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Week 8 AFC East Recap: Bills remain dominant, Mike White shocks the world

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills Mark Konezny-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 8.

AFC East Standings

  1. Buffalo Bills (5-2) overall; (2-0) division
  2. New England Patriots (4-4) overall; (2-1) division
  3. New York Jets (2-5) overall; (0-2) division
  4. Miami Dolphins (1-7) overall; (1-2) division

AFC East Scores

Buffalo Bills 26 - Miami Dolphins 11

New York Jets 34 - Cincinnati Bengals 31

New England Patriots 27 - Los Angeles Chargers 24

AFC East Week 8 Headlines

Bills Continue Dominance over Dolphins, Tagovailoa Struggles Amidst Uncertainty

The trade deadline has come and gone, and Tua Tagovailoa is still the starting quarterback of the Miami Dolphins. Yet, his future with the team is anything but certain, and the second-year passer’s performance against the Buffalo Bills didn’t do anything to quell the concerns of those who remain skeptical of his potential to be the franchise quarterback of the future.

Facing a steady stream of pressure and getting little help from an inept running game, Tagovailoa was unable to put the offense on his back and will the team to a win over the clear kings of the division. Miami’s offense managed just 11 points against a fearsome Bills defensive front and, despite being competitive for much of the contest thanks to renewed vigor from Miami’s defense, Tagovailoa and the Dolphins ultimately fell flat en route to a seventh straight loss.

Mike White Surprises as Jets’ Interim (and future?) Starting Quarterback

Who saw that coming? I’d venture to guess that 99% of NFL fans had never heard Mike White’s name prior to the Week 8 contest between the Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets. The Bengals were red-hot coming into this game on both offense and defense, and somehow, a 2018 fifth-overall pick who had never started an NFL game managed to come out swinging and lead his team to one of the biggest upset wins of the season.

White completed 37 of 45 pass attempts for a whopping 405 yards and three scores. He made big throws downfield, played clutch ball in the game’s waning moments, and ignited a spark in New York’s offense that hasn’t been seen all season (or maybe in years?). Robert Saleh played coy in answering what the future of the Jets quarterback position looks like with both White and second-overall pick Zach Wilson in the picture, but it’s hard to imagine the team giving up on Wilson in favor of White based off this one performance. Regardless, White’s showcase earned him another start in Week 9. We’ll see if he can maintain the magic moving forward.

Patriots Rebuild Progressing Quickly Behind Steady Play from Mac Jones

The Patriots stumbled through the 2020 season following the departure of Tom Brady, but after a free agent spending spree and selection of the team’s heir apparent, New England looks ready to compete. In Week 8’s matchup against a Los Angeles Chargers team that some consider to be challengers for the AFC crown, Jones piloted the offense to 27 points and a victory.

The rookie wasn’t stellar in this game, only completing 18 of 35 passes for 218 yards, but you can see poise and command of the offense from Jones’ presence under center. It’s worth noting that he is helped by a sturdy offensive line and bullying running game led by impressive third-year back Damien Harris, but there’s hope to be had in New England’s 15th-overall pick, even if just based on the “eye test.”

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