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AFC East Report: Bills start pulling away in the division ahead of their showdown with the Patriots

Related: Patriots vs 49ers recap: 33-6 blowout loss sees New England outmatched in all three phases

NFL: Buffalo Bills at New York Jets Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

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 for a look back at what happened in the New England Patriots’ division over the weekend — from the Buffalo Bills increasing their lead, to the New York Jets remaining on the road to the number one overall draft pick, to the Miami Dolphins having a bye.

1. Buffalo Bills (5-2)

Week 7: 18-10 win over the New York Jets, in East Rutherford NJ

The Bills may not have played their best football against the lowly Jets, but they can still be happy with the result: despite not scoring a touchdown all day, the team won with a final score of 18-10 while controlling the ball on offense and making big plays on defense. Accordingly, Buffalo is heading into its highly-anticipated matchup with the Patriots in a comfortable position and could further strengthen its case to claim the AFC East.

Sean McDermott’s squad opened the game on defense and allowed the Jets to drive down the field for the game’s first score, a 29-yard field goal. The Bills’ offense was in a position to possibly tie the game, but rookie kicker Tyler Bass sent a 45-yard kick off his own wide to the left — giving New York some solid field position to work with. The team nearly capitalized, but Buffalo’s defense came up with its first truly big play to end the series at its own 18-yard line: a rushing attempt on 4th-and-1 was stopped before the conversion.

Starting deep in their own territory, Josh Allen and the Bills offense had another promising series that ended without points. Facing a 3rd-and-goal at the Jets’ 14, Buffalo’s quarterback was sacked and in the process lost the football. New York recovered, and, to make matters worse, was able to drive 80 yards for a touchdown and 10-0 lead midway through the second period.

Buffalo answered with another long series — one that finally ended with the team’s first points of the afternoon: Tyler Bass hit a 53-yard field goal to bring his team within seven. Momentum further continued to shift the team’s way thanks to an interception by practice squad call-up Dane Jackson with under 50 seconds remaining in the half. The pick set up another another field goal, with Bass splitting the uprights from 48 yards out as time expired.

Down four points coming out of the half, Buffalo started to take control of the game. A 58-yard kickoff return by ex-Jet Andre Roberts was followed by a 46-yard field goal as well as a short defensive series, which was followed by a 37-yard kick to give the team a 12-10 lead. A New York three-and-out later, Bass had another three points on his foot but missed wide left again from 37. The Jets were unable to capitalize, however, and went three-and-out for a second straight time.

Midway through the fourth quarter, a 29-yard field goal put the Bills up 15-10. Yet another Jets three-and-out was followed by a Bass’ sixth successful kick of the day — this one from 40 yards out — to finalize the score at 18-10. New York still had two minutes to possibly drive for the game-tying touchdown, but a Jerry Hughes interception ended the comeback bid while securing Buffalo its fifth win of the season.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

2. Miami Dolphins (3-3)

Week 7: Bye

Week 8: vs Los Angeles Rams (5-2)

Week 9: at Arizona Cardinals (5-2)

Week 10: vs Los Angeles Chargers (2-4)

Week 11: a Denver Broncos (2-4)

Week 12: at New York Jets (0-7)

When they come out of their bye this week, the Dolphins will have a new starting quarterback: first-round rookie Tua Tagovailoa was named as the team’s starter, replacing veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. It remains to be seen how Tagovailoa will fare compared to his rather productive predecessor, but we know that he will face a tough challenge in back-to-back weeks: the Rams and the Cardinals, both 5-2, are next on Miami’s schedule.

3. New England Patriots (2-4)

Week 7: 33-6 loss against the San Francisco 49ers, in Foxborough MA

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To watch highlights of the game, click here.

4. New York Jets (0-7)

Week 7: 18-10 loss against the Buffalo Bills, in East Rutherford NJ

Seven weeks into their season, the Jets continue to look like the worst team in football and one without any perspective of getting better. That said, there were some minor improvements at least early on against the Bills: the team took a 10-0 lead before collapsing and giving up 18 straight to fall to 0-7 on the season. It was another bad day of New York football in the year 2020.

After winning the coin toss and electing to receive the opening kickoff, the Jets marched 67 yards in 11 plays to take their first lead since Week 4: Sergio Castillo, who was elevated from the practice squad for the game, was good on a 29-yard field goal attempt to put the team up 3-0. While New York’s lead was in grave danger on the very next drive, the Bills failed to tie the game by shanking a field goal attempt of their own.

The Jets, meanwhile, continued to look better than ever before this season by marching right into the Buffalo red zone on their next possession. Facing a 4th-and-1 at the Bills’ 18-yard line, however, head coach Adam Gase decided to keep his offense on the field instead of attempting a chip shot field goal. The decision did not work in the favor of Gase’s team, with running back La’Mical Perine getting stopped before even reaching the line of scrimmage again.

Luckily for the Jets, their defense made a big play on the next possession. While the unit allowed Buffalo to drive into scoring range yet again, Tarell Basham knocked the football out of Bills quarterback Josh Allen’s hands on a sack with John Franklin-Myers recovering the fumble. Seven offensive plays later, New York was on the board again: capping an 80-yard drive, Perine found the end zone from five yards out to put his team up 10-0.

From that point on, however, things started to unravel for the Jets.

Not only did the Bills score their first field goal of the day on the next drive, quarterback Sam Darnold threw an interception on the ensuing possession. The turnover allowed Buffalo to cut into its deficit yet again before the half: with time running out, the team hit its second field goal to go into the locker rooms down only four points.

The Jets’ defense had an opportunity to get back some momentum on the first series of the third quarter, but was put in a bad position by the team’s kickoff coverage unit: a 58-yard return allowed the Bills to set up shop on the New York side of the field. A nine-play drive later — but one that covered only 19 yards — the Jets’ lead was down to one point following another Buffalo field goal.

What followed was an exercise in offensive futility. The Jets gained one first down on their next series before punting again. Their next three drives, meanwhile, went as follows: three-and-out, three-and-out, three-and-out. In the meantime, the team’s defense allowed the Bills to drive into field goal range four more times and add nine total points to turn a one-point deficit into an eight-point lead.

And despite all that, New York still had a chance to drive for a tie with two minutes left in the game. That drive, however, was a perfect example of the Jets’ offense under Adam Gase: an 8-yard sack was followed by a defensive penalty was followed by an offensive penalty was followed by a 2-yard sack was followed by a Darnold interception to end the game. The team’s last-ditch effort lost five net yards before a turnover.

It was bad. The Jets are bad.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.