Wednesday, October 17, 2012
AFC East Stock Watch
By James Walker
Let’s take a look at who is rising and falling in the AFC East.
1. New England Patriots in fourth quarter: Are the Patriots no longer clutch? New England has suddenly lost its clutch gene in fourth quarters this season. The Patriots are 0-3 in games decided by three points or fewer. They dropped another one Sunday in a 24-23 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. New England blew a 13-point lead in the final eight minutes. That is unusual for a team that's built its dynasty on staying cool under pressure. Is this an early-season fluke or a trend that will continue?
2. Patriots' red zone offense: New England had a chance to put Seattle away various times but couldn't get touchdowns in the red zone. The Patriots were 1-for-6 in that area. The clock management at the end of the first half was particularly bad, as the Patriots left points on the board. Playing in noisy Seattle sometimes makes you do weird things, and New England certainly wasn't sharp.
3. Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins tailback: Bush deserves credit for his honesty. Following Miami’s 17-14 win over the St. Louis Rams, Bush admitted he had his worst game of the season. Bush rushed for 17 yards on 12 carries. Bush ran east and west too often instead of north and south. You cannot do that against St. Louis’ fast front seven on defense. Bush did contribute more in the passing game with five receptions for 44 yards.
1. Shonn Greene, New York Jets tailback: "Ground and pound" is finally back in New York. Greene rushed for a season-high 161 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries in a win over the Indianapolis Colts. This is the version of Greene the Jets wanted all season. New York is not a passing team. The Jets don’t have enough good, healthy receivers and quarterback Mark Sanchez cannot win consistently throwing the football. Greene is an important part of New York’s offense.
2. Dolphins: Miami picked itself up after a 1-3 start and climbed back to .500 with quality wins over the Cincinnati Bengals and Rams. Miami is starting to win close games, which is great news for a young team. The Dolphins have a solid front seven on defense and a rookie quarterback (Ryan Tannehill) who is getting better each week. The bye week should allow Miami time to correct some mistakes.
3. Buffalo Bills’ defense: Buffalo’s defense received a lot of criticism for allowing 97 points in its previous two games. But the Bills showed some resolve by answering the call in a 19-16 overtime win over the Arizona Cardinals. Buffalo registered five sacks and two turnovers in the win. Defensive end Mario Williams had his first two-sack game as a Bill and safety Jairus Byrd recorded two big interceptions. This is the kind of defensive performance expected of the Bills all season. They want to continue this momentum in Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans.