AFC East: rapid reaction 13

Rapid Reaction: Steelers 33, Patriots 10

November, 30, 2008
Posted by's Tim Graham

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Pittsburgh Steelers' defense was too devastating for the New England Patriots to handle.

With the New York Jets in trouble at home to the Denver Broncos, the Patriots had an opportunity to climb back atop the AFC East but lost, 33-10 in Gillette Stadium.

Instead, the Patriots are 7-5 in the tightly bound division, tied with the Miami Dolphins and still one game behind the first-place Jets.

The Steelers overwhelmed Matt Cassel in the cold rain and took advantage of several turnovers. Cassel threw interceptions and was stripped twice on sacks. Matthew Slater also bumbled a kickoff return to set up a Steelers touchdown.

Cassel wasn't helped by his receivers, who let a few big plays hit the turf. Randy Moss dropped what should've been a touchdown at the end of the first half and botched a couple of others. Jabar Gaffney dropped what would have been a long gain in the fourth quarter.

Cassel's final stat line: 19 of 39 for 169 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. His streak of 400-yard games wouldn't have remained intact if you added in those 112 yards of interception returns.

Kevin Faulk and Sammy Morris combined to rush for 128 yards.

Rapid Reaction: Dolphins 16, Rams 12

November, 30, 2008
Posted by's Tim Graham

Pretty it wasn't.

Even so, the Miami Dolphins posted a road victory over the St. Louis Rams, 16-12, on Sunday afternoon in the Edwards Jones Dome.

The Dolphins will enter December two games above .500 and remain in the wild-card hunt. They will play the gagging Buffalo Bills next Sunday in Toronto.

The Dolphins intercepted Marc Bulger three times and gained 327 net yards, spreading the ball around to running backs Ronnie Brown (48 yards) and Ricky Williams (54 yards). Brown scored the game's lone touchdown in the second quarter, capping a 91-yard drive.

Chad Pennington completed only 13 of 26 passes for 133 yards.

It was enough. The Dolphins are 7-5 and very much alive in the playoff race.