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Week 7 AFC East Recap: Patriots trounce Jets, Dolphins fall to 1-6 Despite Tua’s best efforts

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Every week through the 2021 season, I’ll be recapping the action from around the AFC East. A companion article will be released later each week to preview the upcoming Sunday’s action for the Dolphins, Patriots, Bills, and Jets. Without further ado, let’s break down everything we saw from the AFC East in Week 7.

AFC East Standings

  1. Buffalo Bills (4-2) overall; (1-0) division
  2. New England Patriots (3-4) overall; (2-1) division
  3. New York Jets (1-5) overall; (0-2) division
  4. Miami Dolphins (1-6) overall; (1-1) division

AFC East Scores

New England Patriots 54 - New York jets 13

Atlanta Falcons 30 - Miami Dolphins 28

AFC East Headlines

Tua Tagovailoa Impresses Despite Losses and Interceptions

Tua Tagovailoa has been phenomenal in the 4th quarter. Per a Tweet from Chris Kouffman of the Three Yards Per Carry Podcast, Tagovailoa has the highest fourth quarter passer rating among all quarterbacks with at least 90 pass attempts since 1994. That’s wild. I already hear the quippy responses from those saying, “Miami is 1-6. Who cares?!” I care. Tua hasn’t been perfect. He’s made mistakes that young quarterbacks often make, as evidenced by an ugly redzone interception against Atlanta and a second turnover on a pass chucked irresponsibly under duress. But the progression he’s shown since last season, especially when it matters most, is stark.

Tagovailoa’s comeback attempt against the Falcons displayed exactly the type of clutch play, poise, and moxie you want to see from a potential franchise quarterback. The accuracy, escapability, and command of the offense the sophomore signal caller has shown this season should provide plenty of confidence and hope. The coaching staff’s mistakes, defense’s massive regression, and special teams miscues that, along with Tagovailoa’s few turnovers, have led to six straight losses should not distract from the fact that the 2020 fifth-overall pick is growing and should be given further chance to show he’s the guy.

Zach Wilson Injured Amidst Demolition at the Hands of New England

The Jets are a mess right now. Sitting at 1-5, the one light of hope heading into each contest in a season in which the team clearly isn’t competing for the playoffs was the flash of talent displayed by rookie second-overall pick Zach Wilson. Now, Robert Saleh’s squad is coming off its worst loss in years, and Wilson has been knocked out for 2-4 weeks with a PCL sprain.

Jets owner Woody Johnson expressed great confidence and support for Saleh earlier this week, as he should for one 2021’s hottest head coaching candidates only six games into his tenure. Saleh’s goal for the foreseeable future should be finding ways to start faster. The Jets still have zero first quarter points this season. That needs to change if the team’s outlook is going to improve.

Follow Justin Hier on Twitter.