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AFC East Report: Patriots and Bills pulling away in the division

Let’s find out what happened in Week 2.

Buffalo Bills v New York Giants Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

The first week of the NFL’s 2019 regular season is in the books, and it was quite an interesting one for the AFC East. We saw a comeback win, a blowout loss, and a blowout victory. Along the way, two of the division’s teams collapsed in spectacular fashion at home while the ten-time defending champions are already off to a promising start. With all that in mind, let’s kick off another season of the AFC East Report.

1. New England Patriots (2-0)

Week 2: 43-0 win against the Miami Dolphins, in Miami Gardens FL

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To watch highlights of the game, click here.

2. Buffalo Bills (2-0)

Week 2: 28-14 win against the New York Giants, in East Rutherford NJ

After coming from behind to win their season opener in the very same stadium, the Buffalo Bills also trailed early on in their Week 2 game against the New York Giants: it took the home team just five plays to drive from its own 25 to the end zone, taking a 7-0 lead. The Bills defense was not the only unit off to a slow start, as the offense replied by going three-and-out. On its second possession, however, the unit tied the game.

Buffalo marched 75 yards in 10 plays and capped the drive with a 6-yard touchdown run by quarterback Josh Allen. Following a Giants three-and-out, Allen again led his club down the field on another long series: the Bills needed 11 plays to cover 70 yards, but ultimately went up 14-7 thanks to a 14-yard scamper by rookie running back Devin Singletary. At that point — early in the second period — the visitors were in clear control of the game.

After another New York punt, the Bills replied with their third touchdown of the first half. Driving 98 yards in seven plays behind a healthy mix of run and pass, Allen found the end zone through the air this time by hitting Isaiah McKenzie from 14 yards out. The Giants then had two chances to cut into their 14-point deficit before the half, but failed twice: first, the team missed a 48-yard field goal attempt; then, following a 60-yard punt return, quarterback Eli Manning was picked off by Bills linebacker Trent Murphy.

The third quarter started as a mostly defensive affair, with both clubs’ units being able to get off the field on third down. The result was five straight punts, before the scoring finally continued in the early fourth quarter: the Bills’ defense allowed its opponent to keep the ball for over six minutes and score a touchdown to make it a 21-14 game. Buffalo, however, answered with a long possession and touchdown of its own.

Sean McDermott’s team held the football for six minutes and marched 75 yards in 13 plays, with running back Frank Gore scoring from one yard out. The rest of the game saw the Bills keep the Giants from finding the scoreboard again: after Gore’s touchdown, the defense stopped the home team on a fourth down before safety Jordan Poyer registered a game-clinching interception with under four minutes left in the game.

Buffalo effectively ran the clock down, securing the team’s first 2-0 start since the 2014 season. And with an 0-2 Cincinnati Bengals team coming to town for the Bills’ first home game, it would also not be a surprise to see the team head into its Week 4 matchup against the Patriots with a 3-0 record.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

3. Miami Dolphins (0-2)

Week 2: 43-0 loss against the New England Patriots, in Miami Gardens FL

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To watch highlights of the game, click here.

4. New York Jets (0-2)

Week 2: 23-3 loss against the Cleveland Browns, in East Rutherford NJ

The New York Jets had a rough week. After blowing a 16-0 lead in the season opener against the Buffalo Bills, the team lost two of its most valuable players — wide receiver Quincy Enunwa was sent to injured reserve because of a season-ending neck injury; quarterback Sam Darnold was diagnosed with mononucleosis and was declared out for at least one game but likely more — before sliding into a blowout loss against the Cleveland Browns.

The game started off with the visitors receiving the opening kickoff and marching right down the field to take a 3-0 lead. New York’s defense allowed the Browns to hold the football for 11 plays while traveling 76 yards to kick a 23-yard field goal. The Jets, on the other hand, responded with a three-and-out before seeing Cleveland add another three points to its lead. The Jets, again, responded with a three-and-out.

In the early second period, the Browns expanded their lead by scoring the game’s first touchdown. Down 13-0, things only got worse for the Jets as they had to watch quarterback Trevor Siemian — already filling in for Darnold — go down with an ankle injury that later turned out to be season-ending. With the veteran out for the game, New York turned to second-year passer and former 199th overall draft pick Luke Falk.

Falk, or rather some hard running by Le’Veon Bell, led the team into scoring range for the first time all night. Kicker Sam Ficken then made a 46-yard attempt — his first in a Jets uniform — to cut his club’s deficit to 10 points. Before the half, however, the Browns were able to add another field goal to their total. The Jets were unable to respond coming out of the locker room, having to punt on their first two possessions before turning the football over after an unsuccessful 4th and 2 attempt deep inside Cleveland territory.

To make matters worse, the Browns’ very next play turned into a touchdown: Baker Mayfield hit Odell Beckham Jr. on a short pass over the middle that the three-time Pro Bowler took through the entire New York defense for an 89-yard score. The rest of the game was filled with mistakes on both sides, but neither team scoring again. When all was said and done, the Jets therefore fell to 0-2 thanks to the 23-3 loss.

Starting 0-2 for the second time in the last three years, the Jets are already facing an uphill climb to make the playoffs. After all, the team is missing its first and second string quarterback and has played uninspired football after going up 16-0 in Week 1 only to fall 17-16. And now, the NFL’s best team awaits on the road as Adam Gase’s team will have to travel to Foxborough to take on a 2-0 Patriots team that has outscored opponents 76-3 over the first two games.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.