Week 2 saw the AFC East have two games take place within the division, and both yielded lopsided victories. The Miami Dolphins were trounced by the Buffalo Bills and lost Tua Tagovailoa to injury in the process. The New York Jets didn’t fare much better, with the team’s much-celebrated rookie gunslinger showing little cause for celebration against the New England Patriots.
Every week through the 2021 season, I’ll be recapping the action from around the NFL’s most intriguing division. 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 2.
AFC East Standings
- Buffalo Bills (1-1) overall; (1-0) division
- Miami Dolphins (1-1) overall; (1-1) division
- New England Patriots (1-1) overall; (1-1) division*
- New York Jets (0-2) overall; (0-1) division
*Miami wins a tiebreaker over New England based on head-to-head record.
AFC East Scores
Buffalo Bills 35 - Miami Dolphins 0
New England Patriots 25 - New York Jets 6
AFC East Headlines
Buffalo’s Superior Talent Wins Out, Exposes Glaring Holes in Miami’s Offense
Sunday’s matchup was ugly from Miami’s perspective, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. The team’s defense actually played rather well for most of the contest, and many individual defenders graded well, per PFF, but an endless supply of unforced errors by the offense throughout the game gave the Dolphins no shot. Fumbles, penalties, and dropped passes gave Buffalo more opportunities than they needed to put the game away. The most jarring realization was how poor Miami was at protecting the quarterback, no matter who was under center. Jacoby Brissett, who came in for an injured Tua in the first quarter, was pressured on a whopping seventy percent of his passes, per PFF.
Highest-graded #Dolphins players in Week 2 (all defense):— Ryan Smith (@PFF_RyanSmith) September 20, 2021
- Andrew Van Ginkel - 91.1
- Zach Sieler - 86.6
- Xavien Howard - 82.3
- Jevon Holland - 77.5
- Eric Rowe - 76.0
- Christian Wilkins - 74.9#BUFvsMIA #FinsUp
Buffalo, despite the team’s frustrating Week 1 loss, is clearly still the most talented team in the division. Josh Allen was protected well, Devin Singletary found space on the ground, and the Bills’ defensive playmakers roamed free in Miami’s backfield. It’s still very early in the season, but Miami needs to find fast fixes if it still hopes to push Buffalo for the division crown by the season’s end.
Tua Tagovailoa Suffers Bruised Ribs, Remains Questionable for Week 3
Tua never had a chance. He took shot after shot through Miami’s first couple of drives and left the contest predictably bruised and battered. Forget notions of being injury prone; Jacoby Brissett got up slowly several times throughout the contest too. That’s what happens when pass protections break down at a historic rate.
As it stands now, Miami’s starting quarterback escaped a major injury has a chance to suit up in Week 3 against a Las Vegas Raiders team that has started the season firing on all cylinders. Per head coach Brian Flores, Tua was pushing to come back on Sunday, but was held out by the medical and coaching staffs. Flores said that if Tua can manage the pain, he’ll be out there against Las Vegas. If not, expect Jacoby Brissett to take the reins with practice squad quarterback Reid Sinnett backing him up.
Zach Wilson Flounders Against Bill Belichick’s Defense
We all know about Bilichick’s reputation for making life difficult on rookie quarterbacks. Week 2 was no exception. Wilson and the Jets offense managed just six points, and the rookie signal caller threw four interceptions en route to a deflating loss that showed just how different the NFL is from Wilson’s days at Brigham Young University. Through two contests, Gang Green’s rookie has displayed flashes of the playmaking brilliance that had Jets fans salivating when the team drafted him with the second overall pick back in April, but the mistakes have shown up in droves as well.
Clearly, it’s going to take time for Wilson to settle in, but that’s to be expected. Justin Herbert-type rookie seasons don’t come around very often, and NFL fandom was spoiled by the Los Angeles Chargers’ QB’s short learning curve last year. Wilson will likely come around. He just needs some time to marinate.
Follow Justin Hier on Twitter @HierJustin.