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Week 11: AFC East Review

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This week produced three big games in the AFC East. With playoff places still out for grabs, Lets check out who stole a march on their divisional rivals.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

New York Jets 14 - 37 Buffalo Bills

The first game in the AFC East saw two divisional rivals square off against each other in blustery conditions, with winds reaching 30 mph.  Led by Kyle Williams, the Buffalo Bills defense proved too hot to handle for the New York Jets.  Williams had two sacks on the day and a forced fumble, will Jarius Byrd made two interceptions.  On the other side of the football, Geno Smith had four turnovers on the day, gifting a total of 17 points to Buffalo.  In fact, Buffalo scored the 17 points over 2:50 minutes to surge ahead 20-0 up with 65 seconds to spare in the first half.  Then, in the 3rd quarter, the Bills all but killed the game off as safety Da'Norris Searcy intercepted and returned the football for a touchdown to make it 34-7.

The win puts the Bills at 4-7 heading into their bye-week while the Jets drop back to 5-5.

San Diego Chargers 16 - 20 Miami Dolphins

Just when you think Miami will win, they lose.   Just when you think Miami will lose, they win.  The Dolphins put the continuing controversy behind them as they etched out a narrow victory against the San Diego Chargers.  Interestingly, San Diego did not have trouble moving the football down the field wit 435 total offensive yards.  The problem for the Chargers was their inability to score touchdowns, having to settle for short field goals instead (27 and 29 yards).  The team also had trouble protecting their quarterback with injuries on their offensive line seemingly taking its toll.  Miami sacked Philip Rivers three times on the day, along with countless quarterback pressures.  And lastly, but certainly not least, the Chargers committed far too many penalties with 10.

But Miami had injuries of their own, and still managed to pull a victory out of the bag.  The Dolphins are missing Richie Incognito, Jonathan Martin and Mike Pouncey.  Sure, Ryan Tannehill got sacked four times, but they also averaged 5.5 yards every carry from a total of 104 yards on the ground.  Lets put things into perspective - guard Sam Brenner, an undrafted rookie, was promoted from the practice squad on Saturday and made his NFL debut on Sunday.

However, the best part of the game was the Chargers' last drive.  Needing four points to beat the Dolphins, San Diego moved the football from their twenty yard line all the way to Miami's 25 yard line.  With a last-ditch attempt, Rivers launched the football into the end zone, only for it to be knocked away by cornerback Brent Grimes.

The result was a big win for the franchise against a team that have playoff ambitions of their own, and leaves Miami with a shot at a wildcard birth (5-5) as they seek to end the season on a high-note.

New England Patriots 20 - 24 Carolina Panthers

The last game in the AFC East in Week 11 saw the Carolina Panthers win their sixth straight game to defeat the New England Patriots.  With 59 seconds left on the clock, Cam Newton threaded a pass to Ted Ginn Jr. (remember him?).  Then, in unbelievable circumstances, Tom Brady led the charge down to the Carolina 18 with 3 seconds left and fired the ball into the endzone.  Rookie safety Robert Lester then intercepted the pass, only for the official in the endzone to throw a flag into the field for pass interference when Luke Kuechly wrapped his arms around tight end  Rob Gronkowski.  Unfortunately for New England, the official waved the flag to give the Panthers an exhilarating victory over the Patriots.

What did you think of the results in the AFC East?  Do the Dolphins have a realistic shot at a wildcard spot?  Lets hear your views!