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AFC East Report: Patriots stay in last place despite blowing out the Lions in Week 5

Related: Patriots vs. Lions: Defense pitches shutout in 29-0 New England win

Detroit Lions (0) Vs. New England Patriots (29) At Gillette Stadium Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The fifth week of the 2022 NFL regular season is in the books, and it’s now time for the latest installment of the AFC East Report. Once again, it is a positive one from a New England Patriots perspective: despite starting rookie backup quarterback Bailey Zappe, the team of head coach Bill Belichick steamrolled the Detroit Lions en route to a 29-0 victory.

The Patriots were not the only team in the division to come away with a W this week. The Buffalo Bills and New York Jets also celebrated victories, with only the Miami Dolphins coming up short.

With that all said, let’s take a look at each club’s Week 5 performance — both from afar and through the eyes of each SB Nation affiliate.

1. Buffalo Bills

Record: 4-1

Week 5: 38-3 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, in Orchard Park NY

This one was a blowout from the get-go. While the Bills offense was forced to start the game at its own 2-yard line, it was able to take a 7-0 lead in just three plays. An incomplete pass and run for no gain were followed by a 98-yard touchdown throw from Josh Allen to Gabriel Davis.

While the Steelers, led by first-time starter Kenny Pickett at quarterback, were able to cut into the deficit later in the first half via a field goal, Buffalo never came remotely close to being in danger. Allen throwing three touchdowns in the second quarter all but sealed the deal for the home team, giving the Bills a 31-3 halftime lead.

The team’s defense, meanwhile, never allowed Pickett and the Steelers offense to get into any sort of rhythm. Even though the game was not entirely perfect for the Bills — they had two turnovers and missed a field goal — they continued to show why they are arguably the best team in the NFL right now.

Buffalo Rumblings coverage:

2. New York Jets

Record: 3-2

Week 5: 40-17 win over the Miami Dolphins, in East Rutherford NY

Five weeks into the season, the Jets have already almost tied their win total from a year ago when they went 4-13. Their third victory was an impressive one, with Robert Saleh’s team blowing out the visiting Dolphins with a final score of 40-17.

Miami having to rely on its third-string quarterback obviously did not help its cause, but the Jets still had to take advantage of a favorable situation. They did just that, and showed a particular ability to make big plays in crunch time. As a result, New York started pulling away in the fourth quarter.

After entering it up only 19-17, the team outscored its division rivals 21-0. Three rushing touchdowns — including one from rookie Breece Hall, who had 197 yards from scrimmage — plus a Quinnen Williams fumble recovery payed the way for the Jets to come away victoriously. As a result, they are now above .500 this deep into the season for the first time since 2017.

Gang Green Nation coverage:

3. Miami Dolphins

Record: 3-2

Week 5: 40-17 loss to the New York Jets, in East Rutherford NY

With starter Tua Tagovailoa in concussion protocol, the Dolphins already entered their game in New York down to backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Things went from bad to worse real quick: Bridgewater’s very first snap saw him knocked out of the game with a concussion of his own, while he was also flagged for intentional grounding in the end zone.

Down 2-0, Miami had to insert rookie third-stringer — Sounds familiar? — Skylar Thompson and by the early second quarter was already down 12-0. Nonetheless, the Dolphins fought their way back into the game and even had a chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter. However, a Jason Sanders 54-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right.

From that point on, things started to unravel. The Jets scored a touchdown seven plays after the miss, with Thompson turning the ball over on his very next snap. One play later, New York was up 33-17 and the game effectively over. As a consequence, Miami has now dropped from 3-0 to 3-2 — and from first to third place in the division.

The Phinsider coverage:

4. New England Patriots

Record: 2-3

Week 5: 29-0 win over the Detroit Lions, in Foxborough MA

Just like the Dolphins, the Patriots also had to rely on rookie third-string quarterback in Week 5. The difference was that Bailey Zappe was prepared as a starter in light of Mac Jones and Brian Hoyer both being out for the contest.

Zappe played some solid football, but the star of the show was New England’s defense. The unit shut out the highest scoring offense in football while also scoring six points of its own thanks to a Kyle Dugger scoop-and-score after teammate Matthew Judon forced a fumble. Additionally, the Patriots registered an interception by rookie cornerback Jack Jones and set an NFL record by holding its opponent 0-for-6 on fourth down.

On offense, meanwhile, Zappe was effective while Rhamondre Stevenson had a career day behind a strong offensive line performance. Long story short, it was a very good day for New England — even though the team remains in last place in the AFC East for now.

Pats Pulpit coverage: