AFC East Breakdown: Week 9
By Brian Miller
(Brian Miller writes for Phin Phanatic, which is FSB’s Dolphins blog. Representing the rest of the AFC East are Musket Fire, The J-E-T Press and The BuffaLowdown.)
If your a fan of the AFC East you probably woke up this morning wondering what the hell was going on. The day started with a bunch of if’s and maybe’s and ended with a 3 game tie for first and the last place team one game back. It was a weekend that saw the Jets play like the Jets are expected to play, the Patriots lose a nail biter on Sunday night, and the Bills losing for the 2nd weekend in a row. It also saw the Miami Dolphins climb back to 4-4 the first time since 2003 the team has been even at this point in the season. (They did finish 9-7 in 2005 after a 6 game win streak to finish out the season). Here is this weeks breakdown.
Looking back: The Bills faced off this past weekend against the New York Jets and the game did not dissappoint…for the Jets fans. The Bills lost for the first time at Ralph Wilson stadium this season and failed to score a rushing TD for the first time this season as well. The offensive line surrendered 5 sacks of Trent Edwards who also threw a “Pick 6” touchdown.
Looking ahead: The Bills will not find smoother sailing for another week as they will play the New England Patriots in Foxboro. The Bills have lost two games in a row and their outright lead in the AFC East. A loss to the Patriots will put them at 0-3 in the division making the remaining division games more important as tie-breakers could easily factor into the AFC East winner this season.
Miami Dolphins 4-4:
Looking back: The Dolphins are sitting one game out of first after beating the Denver Broncos 26-17. While the Fins did not move the ball well on the ground they were able to move the ball through the air to combat the 8 man fronts that the Broncos were giving them. This is the 2nd win in a row following tough losses to Houston and Baltimore. The Dolphins held the Broncos to 14 yards rushing and kept WR Brandon Marshall under lock and key 99 percent of the game. The defense added a “Pick 6” and Joey Porter added to his league leading sack total which now stands at 11.5.
Looking ahead: The Phins will play at home next week as they take on the banged up Seattle Seahawks. The Dolphins will not be able to join the other AFC East leaders for first next week but will need a win to stay in contention for the division, something many Dolphins fans would have been dreaming of only a short 2 months ago.
Looking back: The Patriots lost to a very unimpressive Indianappolis Colts team on Sunday night which puts into focus the problems that the Patriots are dealing with on the offensive injury front. They even turned to the “Wildcat” formation with little help and wisely left it shelved most of the game. The Patriots were unable to pass the ball consistently and on two occassions QB Matt Cassell overthrew a wide-open receiver while on another Jabbar Gaffney dropped an easy touchdown. The talent seems to be there but they are nowhere near playing their potential and the ageing defense is starting to show signs of breaking down.
Looking ahead: A pivotal interdivison game this week as the Pat’s play host to the Buffalo Bills. The Patriots will try and put the Bills on notice that it is their division to win or lose and not their neighbors in NY. Matt Cassell will have to be on his game and the good news is that the Patriots may be getting RB Sammy Morris back into the lineup where they desperately need some help.
Looking back: Brett Favre got his first proffessional victory in his 3rd attempt at Ralph Wilson Stadium but he failed to throw a touchdown…to his own team that is. He did manage a “Pick 6” INT. In fact, the Jets put the ball in the endzone only 1 time during the game on offense. The Jets needed a “pick 6” of their own and 4 FG’s from Jay Feely.
Looking ahead: The Jets would like to think they have next weekend off and if they think like that, they will be the ones flying home empty handed. The Jets will face the St. Louis Rams in a game that the Jets need to win in order to keep pace at the top of the East. The game will be bring the Jets back home to “Giants” stadium and with a 5-3 record, there is little reason to believe that they will not be 6-3 a week from today.