NFL Week 3: The AFC East – Bizarro World

Reggie Bush breaks out for a 65 yard touchdown against Oakland.

If you are a fan of any of the AFC East teams last week, you undoubtedly were scratching your head on Sunday night. First you had the New York Jets, without a touchdown in week 1 while obliterating the Buffalo Bills 48-28, get throttled by the Steelers 27-10. The Jets scored a touchdown on their opening drive and never saw the endzone again. If you close your eyes and listen you can hear the faint chants of “Tebow” starting up.

After one of the most drab editions ever of “Hard Knocks”, it looked like the Dolphins were in for it with rookie QB Ryan Tannenhill taking his lumps, especially after an 0-1 start. Enter Reggie Bush. Not only did Bush dazzle with a 26 car. 172 yard afternoon. He caught 3 passes for 25 yards and energized Dolphin fans on both of his touchdown runs while being named AFC Offensive Player of the Week. With a 35-13 win the Dolphins are feeling confident when they face the Jets this week.

Speaking of AFC Player of the Week candidates: What about CJ Spiller in Buffalo?? Not only does he lead the NFL in rushing after two weeks (292 yads), his play seems to have brought life to a Bills offense beating the Chiefs 35-17. Going back to week 1, Buffalo looked dazed and confused while sleepwalking against the Jets. However once Fred Jackson was injured, Spiller came in and broke a long touchdown run to give the Bills some hope. He carried it into this last game scoring on the first two drives and the team never looked back.

Which brings us to the New England Patriots and the…serious… get up off the floor. Alright we’ll get back to that in a minute. Lets take a look at the AFC East standings…

East Division

W

L

T

PCT

PF

PA

HOME

ROAD

DIV

CONF

STRK

LAST5

New York Jets Jets 1 1 0 .500 58 55 1-0 0-1 1-0 1-1 L1 1-1
New England Patriots Patriots 1 1 0 .500 52 33 0-1 1-0 0-0 1-0 L1 1-1
Miami Dolphins Dolphins 1 1 0 .500 45 43 1-0 0-1 0-0 1-1 W1 1-1
Buffalo Bills Bills 1 1 0 .500 63 65 1-0 0-1 0-1 1-1 W1 1-1

Yes, the New England Patriots fell to the undefeated Arizona Cardinals 20-18 when Gostkowski missed a last second field goal. Are you serious?? Even in their 2008 Super Bowl run, Arizona lost 47-7 in Foxboro. The Cardinals were let off the hook after Ryan Williams fumbled the football with 2:00 left in the game. However there was a huge hold by TE Rob Gronkowski when Danny Woodhead broke what appeared to be the game winner. Very uncharacteristic of a Bill Belichick team. The game itself was a defensive struggle and the one thing New England could take away from this loss was the solid play of their young defense. After 2 weeks they are ranked 2nd in the NFL.

One thing that needs to take place is Wes Welker has to be a larger part of the offense. The Patriots offense really bogged down once they lost TE Aaron Hernandez. However the Patriots were beaten on the line of scrimmage and Tom Brady saw pressure most of the game. The riff between Welker and the front office has to stop and they need to go to him 12-15 times in this Sunday nighter against Baltimore. The short pass is what Brady needs to keep from getting hit and he’s been sacked 3 times each game. This is the wrong stat when facing the Ravens defense which promises to bring pressure. Here is where Welker needs to be prolific although Kellen Winslow has been signed to replace Hernandez. However losing their ¬†first home opener since 2002 did raise some eyebrows. Surely the meetings and practices will be ratcheted up because a second straight home loss could send off alarm bells.

CJ Spiller leads the league in rushing after 2 weeks.

How did Buffalo look so anemic in week 1 yet show so much explosiveness against the Jets?? No question CJ Spiller is drinking some different gatorade in his third year. It could be the reincarnation of OJ Simpson where he played for a few years without distinction and BOOM the light goes on. There has been no player more explosive in these first two weeks in the NFL. He’s on pace to gain over 2,200 yards and right now Bills fans are thinking “Fred Jackson, take your time in coming back.” Jackson was the starter at the beginning of the season and just signed a big contract extension but would you bench him for Jackson right now??

Its been his play that allowed QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to get comfortable last week after a horrible outing against the Jets. The jury is still out on his play for 2012. This week he gets a tune up against the Browns defense that is missing CB Joe Haden to a suspension. He has to get going to complement Spiller and open it up with Stevie Johnson for in two weeks they host the Patriots. By then Belichick figures to return the AFC East to some normalcy. Buffalo’s new playmaker may have something to say about that though.

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