AFC East: Tom Brady And The Patriots Hold Off Surging Bills
by Kennedy Ross
Cold, Hard Football Facts AFC East Overlord (@FNscribeNY)
Some things just really never change. With the Patriots looking the weakest it has in years, all eyes were on the AFC East and who would take the top spot. Well, that mystery has been solved today. And it's not that surprising. Even though the Bills were a last minute interception away from a startling upset, the Patriots held them off for the win.
All is right again with the world. This point is evidenced additionally by the fact that the Jets are losing disgracefully, just like the old days. Tack on Miami's embarrassing blowout at the hands of the Titans (YES, THE TITANS) and things are right where they belong. The Patriots are really good and everyone else is really bad.
Everyone accept the Jets. They are abysmal.
Here are five things we learned in week 10:
1. Close but no cigar. (Patriots 37 - Bills 31)
We said that these two porous defenses might lead to a shootout. We also said that it would not be won by Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. But it almost was though. Fitzpatrick and the Bills put up a serious fight against the New England Patriots. However, as usual, they couldn't close the deal.
Statistically, Fitzpatrick edged out Tom Brady. He threw for 100 more yards (337-237). He had a higher completion percentage (.675 -.603). He also had a higher quarterback rating of 99.7 to 96.1. They both threw two touchdowns but as usual the important stat rests with Brady, the win.
In fact the Patriots are 11-0 in Gillette Stadium versus the Bills and 23-2 over the last 25 games against them. To say that the Patriots have the Bills number is an understatement. They have the Bills number with area code and four digit extension.
The shame is that Fitzpatrick had to waste only his second 300 plus yard game of this season. The running game did their part with Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller churning out 80 and 70 yards respectively. The Bills racked up a total of 481 yards on the day. So they didn't even have the worst defense on the field.
The mark of a good team though is one that makes the necessary plays even if they are being out gunned. That's what the Patriots did, and what they will continue to do all the way to the post season.
2. So sad it's laughable. (Seahawks 28 - Jets 7)
Lets get one thing clear right out of the gate. The Jets were shut out in Seattle, which will subsequently make them sleepless. The point is however that without the fumble recovery and touchdown return by Muhammad Wilkerson, the Jets would have been scoreless.
You may want to read the following stats over your toilet bowl. Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez completed 9-22 passes for 124 yards, one interception, one fumble, and a quarterback rating of 40.7. On a brighter note, side-show-Tim-Tebow completed all of his passes. All three of them . . . for eight yards. Pop the champagne boys and girls.
As mentioned in the preview of this game, Jets head coach Rex Ryan was making his weekly announcements of a new and improved role for Tebow. As if he was talking about a new brand of toilet paper. This time he actually gave side-show-Tebow more worthless plays than he usually gets.
He was equally valueless, as in his other appearances. However Ryan can now say that they are using him . . . sort of. The camera was even able to catch Sanchez looking kind of pissed off as he was taken out of the game after manufacturing a tough first down for the Jets.
None of that mattered in the end. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson started off a bit shaky. This was due in large part to steady and rarely seen pressure from the Jets defense. By the second half he squared himself away and began working in conjunction with the Seattle run game.
With no surprise Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch led the running attack with 124 of the 174 yards accumulated on the ground by Seattle. Lynch not only ran for his fourth straight 100 yard game, he topped the 1,000 yard mark today with 1,005 on the season so far.
Not only did Wilson contribute nicely to the offense with 188 passing yards and two touchdowns, but he wasn't the only one throwing better than Sanchez and side-show-Tebow. Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate threw a 23 yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice.
Yes, a wide receiver whose first name is an adjective plays quarterback better than either of the two the Jets put on the field today. Disgrace!
3. Dolphins turned over by Tennessee. (Titans 37 - Dolphins 3)
For the most part the Dolphins defense did their job . . . sort of. They allowed only 293 total yards in the game. Titans quarterback Jake Locker passed for only 122 yards.
Star running back Chris Johnson eventually became the first running back in 23 games to gain over 100 yards on the Dolphins. He did that late in the third quarter and ended up with 126 yards.
Unfortunately it was the Titans defense that made all the noise today. The Titans intercepted Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill three times. They also caused running back Reggie Bush to fumble. It's hard to win when you turn the ball over four times. Even against the Titans.
Tannehill has been making his name as a solid and steady young quarterback in this league. This is only his fourth game with an interception. And only his third with multiple interceptions.
Bush was benched for a part of the game because of his fumble. The message didn't seem to produce any sort of spark as backups Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller ran for 21 and 12 yards respectively in Bush's stead.
With the Patriots winning, Miami is now two games behind them and the closest of the rest of the AFC East. Tannehill may still be solid and steady, but that's not going to be enough to catch Brady and the Pats.
4. The Jets are on schedule to be losers.
Nine games down, seven to go. Among those seven opponents stand New England, San Diego, Arizona, and Buffalo. There are two definite losses here in New England and San Diego. That means at best, the Jets will be a .500 team again this year.
However, can you truly trust that a team whose starting quarterback is throwing at a 50% completion rate and is averaging one touchdown per game can absolutely beat the Bills and the Cardinals? Whats even better is that his back up can't throw at all.
The Jets are staring down the barrel of a losing season and their performance is so pathetic that they have erased their "injury" excuse. The absence of Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie does not explain the futility and wretchedness that they put on the field week in and week out.
Remember where you heard it. Sanchez's job was never in jeopardy. Ryan was truthful when he said that. He was just lying when he said side-show-Tebow was going to be anything but side-show-Tebow.
With the performance of Sanchez this year and the certainty of the outcome of several games this year, any normal back up would have been put into those games. If for nothing else than mop up duty to protect your starter.
That has never happened this year with the Jets and it never will because they never intend on using side-show-Tebow for anything else but that.
All of his double talk and back alley tricks are biting Ryan right in his gastric byp(ass). Hopefully Jet fans will find some solace in the eventual collapse and exposure of this farce. Hey, Andy Reid and Sean Payton will be free after this season. Better start those Twitter rumors now.
5. Now that the smoke has cleared . . .
. . . The Bills 481 yards was the most ever given up by a Patriots team. And they still won. Where's the garlic and the silver bullets?
. . . Since Golden Tate threw a touch down against the Jets, does that mean Rex Ryan will acquire him in the off season and fly him to New York for a press conference before turning him into a holder on field goals?
. . . What ill advised move will Dolphins coach Joe Philbin try next week to motivate Reggie Bush, set him up on a blind date with Kim Kardashian?