It was December 10, 2006 and the New England Patriots just lost 21-0 to the Miami Dolphins. The Patriots would not lose another regular season game until this past weekend…at the hands of the Miami Dolphins. For the first time since week 4 of the 2005 season, the Patriots are not at the top of the division. That honor now belongs to a 3-0 Buffalo Bills team. The AFC East was supposed to belong to the New England Patriots. Instead, it now becomes the Bills to lose.
Buffalo Bills (3-0):
Looking Back: The Bills needed every second of their 3rd week contest vs. the Oakland Raiders to find their 3rd victory of the season. For most of the game, the Bills struggled. Finding themselves down 16 to 7 through 3 quarters, the Bills rallied for 17 points in the final 8 minutes of the 4th quarter. The final 3 coming on a Rian Lindell 38-yard field goal as the game clock expired.
Looking Ahead: The Bills will travel to St. Louis to face the 0-3 Rams. While no game in the NFL is easy, this may be one of the easier games on their schedule. The Rams defense has given up more touchdowns through the air than any other NFL team, and Bills QB Trent Edwards is finding his stride at the right time. The Bills will try and make it 4-0 on the season. For now, they sit atop the AFC East, all by themselves.
Miami Dolphins (1-2):
Looking Back: The Dolphins did what no other team has been able to do in almost two years of football, and that’s beat the New England Patriots in the regular season. The Phins did it on the legs and arm of RB Ronnie Brown. With a nearly flawless game plan, the Dolphins went up 21-6 at halftime and never looked back. With trick plays that kept the Patriots confused, Ronnie Brown scored 4 touchdowns on the ground and threw for another one. The win ended an 11-game road losing streak for the Dolphins and was only the 2nd win in 22 games for the team. It was the first for rookie head coach Tony Sparano.
Looking Forward: The Dolphins will enter the week with their first win of the season and will spend the week learning from it. The Dolphins have a bye week in the 4th weekend of football. They will face the San Diego Chargers in week 5.
New England Patriots (2-1):
Looking Back: Not many NE fans want to look back at the week 3 score. A 38-13 beating at the hands of the Miami Dolphins. Ending several streaks, the Patriots never were in the game being on the short end of the scoreboard after the Dolphins’ 2nd offensive series. The points were the most given up by the Patriots at home since 2004.
Looking Forward: The Patriots have a bye in week 4 but will spend the week trying to figure out what went wrong and how they can get QB Matt Cassel more protection. The loss on Sunday exposed a weakness in Cassel. He gets flustered when playing from behind under pressure.
New York Jets (1-2):
Looking Back: The New York Jets were supposed to have done everything right this off-season. Brought in the best free agents, brought in Brett Favre, and were poised to make a run at the AFC East division title. 3 weeks into the season and so far the Jets look like a monumental mistake. Down 31-14 in the first half to San Diego, the Jets’ fall in the 2nd half was just as unimpressive. 2 games back of division-leading Buffalo and one game back of the New England Patriots, they find themselves tied with Miami.
Looking Forward: The Jets will play host to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 4. The Cardinals will go into NY with a 2-1 record. The Jets will find themselves with their backs against the wall as they try and find a way to stop the WR duo of Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. While this is not a “must win” game for the Jets, a loss could begin to rattle the wheels. The lone Jets’ victory came in week 1 against the Miami Dolphins and that took a final second interception to stave off a come-from-behind victory for Miami. The Jets are not looking like a team that was supposed to be competing for the division. Right now, they don’t look like a team that will compete for a Wild Card playoff spot.