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AFC East Report: Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa era starts with a victory

Related: Patriots vs Bills recap: 24-21 loss drops New England to 2-5 on the season

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Miami Dolphins Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The eighth 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 pulling further away, to the New York Jets remaining on their way to the number one overall draft pick, to the Miami Dolphins starting a new era with a win.

Let’s dive straight in.

1. Buffalo Bills (6-2)

Week 8: 24-21 win over the New England Patriots, in Orchard Park NY

Buffalo Bills 24, New England Patriots 21: Rapid recap and notes

Circling the Wagons: Buffalo Bills beat the New England Patriots 24-21 to go 6-2

Buffalo Bills are running out of demons to exorcise

Buffalo Bills snap counts vs. New England Patriots: Every game they’re shufflin’

Bills run game succeeded thanks to Patriots personnel choices

Mafia Mavens: Patriots and polls

Recapping five Bills to watch against New England

Recapping five Patriots to watch against Buffalo

Takeaways: Running games determine outcome of Bills’ win over Patriots

One Stat Recap: Buffalo Bills run to victory against the New England Patriots

Penalty recap: Patriots vs Bills was mostly clean

Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots: Rookie review

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

2. Miami Dolphins (4-3)

Week 8: 28-17 win over the Los Angeles Rams, in Miami Gardens FL

Starting first-round rookie Tua Tagovailoa for the first time, the Dolphins exited their bye week with an 11-point win over the visiting Rams. The team’s offense, however, was not the main reason for the victory as Miami was clearly outperformed when measured on a statistical basis: the team gained fewer yards (145 to 471), averaged only 3.0 yards per play (to 5.1), had only eight first downs (to 31), and held the ball only 23:31 minutes. However, it still won. Why? Let’s find out.

After forcing a punt on the game’s first drive, the Dolphins sent Tagovailoa and the offense onto the field. However, it was a short possession as the youngster was strip-sacked deep in his own territory on just his second snap. Three plays later, the Rams were up 7-0.

While Miami had strong starting field position on the ensuing drive after a 45-yard Jakeem Grant kickoff return, it also did not put any points on the board. After one first down, the Dolphins had to punt. Then the Rams had to punt. Then the Dolphins had to punt again. Then Miami’s defense made their first big play of the day: defensive lineman Christian Wilkins registered an interception, setting up the offense in L.A. territory. Six plays and 33 yards later, Tagovailoa found DeVante Parker for the first touchdown throw of his career.

What followed was a wild second quarter. One play after a Rams punt, Myles Gaskin lost a fumble that set Los Angeles up at the Miami 7-yard line. Two plays later, Emmanuel Ogbah sacked Rams quarterback Jared Goff, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Andrew Van Ginkel and returned 78 yards for a Miami touchdown.

Four offensive plays from scrimmage, the Dolphins again found the end zone: after a Rams three-and-out, Jakeem Grant returned the ensuing punt 88 yards for another score to put the home team up 21-7. Without the offense touching the ball, and with only 1:17 of game time passing, Miami had completely taken over the game. And that was not all.

The Dolphins’ defense was rolling now and ended the Rams’ next two drives with takeaways by former Patriots: an interception by Eric Rowe was followed by a fumble recovery by Kyle Van Noy. While the first turnover did not lead to points, the second was capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by Myles Gaskin. Even though Los Angeles added a field goal before the half, the team was still down 28-10 at intermission.

After a wild first half, the second was rather uneventful. Its first five drives all ended with punts, before Miami’s defense held on a 4th-and-10. Miami answered with another punt, which set up a 89-yard touchdown drive by the Rams. The team again threatened to score on its next possession but missed a 48-yard field goal wide to the left, allowing Miami to run the clock down to under a minute. Los Angeles was unable to make up its deficit, with the Dolphins improving to 4-3 despite a quiet outing from their offense.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

3. New England Patriots (2-5)

Week 8: 24-21 loss against the Buffalo Bills, in Orchard Park NY

Patriots vs Bills recap: 24-21 loss drops New England to 2-5 on the season

Instant analysis from Patriots’ 24-21 loss to Bills

What was the biggest play from the Patriots’ loss to the Bills?

Patriots offense shows progress in Buffalo, but ‘moral victories mean nothing’

Cam Newton’s reaction to his game-ending fumble against the Bills? ‘It’s unacceptable’

4 winners and 5 losers from the Patriots’ 24-21 loss to the Bills

The Lane Breakdown: Another heartbreaking loss for the struggling Patriots

Patriots vs Bills snap counts: New England goes defensive back-heavy even without Stephon Gilmore

Patriots follow a familiar script in their loss to the Bills

The Scho Show: This is the end?

Patriots vs. Bills: Fan Notes from the Game

Patriots vs Bills injury analysis: New England loses two starting defenders

Cam Newton vows that the Patriots ‘will turn this thing around’

Jason McCourty on the Patriots’ situation: ‘I went through an 0-16 season. I’ve been through worse’

Patriots vs Bills advanced stats: Jakobi Meyers is making a strong case for more playing time

Coping With Loss: Buffalo Bills Edition

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

4. New York Jets (0-8)

Week 8: 35-9 loss against the Kansas City Chiefs, in Kansas City MO

Positive things first: the Jets’ run defense was pretty good against Kansas City, holding the Chiefs to a 2.5-yard average per carry. Almost everything else, on the other hand, went as expected. The reigning world champions dominated from the get-go, with Adam Gase’s team not standing a chance and losing by 26 points.

The game started with Kansas City on offense, and the unit quickly marched 90 yards in just seven plays to score its first touchdown and go up 7-0. The Jets, meanwhile, replied with a competent-looking series of their own. While Sam Darnold and company were unable to find the end zone, they did cut their deficit to four points thanks to a 39-yard Sergio Castillo field goal. The Chiefs, on the other hand, scored another touchdown on their next drive.

New York again scored on its ensuing possession, with Castillo making a 55-yard field goal to bring the score to 14-6. Following a Kansas City punt, the Jets’ kicker added another three points when he made a 48-yarder. From that point on, however, things went downhill for the visitors.

Not only did the Chiefs reply with their third touchdown of the day, they also were able to block another Castillo field goal try as time expired in the first half. What followed in the second was a defensive-dominated outing, at least early on: the two clubs exchanged three-and-outs before New York stopped Kansas City on a 4th-and-1 inside the red zone. However, another Jets’ three-and-out set up another Chiefs score.

With the home team up 28-9 late in the third period, the Jets turned the football over for the first time when tight end Chris Herndon fumbled the football. The Chiefs did not take advantage, but eventually did increase their lead again when Patrick Mahomes threw his fifth touchdown pass of the afternoon. Neither team did anything of note afterwards.

The Jets are therefore heading into their game with the Patriots still winless.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.