AFC East: 2011 Week 6 Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Jets 24, Dolphins 6

October, 17, 2011

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Here are some thoughts on the New York Jets' 24-6 victory over the Miami Dolphins on "Monday Night Football."

What it means: The Jets (3-3) won the "Desperation Bowl." New York snapped a three-game losing streak and prevailed in a must-win game. The Jets were falling behind in the AFC East and now are back to .500. A win also calms the in-house bickering among players in New York for at least a week. The Dolphins, meanwhile, fall to 0-5 and haven't won a game since Dec. 12, 2010. They remain in the "Suck for Andrew Luck" sweepstakes, which will make some Dolphins fans happy.

Revis vs. Marshall: It was a fun battle to watch between Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall and New York Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis. Marshall, who threatened to get ejected in the first half, played all four quarters and played well. He went one-on-one against Revis most of the game and had six receptions for 109 yards. Marshall's best play also turned out to be his strangest play. He caught a deep ball well in bounds but stumbled out for a 46-yard reception. The play could have been Miami's only touchdown in the game.

Moore Watch: Former backup quarterback Matt Moore made his first start in Miami to poor results. Moore was 16-for-34 for 204 yards and fell to 7-7 as a starter. He also threw two interceptions to Revis.

Red zone, third-down woes: The Dolphins continued their trend of being one of the NFL's worst teams in the red zone and on third down. Miami was 0-for-3 in the red zone. The Dolphins settled for two field goals and an interception. Miami also was an abysmal 2-for-12 on third down.

What's next: The Jets have a tough stretch coming up, starting next week at home against the San Diego Chargers (4-1). New York then will face the Buffalo Bills (4-2) and New England Patriots (5-1). The Dolphins will host quarterback Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos at Sun Life Stadium. Miami is 1-11 in its last dozen home games.

Rapid Reaction: Pats 20, Cowboys 16

October, 16, 2011
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Rapid reaction from the Patriots' 20-16 victory over the Cowboys at Gillette Stadium:

PatsCowboysWhat it means: The Patriots found a way. For the Patriots, this was one of those games in which you don’t focus on style points -- it was ugly -- but instead on getting out with a win heading into the bye week. The Patriots didn’t play well. They won anyway because the offense put it together on a clutch final march. The Patriots improved to 5-1 and are alone atop the AFC East. They have a lot of work to do but have two weeks to sort things out and get some injured players back.

30-point streak snapped: The Patriots had entered the game having scored 30 or more points in 13 straight games. They would have tied the St. Louis Rams from 1999-2000 had they made it 14, but the offense couldn’t find its groove until the final drive. Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan had the last unit to hold the Patriots to fewer than 30 in the regular season, as the Browns did it Nov. 7, 2010. All that said, when the game was on the line, Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense delivered.

Defense does its part: The Patriots needed their defense to keep them in the game with the offense unable to sustain momentum. The D delivered. Hold the opposition to 16 points at home, and that gets the job done. Although the Cowboys had success moving the ball, the New England defense rose up from the 25-yard line in. From the opposite perspective, with the Cowboys getting the ball with a 16-13 lead, some will question Dallas coach Jason Garrett for conservative play calling. The Patriots forced a three-and-out to set up the winning drive.

Turnovers a big story: The Cowboys entered the game with a minus-4 turnover differential, while the Patriots were plus-3. But it was the Patriots who were uncharacteristically sloppy with four turnovers (2 INT, 2 fumbles). All week the talk had been about Tony Romo and the big mistake, but it was Brady and the Patriots who were more mistake-prone. Brady’s fourth-quarter interception while the offense had been generating some momentum was one throw he’ll likely kick himself about in the coming days. Brady was rolling out and fired it into traffic. Still, the Patriots overcame the mistakes.

Quiet day for Welker and Witten: Both defenses did a nice job limiting the top threat of the opposition. Wes Welker finished with six catches for 45 yards and one touchdown, while Jason Witten had four catches for 48 yards (20 on a last-gasp drive) and one touchdown.

What’s next: The Patriots are off next weekend before visiting the Steelers on Oct. 30. The Cowboys return home to host the Rams.

Rapid Reaction: Giants 27, Bills 24

October, 16, 2011
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Here are some thoughts on the New York Giants' 27-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills:

What it means: The Bills lost for the second time in three weeks and fell to 4-2. Buffalo has been in first place in the AFC East for several weeks but runs the risk of losing that spot to the New England Patriots (4-1), who play the Dallas Cowboys later on Sunday. Buffalo also has yet to pick up a quality road win this season.

Shaky defense: Buffalo’s defense continues to struggle and give up chunks of yards. The Bills allowed 414 yards of total offense against New York. Bills cornerback Drayton Florence had his worst game of the season. He allowed a 60-yard catch to receiver Hakeem Nicks that set up one New York touchdown before halftime. Florence also had a key pass interference call against Nicks late in the fourth quarter to set up the Giants’ winning field goal.

Big-play offense: Fred Jackson’s 80-yard touchdown run was one of the best offensive plays you will see all season. Buffalo executed the play perfectly in the first quarter, and Jackson went virtually untouched for the score. Jackson showed his deep speed by running past New York defenders and not getting caught from behind. On Buffalo’s next drive, receiver Naaman Roosevelt caught a 60-yard touchdown reception to give the Bills their first lead of the game, 14-7, at the end of the first quarter. Eventually, some costly turnovers hurt Buffalo.

Injury watch: The Bills suffered another big injury on the offensive line. Starting tackle Chris Hairston suffered an ankle injury in the fourth quarter that knocked him out the game. He had trouble putting weight on the ankle. Buffalo also played without defensive players Shawne Merriman (Achilles) and Kyle Williams (foot).

What’s next: This Bills will take their 4-2 record into the bye week. Buffalo will continue its tour of the NFC East with its next game against the Washington Redskins on Oct. 30.