Week 1 of the 2016 NFL season has come and gone for the AFC East, with all four teams playing on Sunday. The New York Jets and Buffalo Bills each played during the 1pm ET time slot, with the Miami Dolphins scheduled for 4:05pm, and the New England Patriots playing in the Sunday Night Football game.
Every week, we take a look at how all four teams in the division performed, and the current division standings.
Cincinnati Bengals at New York Jets
The game started with the Jets getting after Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, hitting him throughout the game and, ultimately, recording seven sacks on the day. Clearly New York wanted to establish themselves as a physical, dominant defense, and allow that to carry them through the game.
The problem, however, for New York was the Bengals were not ready to crumble under the pressure. Dalton, despite the pass rush, went 23-for-30 for 366 yards with a touchdown and an interception, as compared to New York’s Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was 19-for-35 for 189 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Cincinnati’s A.J. Green put up ridiculous Week 1 numbers, with 12 receptions on 13 targets, picking up 180 yards with a touchdown. New York running back Matt Forte was able to pick up 96 yards on 22 carries, as well as 59 yards on five receptions.
The scoring in the game started with New York driving 78 yards on 10 plays on their first possession, capping it off by a three-yard pass from Fitzpatrick to Quincy Enunwa for a touchdown. After a Dalton interception and a Jets missed field goal, the Bengals were able to put together a 65-yard drive on six plays, ending with a 33-yard field goal.
The second quarter included a pair of touchdowns, one by each team, starting with a 54-yard touchdown from Fitzpatrick to Green to give the Bengals a 10-7 lead. The Jets responded on their next drive, started with a 65-yard kickoff return and capped with a 15-yard pass from Fitzpatrick to Eric Decker. The Jets would miss the extra point, giving them a 13-10 lead. Both teams then added field goals as the second quarter played out, going to the half with New York leading 16-13.
The second half started with a trio of punts before the Bengals would put together a 9-play, 92-yard drive. The Bengals would score on the end of the possession, with Jeremy Hill running into the endzone from 12-yards out. The fourth quarter would become a field goal fest, with the Jets starting it with a 20-yards, then the Bengals missing a 52-yard attempt, followed immediately by a Jets 23-yard field goal. New York led 22-20 before the Bengals connected on a 47-yard field goal with 54 seconds remaining. The Jets’ attempt to respond was cut short with an interception.
Final Score: Bengals 23 - Jets 22
Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore came out and more-Rex-Ryaned Rex Ryan’s Buffalo team. Buffalo was held to just 160 yards of total offense, averaging 3.3 yards per play. Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor was only able to throw for 111 yards on 15-for-22 passing, with no touchdowns or interceptions. Running back LeSean McCoy picked up 58 yards on 16 attempts, and scored a touchdown, but it was not enough to beat the Ravens on Sunday.
Baltimore welcomed back quarterback Joe Flacco, who missed most of the season last year due to injury, and he went 22-for-34 for 258 yards with a touchdown. Running backs Justin Forsett and Terrance West split carries, with Forsett picking up 41 yards on 10 attempts and West adding 32 yards on 12 carries. Receiver Mike Wallace gained 91 yards on three receptions, including a 66-yard touchdown.
The only scoring in the first quarter came with a Baltimore 50-yard field goal with just 50 seconds remaining in the period. The Ravens then added a touchdown early in the second quarter, connecting on the 66-yard pass from Flacco to Wallace, giving them a 10-0 lead. The Bills answered seven minutes later with a 1-yard run from McCoy, pulling to with three just before halftime.
Those seven points, however, would be all Buffalo would score, including missing a field goal on their first possession of the second half. The Ravens would add another field goal in the fourth quarter to cap the game.
Final Score: Bills 7 - Ravens 13
Miami Dolphins at Seattle Seahawks
Obviously, as this is written on a Dolphins blog, we will cover this game in depth over the next few days. Basically, this game was a defensive battle all game long, with neither offense finding a rhythm. Miami would take the lead late in the fourth quarter, only to see Seattle immediately come back and score the game-winning touchdown with about a minute to play.
Ryan Tannehill finished the game 16-for-29 for 186 yards for the Dolphins, as well as picking up 17 yards on five carries with the team’s only touchdown. Seattle’s Russell Wilson was 27-for-43 for 258 yards with a touchdown and a interception. Miami running back Arian Foster picked up 38 yards on 13 carries and 62 yards on 3 receptions, while wide receiver Jarvis Landry caught 7 passes for 59 yards. Seattle had receiver Doug Baldwin catch 9 passes for 92 yards with a score. Running back Christine Michael picked up 66 yards on 15 carries while Thomas Rawls added 32 yards on 12 carries.
Final Score: Dolphins 10 - Seahawks 12
New England Patriots at Arizona Cardinals
The Jimmy Garoppolo era in New England, an era that should only last four games, began with a win, even if it took a missed Arizona field goal to make it happen. Garoppolo did do his best Tom Brady impersonation, however, leading a scoring drive just before the Arizona missed field goal to put the Patriots in the lead late in the game.
Garoppolo was 24-for-33 for 264 yards with a touchdown in the game, while Arizona’s Carson Palmer was 24-for-37 for 271 yards with two touchdowns. New England’s LeGarrette Blount picked up 70 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, with the Cardinals’ David Johnson carrying the ball 16 times for 89 yards and a score. The Patriots had Julian Edelman catch 7 passes for 66 yards and Chris Hogan gain 60 yards with a touchdown on just 3 receptions. Larry Fitzgerald lead the Cardinals with 8 receptions for 81 yards and two touchdowns.
Arizona punted on their first possession, only to have New England go 74 yards on eight plays for a 37-yard touchdown pass from Garoppolo to Hogan. Another Arizona punt was followed by more points from the Patriots, this time a 47-yard field goal and a 10-0 lead. A third Cardinals punt was followed by a Patriots fumble and Arizona recovery. The Cardinals finally put points on the board with the first Fitzgerald touchdown, a 3-yard pass from Palmer, late in the second quarter.
The Patriots opened the second half with a touchdown, going 75 yards on nine plays, capped with a Blount 8-yard run for the score. Another Arizona punt and New England fumble led to another Cardinals touchdown, this time on a 1-yard run from David Johnson.
The fourth quarter than saw a 53-yard field goal from the Patriots, followed by a 1-yard touchdown catch from Fitzgerald from Palmer for the Cardinals, giving them a 21-20 lead. The Patriots would go 61 yards on 13 plays on the next possession, leading to a 32-yard field goal. After an 11-play, 63-yard drive, the Cardinals would set up for a game-winning field goal with 41 seconds remaining, but the 47-yarder would miss wide left and the Patriots would escape with the win.
Final Score: Patriots 23 - Cardinals 21
AFC East Standings