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AFC East Report: Bills are one win from the division title

Related: Patriots vs Rams recap: New England’s season all but over after 24-3 loss

Pittsburgh Steelers v Buffalo Bills Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

The 14th week of NFL regular season action is in the books, which means that it is now also time for a new edition of the AFC East Report and for a look back at what happened in the New England Patriots’ division over the weekend — from the Buffalo Bills getting closer to their first AFC East title in a quarter century, to the Miami Dolphins’ wild card hopes taking a hit, to the New York Jets staying winless.

Let’s dive straight in.

1. Buffalo Bills (10-3)

Week 14: 26-15 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, in Orchard Park NY

Thanks to an impressive victory over the previously one-loss Steelers on Sunday night, Buffalo is now only one win away from its first division title since 1995. At 10-3, all the team needs to do is beat one of their remaining opponents — the Denver Broncos, the Patriots, or the Dolphins — to capture the division crown. While it remains to be seen whether or not they can actually finish the job, their performance against Pittsburgh suggests that the Bills will eventually do that.

The game itself started as a defensive affair that saw the visitors throw the first punch when they intercepted Josh Allen on the game’s third drive. However, Buffalo’s D stood its ground and forced a three-and-out — par for the course in the first half. The next big play, after all, also was a Bills turnover: Dawson Knox lost the football for a fumble, which was recovered by the Steelers and set them up at the Bills’ 30-yard line.

Three plays later, Pittsburgh was in the end zone to take a 7-0 lead. The touchdown did not break the game open, though, with neither team being able to generate much offense afterwards.

Following the Bills’ first scoring drive in the late second quarter — a 58-yard series capped by a Tyler Bass 34-yard field goal — the Steelers had another chance to add to their lead. However, Buffalo’s defense rose to the occasion by not just registering its first turnover but also by putting points on the board: Taron Johnson caught an interception and promptly returned it 51 yards to give his team a 9-7 lead at the half.

Quarter Three saw the home team finally find its groove and start playing complementary football. The opening drive of the half ended with with a 19-yard touchdown throw from Allen to Stefon Diggs, which was followed by a defensive three-and-out. The very next possession again ended with a touchdown, as Allen connected with Gabriel Davis from 13 yards out.

In just nine minutes of game time, the Bills had turned a 7-0 deficit into a 23-7 lead.

Pittsburgh did make it a one-possession game again in the early fourth period, but the Bills answered the team’s touchdown with another score of its own: Allen and his men marched 61 yards in 11 plays to go up 23-15 on a 23-yard field goal. With eight minutes to go, however, the game was far from over. Enter Levi Wallace, who made an acrobatic interception to end the Steelers’ next drive.

What followed was an impressive seven-minute series that saw Buffalo run out the clock: the team converted three third downs and prohibited its opponent from touching the ball again. Buffalo 23, Pittsburgh 15.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

2. Miami Dolphins (8-5)

Week 14: 33-27 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, in Miami Gardens FL

Going up against the reigning world champions, the Dolphins generally played a good game. Eventually, however, they did not take advantage of their opponents’ miscues and left too many points on the table to keep up with the Chiefs’ high-flying attack.

While the Dolphins started the game with a three-and-out, the team’s defense made a big play to end Kansas City’s first possession: Byron Jones was able to intercept Patrick Mahomes and give his team some solid field position. Miami failed to take advantage, however, as Jason Sanders missed a 45-yard field goal at the end of the ensuing series.

The team’s defense, however, continued its solid play by forcing the Chiefs to lose 32 yards on their next drive — 30 of which on a monster sack by Jerome Baker. Following that three-and-out, the offense was able to get on the board thanks to a seven-play drive that ended with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Tua Tagovailoa to Mike Gesicki.

Two plays later, the Dolphins defense made another big play when Eric Rowe intercepted Mahomes for a second time. That pick set up another score, with Sanders splitting the uprights from 31 yards out to give his team a 10-0 lead. It did not take long, however, for the Chiefs to respond: just four plays later, Tyreek Hill reached the end zone on a 32-yard carry. At that point, the tide began shifting Kansas City’s way.

Following an interception by Tagovailoa, the Chiefs added another touchdown to take a 14-10 lead into the half.

Coming out of it, it took just seven plays for the visitors to double their point total. On the third play of their opening drive Mahomes and Hill connected for a 44-yard touchdown. Three plays by the Miami offense later, Kansas City added to its lead when Mecole Hardman ran a punt back 67 yards. With just two minutes gone in the third quarter, Kansas City was suddenly up 18 points.

That deficit was on the verge of growing even further when Miami’s defense finally made another big play: Byron Jones forced a fumble against Hardman in the red zone, and Kamu Grugier-Hill recovered it. That momentum shift did not live long, however, as Tagovailoa was sacked in the end zone for a safety only two plays later.

Following Miami’s third quarter from hell, the team finally was able to find its footing again. First, Xavien Howard registered an interception that was followed by Tagovailoa capping a six-play, 80-yard series with a 29-yard touchdown throw to Gesicki. After a defensive three-and-out, the Dolphins added another touchdown to come within six points of the Chiefs — the team’s rookie quarterback broke the plane from a yard out.

Kansas City, however, was able to put the dagger in on its next drive. Not only did the team run the clock down to only a little over a minute left, it also added three more points to go up 33-24. A short field goal drive by the Dolphins came too late, and the game officially ended when the ensuing onside kick was recovered by the Chiefs.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.

3. New England Patriots (6-7)

Week 14: 24-3 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, in Inglewood CA

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To watch highlights of the game, click here.

4. New York Jets (0-13)

Week 14: 40-3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, in Seattle WA

One week after a last-second loss against the Las Vegas Raiders, the Jets were blown out by the Seahawks on the road. The game was close for one quarter, but Adam Gase’s team — one that saw linebackers coach Frank Bush take over as defensive play caller — failed to produce anything of substance on either side of the ball afterwards.

New York did start the contest reasonably well, though, by driving 48 yards in nine plays to go up 3-0 on a 45-yard Sean Castillo field goal. That lead did not last long: just six plays later, Russell Wilson threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to put his team up 7-3 — a deficit that proved too big to overcome for the lackluster Jets.

Following an exchange of punts, the Seahawks reached the end zone again to go up 14-3. One play later, Frank Gore lost a fumble. Four plays after that, Seattle was up 17-3.

The Jets did fight back on the next drive, but they eventually had to watch a 37-yard field goal kick sail wide to the right. One series later, a 41-yard kick had a similar fate only on the other side. While Castillo’s first miss did not set up any Seahawks points, the second led to another touchdown to put the team up 23-3. Castillo then missed a third field goal try — this one from 43 — to end a nightmarish second quarter.

The third quarter did not start much better for the Jets as they surrendered a 75-yard drive that ended with a touchdown throw by Wilson. The Jets then went three-and-out to set up yet another touchdown drive. While New York’s offense tried to find any rhythm, the Seahawks put their backup quarterback — former Jets QB Geno Smith — in, and he led them to a field goal on his second drive to finalize the score at 40-3.

New York is therefore still well on its way to go 0-16 and earn the number one overall draft pick next year.

To watch highlights of the game, click here.