AFC East: 2011 Week 4 Wrap-ups

Wrap-up: Chargers 26, Dolphins 16

October, 2, 2011
Let's take a look at the San Diego Chargers', 26-16, victory over the Miami Dolphins.

What it means: Sunday's loss was another big blow for the future of Miami coach Tony Sparano. He could be the NFL's first coaching casualty of 2011. The Dolphins are 0-4 this season and overall has lost seven straight under Sparano. The bye week is a dangerous time for embattled coaches. The two-week break gives Dolphins' ownership plenty of time to rethink the direction of the franchise. Time will tell if Miami gives Sparano the quick hook now or provides more time. Miami defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is on staff and has head-coaching experience. Nolan probably would get the interim tag if the Dolphins chose to make a coaching change now.

Injured quarterback: As if things couldn't get worse, Miami starting quarterback Chad Henne suffered a shoulder injury in the first half and didn't return. Henne was having a decent season compared to previous years. He was replaced by backup Matt Moore, who threw for 167 yards and an interception. The Dolphins have two weeks to determine if Henne can return for their next game. If not, Miami has to decide whether to move forward with Moore, or try calling another veteran quarterback (David Garrard?).

What I liked: The Dolphins were somewhat competitive for three and a half quarters. This was another game Miami was not expected to win. Miami has been solid on the road dating to last year. The difference is Miami isn't winning those close road games this season.

What I didn't like: Miami didn't get much from its running game and the defense gave up several big plays. The 55-yard touchdown play to Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson was a perfect example. It was a blown assignment and no Miami defender was in the vicinity of Jackson. There has been poorly-executed plays like this all season for the Dolphins. It's one of several reasons Sparano is on the hot seat.

What's next: The Dolphins have a bye in Week 5. They return Oct. 17 to play a road game against the New York Jets on "Monday Night Football."

Wrap-up: Bengals 23, Bills 20

October, 2, 2011
Let's take a look at the Buffalo Bills' 23-20 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

What it means: Buffalo's status as a legit AFC contender is back in question. The Bills (3-1) were coming off a huge upset over the New England Patriots in Week 3. But Buffalo is a young team which showed lack of maturity with Sunday's letdown in Cincinnati. The Bills lost a winnable game by blowing a 17-3 lead at halftime. Many will start to question if this year's Buffalo team is similar to the group in 2008, which started 4-0 and finished 7-9. Buffalo has to prove this team is good enough to keep pace with the Patriots and New York Jets in the AFC East for 16 games.

What I liked: Buffalo finally got off to a fast start in the first half. A defensive touchdown by safety Bryan Scott helped Buffalo take a 14-point lead at halftime. The Bills were outscored 42-13 in the first half the previous two games. Buffalo also has scored a defensive touchdown in back-to-back games. Bills safety George Wilson was productive with 12 tackles and an interception.

What I didn't like: Buffalo's offense could have played much better. The Bills were leading the NFL in points scored in the first three weeks, averaging 37.7 points per game. But Buffalo's offense scored just 13 points against Cincinnati. Give Cincinnati's defense plenty of credit. The Bengals were ranked third in total defense entering Week 4. Cincinnati did a good job of not giving up many big plays, which led to the comeback.

What's next: The Bills will play at home next week against the talented but struggling Philadelphia Eagles (1-3). The Bills got off to a fast start and will try to avoid their first losing streak of the season.