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Tuesday, December 29, 2009
How I See It: AFC East Stock Watch


NFC Stock Watch: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Falling

1. The Dolphins' sense of urgency: For the second game in a row, with their postseason hopes at stake, the Dolphins got mugged at the opening kickoff and couldn't fully recover. The Texans scored the first 27 points Sunday. A week earlier, the Titans rolled up a 24-6 lead in the third quarter and endured a 15-point fourth-quarter rally before winning in overtime.

2. Laurence Maroney, Patriots running back: He lost another fumble at the goal line, preventing the Patriots from capping an impressive drive to open Sunday's division-clinching victory over the Jaguars. Maroney didn't step foot on the field again. With Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris healthy, could Maroney stay on the sideline?

3. Marshawn Lynch, Bills running back: A deplorable season littered with bad games bottomed out Sunday. Lynch, a Pro Bowler last season, managed to come in below the career-low of 4 yards he set in Week 4 when he rushed three times for 3 yards Sunday against the Falcons. Lynch opened the season with a three-game suspension and lost his job as the featured back.

Rising

Tom Brady
Tom Brady threw for 267 yards and four touchdowns in Sunday's win over Jacksonville.
1. The Jets' good fortune: A week after head coach Rex Ryan declared his team's playoff hopes kaput, the Jets received a series of breaks that put them in control of their own destiny. The Dolphins, Jaguars and Ravens all lost, clearing the path. Then the Colts benched Peyton Manning with 5:36 left in the third quarter. The Jets went on to win with the help of a goofy fumble by backup quarterback Curtis Painter that the Jets recovered for a touchdown.

2. Tom Brady, Patriots quarterback: Amid concerns his various injuries were contributing to some less-than-stellar performances -- three of his previous four passer ratings were 74.0 or lower -- Brady had one of the most-efficient days of his career against the Jaguars. He threw for 267 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Most impressive was that he had just three incompletions on 26 attempts. One was dropped, and another was thrown away.

3. Brian Schottenheimer, Jets offensive coordinator: Schottenheimer called a game that prevented Mark Sanchez from throwing away their golden Indy opportunity. The Jets are 4-2 when Sanchez doesn't throw an interception, and he didn't have one against the Colts. The Jets got Thomas Jones going with 105 yards and a touchdown. Sanchez needed to do nothing beyond 12-of-19 for 106 yards with no touchdowns.