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AFC East Report: Patriots fall to third place in their division

Related: Dolphins reportedly name Tua Tagovailoa their new starting quarterback

NFL: OCT 18 Broncos at Patriots Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The sixth week of NFL regular season action is in the books, which means that it is now also time for the new edition of this year’s AFC East Report and to look back at what happened in the New England Patriots’ division over the weekend — from the Buffalo Bills failing to pull away, to the Miami Dolphins improving to 3-3, to the New York Jets being their usual, let’s say consistent selves.

1. Buffalo Bills (4-2)

Week 6: 26-17 loss against the Kansas City Chiefs, in Orchard Park NY

The Bills entered Monday night’s game against the Chiefs in a very good position: their closest competitors in the AFC East at that point had lost one day earlier, with Buffalo having a chance to put even more space between itself and the 11-time defending division champions from New England. However, they failed to do that.

Playing in difficult conditions, the contests started slowly before the Bills scored the first points of the day: aided by a 24-yard Andre Roberts punt return, the home team went up 3-0 on a Tyler Bass field goal from 48 yards out. The lead did not last long, however, as the Chiefs marched 75 yards in only five plays on their ensuing possession to score the game’s first touchdown. Buffalo responded with a touchdown of its own, though.

Quarterback Josh Allen led his unit on a 13-play march that took 6:43 off the clock and ended with a scoring pass to Stefon Diggs. The back-and-forth continued on the next series, however, as Kansas City also had a long drive to retake the lead: the reigning world champions’ lasted 12 plays and 6:26, ending with a second touchdown pass from quarterback Patrick Mahomes to tight end Travis Kelce.

Down 13-10 after the Chiefs missed the extra point, Buffalo was unable to keep up the pace and failed to drive into scoring range on its next drive. However, the defense helped out on its next series to give Allen the ball back with a chance to tie the game late in the first half: linebacker A.J. Klein forced a fumble that was recovered by cornerback Josh Norman with six seconds remaining. A 15-yard pass to Stefon Diggs then set up a 52-yard field goal try, but Bass missed it wide to the right.

Instead of tying the contest, the Bills fell behind even farther in the third period. After the teams exchanged punts, the Chiefs went on a 13-play, 82-yard rally that took almost eight minutes off the clock and ended with their third touchdown. Buffalo, meanwhile, replied with a three-and-out — punting the ball back to Kansas City and watching the team add a field goal to make it a 23-10 lead with under 10 minutes to go in the game.

While Allen hooked up with Cole Beasley to bring his team within six points, the defense allowed Kansas City to execute another long drive that ended with a field goal. Down 26-17 with under two minutes to go, Buffalo was in desperation mode — and effectively saw the game come to an end when Allen was intercepted with 1:20 remaining.

All in all, the Bills did not play their best football against Kansas City. They gained just 206 yards of offense, while giving up 466 and allowing the Chiefs to convert 64 percent of their third downs. In combination with 247 rushing yards this allowed the visitors to control the rhythm of the game for most of the day, while Buffalo fell to 4-2 on the season.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

2. Miami Dolphins (3-3)

Week 6: 24-0 win over the New York Jets, in Miami Gardens FL

Six weeks into the season, the Dolphins under second-year head coach Brian Flores are in second place in the division, courtesy of the Patriots dropping their game against Denver, and of their own 24-0 victory over the visiting Jets. They are therefore now heading into their bye and the Tua Tagovailoa era — the rookie was reportedly named the team’s starter on Tuesday — with a 3-3 record.

The game against New York started slowly with neither side being able to generate much momentum. Midway through the first period, however, Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins offense started to march down the field quickly: an eight-play series that did not see a single third down was capped by a 4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Adam Shaheen.

Following another Jets punt, Fitzpatrick ad company had another scoring series that saw them move the ball rather easily: it took the team just 3:44 to drive 65 yards and find the end zone a second time with the veteran quarterback and wide receiver Preston Williams connecting from three yards out. At this point, the defense and special teams units started to chime in with big plays of their own: Xavien Howard registered an interception, while Jakeem Grant later added a 30-yard punt return.

The first play did not lead to points, the second did: three plays after Grant’s runback — including a 43-yard pass to Shaheen — Fitzpatrick hooked up with Durham Smythe to put the Dolphins up 21-0 in the late second quarter. The team had a chance to add to its lead after a New York three-and-out, but Fitzpatrick threw an interception at the Jets’ 5-yard line. Nevertheless, the Dolphins controlled the game heading into the half.

The third quarter started as an exchange of punts: four straight possessions ended in that fashion before the home team drove into field goal range to take a 24-0 lead on a Jason Sanders kick from 24 yards out. At this point in time, the game was pretty much over. The two teams exchanged more punts, Fitzpatrick threw another interception, and the Dolphins defense stopped New York on a 4th-and-3 to set up Tua Tagovailoa’s NFL debut and preserve the shutout.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

3. New England Patriots (2-3)

Week 6: 18-12 loss against the Denver Broncos, in Foxborough MA

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To watch highlights of the game, click here.

4. New York Jets (0-6)

Week 6: 24-0 loss against the Miami Dolphins, in Miami Gardens FL

The Jets did not just enter their game in Miami with an 0-5 record, they also had to go up against the Dolphins without starting quarterback Sam Darnold: the former first-round draft pick missed his second straight game because of a shoulder injury, prompting New York to start veteran Joe Flacco in his place. The former Super Bowl MVP, however, was unable to help its team register its first win of the season.

After New York started the game with two straight three-and-outs, Miami scored its first points: the home team was able to march 66 yards without any real opposition from the Jets’ defense to take a 7-0 lead. Flacco and company replied with a six-minute series that netted just 35 yards and ended with a punt. The Dolphins, meanwhile, scored another touchdown on their next possession.

Down 14-0 in the early second quarter, the Jets... went three-and-out again. Back-to-back sacks and a three-and-out on their next drive, however, could have given the team some much-needed momentum back. Instead, Flacco threw an interception. The Dolphins failed to take advantage of the pick, but eventually did add to their lead before the half when they scored their third touchdown of the game to go up 21-0.

The Jets did register an interception of their own shortly thereafter — Brian Poole picked off Ryan Fitzpatrick — but the play did not help the team cut into its three-touchdown deficit before intermission.

Coming out of the half, the Jets’ performance was more of the same. The defense had some solid possessions, but the offense simply failed to take advantage before Miami eventually scored once again to go up 24-0. While there were still almost 19 minutes of game time left at that point, New York’s hopes at a comeback were as dead as the Dodo.

The offense was unable to move the ball effectively behind a run-first approach, while the defense did make some positive plays but none that can be considered game-changing — even Marcus Maye’s fourth quarter interception did not fall into the category. At the end of the day, the Jets were shut out behind another terrible offensive outing and a defensive performance that was nowhere near good enough to adequately make up for it.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.