Week 14: AFC East Review

Justin K. Aller

With the regular season entering its final three games, the AFC playoff race is hotting up. Lets check out the winners and losers in the AFC East.

Buffalo Bills 6 - 27 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

For a team that many analysts predicted big things from at the beginning of the season, the Buffalo Bills continued their disappointing campaign with a heavy loss to fellow strugglers the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Down 14-3 in the early stages of the game, the Buffalo offense never recovered. EJ Manuel endured a poor outing, completing just 18 of 33 passes for 184 yards and 4 interceptions. But perhaps more worryingly was the offensive line's inability to protect their rookie quarterback, as Manuel was sacked a mammoth 7 times during the game.

But neither did Tampa enjoy a particularly pleasing day. Quarterback Mike Glennon finished the game with 9 completions from 25 attempts and only 90 yards. However, the two touchdowns that he did throw made sure the Buccaneers crossed the finish line with ease.

Cleveland Browns 26 - 27 New England Patriots

Amazing. That is the only word I can describe this game. Just when everyone thought the Patriots would suffer an improbable defeat to the Cleveland Browns, Tom Brady stepped up to the plate and threw two touchdown passes in the final 61 seconds to scrape past the Browns. With 1:01 left on the clock, Tom Brady connected with Julian Edelman for a 2-yard touchdown pass. Then, unbelievably, Kyle Arrington recovered an onside kick in Cleveland territory. The Patriots capped their impressive comeback after Leon McFadden was flagged for a defensive pass interference in the endzone before Brady completed a pass to Danny Amendola from the 1-yard line.

However, the game didn't stop there. Cleveland somehow found the energy and spirit to push the ball to New England's 40-yard line with 1 second left, only for Billy Cundiff to miss a difficult 58-yard field goal. Heartbreak for Cleveland, but the Patriots keep marching on.

Oakland Raiders 27 - 37 New York Jets

The New York Jets bounced back from a three game losing streak by sweeping past the Oakland Raiders. Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin enjoyed an impressive day, completing 18 of 30 passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns. Moreover running back Marcel Reece amassed 123 yards and a touchdown off 19 carries, but it wasn't enough to win the game. For New York, Jets quarterback Geno Smith started the game after being benched in the loss to the Miami Dolphins, and he didn't disappoint. The Jets scored a season high in points as the rookie quarterback threw for a touchdown and ran for a further score. The win leaves the Jets at 6-7 and right behind the Miami Dolphins in the AFC East.

Miami Dolphins 34 - 28 Pittsburgh Steelers

Finally, the game you've all been waiting for. The Miami Dolphins overcame the snow to record an exhilarating win over Pittsburgh. Charles Clay continued his breakout season with two touchdowns, including a crucial 12-yard pass from Ryan Tannehill with only 2:53 remaining on the clock. Daniel Thomas also enjoyed a great day, running for 105 yards and a touchdown. The mesmerizing 55-yard run by Thomas helped set up the game-winning touchdown pass to Clay. As for Tannehill, the second year quarterback completed 20 of his 33 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns.

However, things weren't all rosy for the Dolphins. Miami gave up a 10-point yard lead in the third quarter in all too familiar circumstances. Even when Miami went ahead after Clay's touchdown, it seemed the Steelers had won the day after a last-gasp touchdown attempt. At Pittsburgh's own 21 and with zero seconds on the clock, Emmanuel caught a short pass from Roethlisberger before passing the ball like a hot potato, with the ball ending in Brown's hands as he raced into the endzone. I have to admit, my heart sank as I screamed at the television.

But, stunningly, an official then pointed to the Miami 11-yard line amid Pittsburgh celebrations to gift the Dolphins their first win in Pittsburgh in 23 years. Amazing. Stunning. Fantastic. What a great day to be a Miami Dolphins coach, player and fan. After the Baltimore Ravens loss and with the playoffs within reaching distance, anything is possible. It's time to believe.

What did you think of the AFC East games over the weekend? Will the Miami Dolphins clinch that final wildcard playoff spot? Lets hear your views!

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