AFC East: 2010 Week 14 Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Dolphins 10, Jets 6

December, 12, 2010
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Boos filled the Meadowlands, where the New York Jets fell to the Miami Dolphins in one of the sloppiest games of the year.

What it means: For the third time in seven home games, the Jets failed to score a touchdown. The Jets have lost two in a row for the first time this year, while the Dolphins once again avoided back-to-back losses and are back above .500 for the sixth time.

MVP: How bad was the game? The most important player might have been Dolphins punter Brandon Fields. When the Dolphins weren't fumbling, Fields made sure the Jets had long drives ahead. He punted 10 times, averaging an eye-popping 56.4 yards. He had a long of 69 yards.

Pop-gun QB duel: It's amazing either quarterback could win with these stat lines. Mark Sanchez completed 17 of 44 passes for 216 yards and no touchdowns with one interception and at least three dropped interceptions. Chad Henne completed five of his 18 throws for 55 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions but two lost fumbles. The Dolphins had 30 net yards passing.

What a waste: The Jets' defense made three plays that could have shifted momentum, but the offense turned them into a grand total of three points. Calvin Pace had a second-quarter strip sack in Dolphins territory that led to a Jets field goal, but not before a wide-open Santonio Holmes let a surefire touchdown pass drop through his hands in the end zone. Jason Taylor recovered a fumble at the 50 that brought no points. Brodney Pool pounced on a botched Henne play that rolled 35 yards back to the Jets' 42-yard line, but the turnover brought no points.

League review: Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll went down late in the third quarter. He stumbled on the Jets' sideline while covering a punt, and CBS Sports replays appeared to show a Jets staffer sticking his knee out to trip Carroll intentionally. Carroll did return to the game, but it looked filthy to me.

Injury report: Jets right tackle Damien Woody, who has been battling a knee injury for a few weeks, left the game in the first half and did not return. No update was immediately available.

What's next: The Jets will visit the Pittsburgh Steelers and then the Chicago Bears after that. The Dolphins will welcome the Buffalo Bills to Sun Life Stadium next week.

Rapid Reaction: Patriots 36, Bears 7

December, 12, 2010
CHICAGO -- Rapid reaction from the Patriots’ stunning 36-7 blowout of the Bears at snowy, windy Soldier Field.

What it means: The Patriots improve to 11-2 and clinch a playoff spot, but this type of convincing effort figures to have analysts thinking about much more than just a playoff spot for this team. The Patriots, who had a 33-0 lead at halftime, look like a well-oiled machine capable of a Super Bowl run.

Impressive burst from Patriots over seven quarters: The Patriots have been on a tear since the fourth quarter of their Thanksgiving win over the Lions. From the fourth quarter of that game, through the second quarter of Sunday’s win over the Bears, the Patriots outscored opponents 99-3.

Brady’s interception streak intact: Quarterback Tom Brady continues his remarkable stretch of error-free football. He has now gone eight games without an interception, his last pick coming Oct. 17 on a Hail Mary at the end of regulation against the Ravens. Brady had a few passes tipped the Bears almost intercepted. His MVP candidacy only grew stronger after this effort.

Guyton steps into Spikes’ role and delivers: With rookie inside linebacker Brandon Spikes serving the first game of his four-game suspension, Gary Guyton stepped into a full-time role and came up with two big plays -- a 35-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the second quarter and an interception in the third quarter.

McCourty the big injury to watch: Rookie cornerback Devin McCourty, who has been impressive in locking down the left side and totaling six interceptions, left the game in the second quarter with a rib injury and did not return. The potential loss of McCourty would be a big blow to the Patriots, who have been dressing just three corners on game-day. In addition, defensive lineman Ron Brace (head) left the game in the third quarter and did not return.

Bears crash back to earth: Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher had said during the week that “We’re the best team, period.” They didn’t play like it on this day. The Bears were outclassed, with quarterback Jay Cutler turning into the “Cutler of old” with a mistake-filled performance while the defense was shredded by Brady and Co.

What’s next: The Patriots return home to face the Packers in a Sunday night game. Green Bay lost at Detroit and could be without quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who left the game against the Lions with a concussion. It is Rodgers’ second concussion of the season.