JETS / BUCCANEERS
This was a classic duel by 2 great defenses stifling the offense or 2 bumbling offenses that couldn’t help being stopped. You can take your pick. The game had 3 drives over 50 yards (52,55,61) with the 1st one coming in late in the 3rd quarter.
Neither QB turned in an especially noteworthy performance but didn’t embarrass themselves either. The lack of a running game by either team added to the overall mediocrity on display. Doug Martin of the Buccaneers rushed for 65 yards on 24 carries. For the Jets Bilal Powell had 29 yards on 12 carries while Chris Ivory added another 15 on 10 carries. Kellen Winslow was the star of the day with 7 catches for 79 yards and a TD on 8 targets and Vincent Jackson had 6 catches for 154 yards on 13 targets. All in all this was a game you could have skipped watching half the game and not missed anything.
Fortunately for the Jets they next travel to New England where the Patriots seem to have forgotten what they should do in the red zone.
PATRIOTS / BUFFALO
The pro-Patriot gathering I was part of highlighted the different expectations of the fan bases. On the TV you could see the excitement of the Bills fans as the game stayed close and especially when the lead changed. The Patriot fans on the other hand seemed deadly serious, this was a close game throughout and who gets excited with a one score lead. The only excitement I felt was late in the 4th when Buffalo took possession on the 20 with 5:51 left to play. Expecting the Bills to run time off the clock the Bills instead threw on 2nd and 3rd down and turned the ball over to the Patriots with 4:31 left. 4 Minutes and 23 seconds later the Patriots kicked the winning field goal.
EJ Manuel didn’t disappoint the Bills fans with an 18/27 for 150 yards and 2 TD’s. Its better than it looks when you consider his best receiver was Fred Jackson’s 4 catch 41 yard performance.
Brady on the other hand turned in 29/52 for 288 yards, 2 TD’s, 1 INT, & 1 goal line fumble. Shane Vereen had 14 carries for 104 yards and another 58 receiving while Amendola added 10 catched for 104 yards, and Edelman 7 catches for 79 yards and 2 TD’s. In a close game with 5 turnovers and the winning score leaving only 5 seconds on the clock it was a disappointing loss for the Bills and the definition of “winning ugly” for the Patriots.
The Patriots return home for a Thursday night game against the New York Jets and the Bills prepare to host the Carolina Panthers.
DOLPHINS / BROWNS
Miami fans have to be pleased with the performance of 2nd year QB Ryan Tannehill on a day when the running game provided little support as the Dolphins were held to 20 yards on 23 carries.
Tannehill, surrounded by his new offensive weapons in the receiving corps passed for 272 yards and a touchdown, leading the Dolphins to a 23-10 win on Sunday over the Cleveland Browns. Brian Hartline led the receivers with 9 catches for 114 yards, followed by Gibson with 7 for 77 yards, and Clay with 5 catches for 54 yards. If there is cause for concern it would be the 1 catch (15 years) on 5 target performance of Mike Wallace and the 10 carry 3 yard performance of Lamar Miller.
It’s only one win, but it was a good one for the Dolphins, who have had four consecutive losing seasons and are expecting much more this season.
Next week Miami travels to Indianapolis to take on the Colts.
All in all it was a good week for the AFCE with the maximum 3 wins it could achieve. The AFC North who will meet the east teams during the season are off to a 0-4 start and the NFC South teams opened 1-3