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How I See It: AFC East Stock Watch

12/8/2009

Falling

1. Bill Belichick, Patriots coach: His refusal to kick on fourth down might've cost the Patriots a second game. He declined to take three points Sunday, opting to go for it from the Dolphins' 6-yard line in the second quarter. The Dolphins stopped them and went on to win the game by a point.

2. Patriots' pass defense: The Dolphins were known as a run-dominant team entering Sunday, but against the Patriots, quarterback Chad Henne and receiver Davone Bess had career days. The Dolphins, who gave up one sack on 53 pass plays, even threw out of their end zone, showing the Patriots' defense no respect.

3. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills quarterback: He put together a couple of nice games and seemed to have developed chemistry with Terrell Owens. But on Thursday night, Fitzpatrick completed nine of his 23 attempts for 98 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. He had a 34.3 passer rating. The Jets sacked him three times, reducing the Bills to 71 net passing yards.

Rising

1. Davone Bess, Dolphins receiver: The undrafted sophomore from Hawaii had the greatest game of his overlooked career. He caught 10 passes for 117 yards -- both personal bests -- and a touchdown in Sunday's big victory over the Patriots.

2. Thomas Jones, Jets running back: While most folks fixated on the Jets' erratic campaign and the exploits of rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez, Jones quietly surpassed 1,000 yards Thursday. Jones notched his sixth 100-yard game and is the driving force behind the NFL's best ground attack despite the loss of Leon Washington.

3. Dan Carpenter, Dolphins kicker: Another undrafted find last year for the Dolphins, he made a 41-yard field goal with 62 seconds remaining to beat the Patriots. Carpenter has missed only one try all season, and is tied with Ryan Longwell as the most accurate kicker at 95 percent.