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By: Bernd Buchmasser
Related: Patriots vs. Colts: New England defeats Indianapolis 26-3, improves to 5-4
The ninth week of the 2022 NFL regular season is in the books, and it’s now time for the latest installment of the AFC East Report. And it is once again a positive one from a New England Patriots perspective: the team beat the visiting Indianapolis Colts 26-3 to improve to 5-4 on the season.
They were not the only team in the division to come away with a victory this week, though. The New York Jets and Miami Dolphins also won their respective games, with the Buffalo Bills — going up against the Jets — suffering the AFC East’s lone defeat of the weekend.
With that all said, let’s take a look at each club’s Week 9 performance both from afar and through the eyes of each SB Nation affiliate.
1. Buffalo Bills
Week 9: 20-17 loss to the New York Jets, in East Rutherford NJ
The Bills might very well still be the best team in football, despite their 20-17 upset loss against the Jets in Week 9. What that game showed, however, is that they are not head and shoulders above the other teams in the league or division but indeed beatable when running into a perfect storm.
For Buffalo, that storm included two untimely turnovers. Their opening drive of the first half ended with a Josh Allen interception in the red zone; their opening drive of the second half ended with a Josh Allen interception in Buffalo territory to set up a Jets touchdown. Allen is still an MVP frontrunner, but he has completed less than half of his pass attempts with zero touchdowns and four interceptions in his last six quarters going back to Week 8.
The QB was not the only problem, though. The Bills also managed to let the Jets back in the game despite taking a 14-3 lead in the second quarter; their run defense in particular was an issue allowing that to happen: Buffalo surrendered 175 yards on the ground on 33 non-kneel-down carries for 5.3 yards per attempt.
Those two things combined — Allen’s 18-for-34 for 205 yards and two picks plus the leaky run defense — allowed the Jets to come away with the W.
Buffalo Rumblings coverage:
- Buffalo Bills 17, New York Jets 20: Rapid recap and notes
- Five things we learned from Jets 20, Bills 17
- Josh Allen’s arm injury of some concern going into Week 10
- Win probability highlights a game Buffalo let slip away
2. New York Jets
Week 9: 20-17 win over the Buffalo Bills, in East Rutherford NJ
The Jets defense rose up to the occasion in Week 9 and never allowed one of the league’s most explosive offenses to build momentum. Outside of the occasional Josh Allen scramble and one deep throw to Stefon Diggs on the opening drive, New York did not allow much against the Bills.
Instead, the unit put the clamps on Buffalo. The two takeaways — interceptions by safety Jordan Whitehead and rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner — were the unit’s biggest plays of the day, but it also registered five sacks and limited the damage throughout the day.
The same was true for the offense led by Zach Wilson. The sophomore quarterback picked up his play after a disastrous outing against New England the previous week, completing 18 of 25 throws for 154 yards with one touchdown. Most importantly, he took care of the football outside of a lost fumble in the third quarter.
With Wilson playing a smart game versus a stingy defense, and the running game dominating, the Jets were able to keep the game close and make the decisive plays in the end. As a result, they are headed into the bye at 6-3 and as the fifth seed in the AFC playoff picture.
Gang Green Nation coverage:
- Final Score Jets 20, Bills 17
- Jets 20 Bills 17: The Jets Are for Real
- Finding that formula for Zach Wilson to succeed
- Jets Week 9 Game Balls
3. Miami Dolphins
Week 9: 35-32 win over the Chicago Bears, in Chicago IL
With Tua Tagovailoa fully recovered from his concussion issues earlier this season, the Dolphins offense continues to show why it is one of the best in the game — at least through the air. In Week 9, Tagovailoa went 21-for-30 for 302 with three touchdowns; Tyreek Hill’s 143 receiving yards once again paved the way for the win.
Miami needed a performance like that from its star players on offense against the Bears. After all, the defense had a hard time containing quarterback Justin Fields: the second-year man gained 179 rushing yards on 14 non-kneel-down carries while also throwing three touchdown passes of his own. The heroic effort — and disappointing defensive performance — were not enough to bring Chicago the win, though.
For one, the Miami offense played its usual high-octane style of football. Additionally, its special teams group blocked a punt and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown to put the Dolphins up 21-10 in the second quarter. And to top it all off, the defense rose to the occasion in the fourth quarter by making key stops on back-to-back drives to preserve a 35-32 victory.
The Phinsider coverage:
- Dolphins vs. Bears final score, immediate reactions
- The Good, Bad & Ugly from the Miami Dolphins’ Week 9 victory over the Chicago Bears
- 3 Reasons Why The Dolphins Beat The Bears In Week 9 – 2022
- Jeff Wilson Jr. shines as Miami’s top running back just days after being traded to the team
4. New England Patriots
Week 9: 26-3 win over the Indianapolis Colts, in Foxborough MA
The Patriots returned home fresh off a road win over the Jets, and they were able to earn another win — their fourth in the last five games — versus the visiting Colts. The story of the game was the defense, which racked up nine sacks and also scored a touchdown on a Jonathan Jones interception return.
The unit played lights-out, limiting Indianapolis to only 2.0 yards per offensive play. It was a performance that was necessary, though, given that New England’s own offense performed quite disappointingly as well: Mac Jones and company failed to get into any sort of rhythm for much of the day, scoring only one touchdown and again relying on Nick Folk to put points on the board.
The veteran kicker did just that, going 4-for-4 on field goal attempts. He was not the only special teamer to stand out, though: Jonathan Jones also blocked a punt, while Marcus Jones looked good returning punts and kickoffs.
The Patriots played a complimentary game even with the offense struggling. It allowed them to earn their fifth win of the year, and to stay very much alive in the playoff race despite their fourth place in the division right now.
Pats Pulpit coverage:
- Patriots vs. Colts: New England defeats Indianapolis 26-3, improves to 5-4
- Instant analysis from Patriots’ 26-3 win over Colts
- 4 winners and 2 losers from the Patriots’ victory over the Colts
- Patriots film review: New England’s offense is a mess right now
Originally posted on Pats Pulpit