would be a surprise in 2019, however, given the state of the team at this point in time.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.