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AFC East Report: Bills lose ground in Week 8 after getting blown out by the Eagles

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

NFL: OCT 27 Eagles at Bills Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Eight weeks into the 2019 regular season, the AFC East’s power structure remains intact with two teams well on their way to the postseason and the others fighting for little but the first overall draft pick next year. Week 8 did little to change this narrative, and with all that in mind, let’s find out what happened in the latest edition of the AFC East Report.

1. New England Patriots (8-0)

Week 8: 27-13 win against the Cleveland Browns, in Foxborough MA

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To watch highlights of the game, click here.

2. Buffalo Bills (5-2)

Week 8: 31-13 loss against the Philadelphia Eagles, in Orchard Park NY

The Buffalo Bills entered Week 8 with the second best record in the AFC behind only the Patriots, but lost their second game of the season on Sunday against the visiting Philadelphia Eagles. Buffalo’s inability to stop the opposing running game — the Eagles finished the day with 218 yards and three touchdowns on the ground on 41 carries — in combination with an inconsistent passing game contributed to the 31-13 defeat that dropped the club to 5-2 on the year.

The game started as a defensively dominated affair that saw Buffalo go three-and-out on its first two possessions before watching the Eagles take a 3-0 lead. At that point, the home team was able to gain some momentum as it went on a 10-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by a 14-yard touchdown pass from Josh Allen to wide receiver Cole Beasley. The Bills’ 7-3 lead remained intact until the late second quarter, when Philadelphia took advantage of the game’s first turnover.

Coming out off the two-minute warning, Allen was sacked and coughed up the football which ended up in the arms of Eagles defender Brandon Graham. Five plays later, Philadelphia was in the end zone and up 11-7 after a successful two-point try. While only 18 seconds were left on the clock at that point, the Bills actually drove into scoring position but a 53-yard field goal attempt by Stephen Hauschka sailed wide to the right.

Things did not get any better for Buffalo in the second half: on just the second play from scrimmage, Eagles running back Miles Sanders burst through the line of scrimmage and the Bills’ secondary to take a handoff 65 yards for the touchdown. Down 17-7 after an unsuccessful extra point attempt, the Bills answered in style: Allen and company drove another 75 yards in 10 plays, with the quarterback and running back Devin Singletary connecting on a 28-yard touchdown pass.

Philadelphia fought right back after the score and blocked extra point, however, and increased its lead to 11 points after another touchdown on the next series. This time, the Bills were unable to properly answer and instead had to turn the football over on downs after an incomplete pass on 4th and 6. While the defense forced a punt on the next drive, Sean McDermott’s offense again failed to get going which allowed the Eagles to score another touchdown on their next possession.

Down 31-13 with six minutes left in the game, Buffalo only went backwards: back-to-back false start penalties and a sack-fumble that was recovered by offensive tackle Dion Dawkins forced the team to punt the football away with under five minutes left. The Eagles then burned down the clock enough to seal the Bills’ second home loss of the season.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

3. New York Jets (1-6)

Week 8: 29-15 loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars, in Jacksonville FL

Coming off a 33-0 defeat at the hands of the Patriots, the New York Jets were unable to bounce back on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars and suffered their sixth defeat of the season. An offense that struggled to hold onto the football — the team turned the football over three times, with quarterback Sam Darnold responsible for all three of the giveaways — and a defense that surrendered multiple big plays all doomed Adam Gase’s club.

The game already started badly for the visitors as it took the Jaguars just four plays — including a 66-yard carry by running back Leonard Fournette — to score the first touchdown of the day. New York’s offense, however, responded well by driving for a touchdown as well: Darnold and company marched 93 yards in 12 plays, with the second-year passer and tight end Ryan Griffin connecting on a 24-yard score to give the team a 7-6 lead.

Momentum continued to reside with Gang Green until Darnold made his first big mistake of the day: after evading a sack on a first down play in Jacksonville territory, the former first-round pick threw an ill-advised pass that was picked off by the Jaguars. Two plays later, the home team was back in front again as quarterback Gardner Minshew II threw a 70-yard touchdown pass after breaking out of a would-be sack himself.

The offense and defense were not the only struggling units, however: following a Jets punt, the coverage allowed a 24-yard runback that set up the Jaguars close to field goal range yet again. This time, however, the defense made a big play: linebacker Jordan Willis forced a fumble on a sack, with Blake Cashman recovering the football. The momentum shift was short-lived, however, as New York’s offense went three-and-out after the takeaway.

Jacksonville was then able to score on back-to-back possessions, with two field goals giving the team a 19-7 lead heading into the half. After intermission, the game was more of the same: the Jets struggled offensively, while the Jaguars added another three points to their total. Down 15 in the early fourth quarter, New York finally showed some signs of offensive life again and drove 75 yards in nine plays to cut the deficit to seven after another Darnold-to-Griffin touchdown and subsequent two-point conversion.

But despite forcing a punt on the next drive, the Jets’ succumbed to their own errors: Darnold threw another pick on the next possession that ultimately set up the another Jaguars touchdown. On the next drive and with more than three minutes still left on the clock, the 22-year-old fired his third interception which ultimately left no doubt about which team would leave victoriously. For the sixth time this season, it was not the Jets.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

4. Miami Dolphins (0-7)

Week 8: 27-14 loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers, in Pittsburgh PA

Appearing on Monday Night Football for the first time since 2017, the Miami Dolphins played another competitive game that ultimately saw the team come up just short in the end: Brian Flores’ squad allowed the Pittsburgh Steelers to come back from a two-touchdown deficit to take away the win. The Dolphins, therefore, head into their Week 9 matchup with the Jets still remaining winless and in prime position to earn the first overall draft pick next year.

Miami began the game in Pittsburgh with the football but had to punt it back to its opponent after just three offensive plays. The team’s defense, however, started better into the contest and delivered the first big play of the day on the Steelers’ second offensive snap: cornerback Xavien Howard was able to intercept a passing attempt by quarterback Mason Rudolph, and set up his team 26 yards away from the opposing end zone.

It took the Dolphins only four plays to capitalize on the takeaway, as Ryan Fitzpatrick connected with Albert Wilson for a 5-yard touchdown. Up 7-0, Miami’s defense was able to make another big play on the very next drive: facing a 4th and 6 at its own 36-yard line, the unit stopped Pittsburgh from extending the series, turning possession over on downs and setting up yet another scoring drive by Fitzpatrick and the offense.

This time, the unit marched 63 yards in 11 plays with the final 12 yards covered by a touchdown pass to Allen Hurns. At this point, Miami was in full control of the game against a Pittsburgh offense that was unable to generate any momentum until a field goal drive late in the second period. However, the tide slowly began to turn as Fitzpatrick threw an interception on the next drive that set up the Steelers’s first touchdown of the day.

Still, Miami headed into the locker rooms up 14-10 — a lead that remained intact after the opening drive of the second quarter, and with Pittsburgh missing a 54-yard field goal attempt. The team was unable to take advantage, however, as another one of Fitzpatrick’s passes was picked off by the defense on the next drive. What followed was the Dolphins’ defense surrendering a 97-yard drive that ended with the first lead-change of the day.

Brian Flores’ team answered by driving into Steelers territory again, only to turn the football over on downs after an unsuccessful 4th and 1 scramble attempt by the quarterback. Five plays later, Pittsburgh was up 24-14 after another touchdowns — and the Dolphins’ meltdown was not over yet as the team lost two fumbles on its next two possessions: running back Mark Walton put the football on the ground, before a strip-sack by the Steelers defense.

The second of the two plays allowed the home team to add another three points to the scoreboard, and seal the game in the home team’s favor.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.