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AFC East Report: Bills continue their successful season in Miami; Jets win second game in a row

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

Buffalo Bills v Miami Dolphins Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

Eleven weeks into the NFL’s 2019 regular season, the AFC East remains a two-class society: the top teams are in position to make a run at the postseason, while the bottom two are currently headed for a top-10 draft slot next year. Before getting too far ahead of ourselves, however, let’s instead find out what happened this weekend in the latest edition of the AFC East Report.

1. New England Patriots (9-1)

Week 11: 17-10 win against the Philadelphia Eagles, in Philadelphia PA

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To watch highlights of the game, click here.

2. Buffalo Bills (7-3)

Week 11: 37-20 win against the Miami Dolphins, in Miami Gardens FL

Coming off a three-point loss against the Cleveland Browns, the Buffalo Bills were able to bounce back nicely by beating the Dolphins on the road by 17 points — making sure that they stay well-positioned in the race for a wild card playoff spot in the AFC. While the Patriots are still clearly ahead in the division, the Bills’ 7-3 record has them in the number five seed at the moment and with a tough stretch of games coming up.

Buffalo started the game in Miami well. After receiving the opening kickoff and starting with a 22-yard run by Devin Singletary as the opening play from scrimmage, the team took a 3-0 lead on a 51-yard Stephen Hauschka field goal. After a defensive three-and-out, the Bills doubled down and added three more points to their total — Hauschka was good from 34 yards out this time. And following another defensive stop, the first touchdown drive began.

Sean McDermott’s team marched 81 yards in just five plays with two deep passes by quarterback Josh Allen as the pivotal moments of the series: first, the second-year man hit John Brown for a gain of 24, then he connected with Brown again for a 40-yard touchdown that put Buffalo up 13-0 — a lead that increased after the defense again stifled its opponent. This time, it was Hauschka again: the veteran kicked a 21-yard field goal to increase the lead to 16 points.

And while the defense forced another stop, the tide started to turn at least a little bit. Following a three-and-out by the Bills, Miami finally found some success on offense and went on a five-play, 68-yard drive that was capped by the home team’s first touchdown. To keep the momentum, the Dolphins then attempted an onside kick that was successfully recovered by the team. Only one play later, however, Buffalo was in possession of the football again.

After a deep pass attempt was originally ruled an incompletion, McDermott successfully challenged to get the call reversed to a fumble that was recovered by Buffalo’s Jordan Poyer. Six plays and 75-yards later, the Bills capitalized on the game’s first turnover: Allen hooked up with rookie tight end Dawson Knox on a 23-yard touchdown that put the visitors up 23-7 — a 16-point lead that did not last long as Miami scored a 101-yard return touchdown on the very next play.

Coming out of the half up 23-14, Buffalo’s defense forced another punt to open which was followed by a nine-play, 53-yard scoring series. This time, Allen himself had the honor of taking the football into the end zone: the former first-round draft pick scrambled from eight yards out to increase the Bills’ lead to 16 points again. In the early fourth quarter and after an exchange of punts, it shrank to 10 after the Dolphins’ third touchdown of the day (and an unsuccessful two-point try).

Buffalo replied in style, however, and went on an eight-play touchdown drive that covered 62 yards and took four minutes off the clock. Once again, Allen connected with Brown to cap the series — this time from nine yards out — and to finalize the score: the Bills’ defense forced turnovers on downs on the next three drives in a row.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

3. New York Jets (3-7)

Week 11: 34-17 win against the Washington Redskins, in Landover MD

One week after registering their second victory of the season, the New York Jets were able to add their third by beating the Redskins 34-17 in Washington. The game was a lopsided affair pretty much from the get-go and saw the visitors dominate every facet of the game against an opponent in disarray. While the Jets ultimately won “only” by two touchdowns, the victory was never truly in doubt after the team jumped to an early lead.

The Jets received the opening kickoff and immediately started marching down the field. Led by second-year quarterback Sam Darnold, the team went 75 yards in seven plays and took a 6-0 lead on a 20-yard pass to tight end Daniel Brown. While the ensuing extra point kick was missed wide to the left, the Jets were able to add to their lead in the second period — in part because of a roughing the kicker call against Washington that turned a field goal try into a new set of downs.

Two plays later, Darnold threw his second touchdown pass of the day to put the Jets up 13-0: he connected with wide receiver Robby Anderson from six yards out. New York’s defense, meanwhile, continued its dominant performance against rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins and the Washington offense and quickly gave the football back to Gang Green’s offense. This time, however, the unit was stopped when Darnold threw an interception that was returned to the Jets’ 16-yard line.

Four plays after the turnover — including a massive 15-yard sack by defensive lineman Nathan Shepherd — Washington got on the board with a 44-yard field goal. Momentum continued to shift towards the team on the very next play, when returnman Vincynt Smith fumbled the runback and saw it recovered by the Redskins. Fortunately for the Jets, they were unable to take advantage as a field goal attempt six plays later hit the right upright.

The Jets ultimately were able to add to their lead late in the second quarter, when Darnold hit three big passes in a row: first, he connected with Le’Veon Bell for a gain of 21 yards, followed by passes to tight end Ryan Griffin for 45 and Griffin again for a 16-yard touchdown. New York entered the locker rooms at halftime up 20-3, and made another big play on the first drive of the second half when it forced a defensive turnover on downs.

The team was unable to take advantage but remained in control of the contest, especially when Darnold threw his fourth touchdown pass of the game in the early fourth quarter — this one to wide receiver Jamison Crowder — to put New York up 27-3. To make matters worse for Washington, linebacker Neville Hewitt registered an interception on the very next play from scrimmage that ultimately turned into a 1-yard touchdown run by Bell.

While the Redskins scored a touchdown to answer the score and the Jets’ Sam Ficken missed a 49-yard kick afterwards, it was too little for the game’s outcome to meaningfully change. A final touchdown by Washington only made the score slightly better and changed it to 34-17.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

4. Miami Dolphins (2-8)

Week 11: 37-20 loss against the Buffalo Bills, in Miami Gardens FL

After winning each of their last two games following an 0-8 start, the Miami Dolphins suffered another loss in Week 11: Miami hosted the Buffalo Bills, but struggled on both offense and defense while falling behind early and never coming back. While the team of first-year head coach Brian Flores again had some moments it was just far too inconsistent to compete for 60 minutes — especially in the trenches on both sides of the ball.

Miami kicked the football off to open the game and immediately had to watch the visitors drive to their first score of the day. While the defense held the offense to just four yards on a 3rd and 9, the team still had to surrender a 51-yard field goal that put it in a 3-0 hole. The Dolphins’ offense, meanwhile, was unable to get going and after a quick three-and-out had to punt the ball back to a Bills team that added another field goal on its next possession.

The Dolphins’ next drive went slightly better, but the offense still stalled as negative plays — quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was sacked twice on the series, and seven times total on the day — ultimately forced another punt. Again, Buffalo took advantage as the defense surrendered an 81-yard touchdown drive that took just five plays and ended with a 40-yard scoring pass. Down 13-0, Miami responded with... another punt that led to Bills points.

After another field goal was followed by yet another punt, the Dolphins defense finally forced a three-and-out of its own to set up the team’s best drive of the day up to that point. Fitzpatrick led the offense into the red zone in just three plays — including a 50-yard pass to DeVante Parker — before Kalen Ballage ended the series with a 3-yard touchdown run. Down nine points in the late second quarter, Miami then decided to go for an onside kick and was successful when kicker Jason Sanders himself recovered it.

Momentum shifted back to the Bills quickly, though: on the very next play, an apparent 20-yard completion to wide receiver Allen Hurns was overturned upon challenge and turned into a fumble that was recovered by Buffalo. Six plays and 75 yards later, Miami’s deficit increased to 23-7. Once again, however, the Dolphins found a way to respond as returnman Jakeem Grant ran the ensuing kickoff back 101 yards for the team’s second touchdown of the day.

Coming out of the half, Miami was in a position to make the game a one-score contest again but again did not go anywhere before punting the football back. As was the case all day long, the Dolphins’ defense failed to give the football back to its struggling offense and instead had to surrender another touchdown drive that put the visitors up by 16 points again. It took the home team until the early fourth quarter to cut into the deficit again when Jalen Grant scored from seven yards out.

With the ensuing two-point try unsuccessful, Miami found itself down 10 with more than 14 minutes left in the game. However, the Bills added another touchdown on the next possession to effectively put the game out of reach despite 10:30 being still left on the clock. Ultimately, the Dolphins offense ended the game in the appropriate fashion: the unit had to turn over the football on downs on three consecutive drives to end the game.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.