AFC East: Week Nine Review

The Buffalo Bills Beat the Packers at home for a much-needed win. The Dolphins had the upset of the year at Chicago. New York had a bye week to ponder their loss to Cleveland and the Patriots... had a week to reflect on their turnover-plagued game against the Colts.

Division Report as of 11/08/06

Bills :: Jets :: Dolphins :: Patriots

    BUFFALO BILLS     Bills :: Jets :: Dolphins :: Patriots

Looking Back At Week Nine: W 24-10 vs Green Bay

Despite serious injuries to running back Willis McGahee (broken rib) and wide receiver Josh Reed (bruised kidney), coach Dick Jauron said he did not anticipate having to make any personnel moves.

Even though McGahee and Reed could miss an extended period of time, their injuries aren't season-ending and Buffalo's depth appears to be more than adequate.

Veteran Anthony Thomas filled in for McGahee in Sunday's win over Green Bay and responded with 95 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. McGahee is expected to miss at least two weeks recovering from a broken ninth rib, which is near the bottom of the rib cage. How soon he returns is partly an issue of pain-tolerance.

"It depends on how painful it is and it depends on the extent of the fracture and all those things that we're still learning," Jauron said. "We'll know a lot more as we go through the week."

At wide receiver, Sam Aiken is still nursing a hamstring pull but the talent level is still strong with Reed's injury giving more playing time to Roscoe Parrish and Andre Davis behind starters Lee Evans and Peerless Price. Activating George Wilson off the practice squad remains an option.

"We've said all along, we think we have a good group of receivers," Jauron said. "Some people's roles will expand greatly. Roscoe (Parrish) and Andre (Davis) will see some more playing time. We'll have to decide exactly how that fits, what their roles will be in these groupings, but we have a lot of confidence in those people."

PLAYER NOTES

--RB Anthony Thomas, who gained 95 yards and scored on a game-clinching 14-yard TD run against Green Bay in relief of an injured Willis McGahee (ribs), is expected to start Sunday at Indianapolis. The Colts sport the NFL's worst run defense, allowing 165.4 yards per game.
--WR Josh Reed, who was hospitalized with a bruised kidney following last weekend's victory over Green Bay, will likely sit out Sunday's game at Indianapolis, if nothing else as a precaution. The team is proceeding with extreme caution since Reed's injury involves an internal organ. The Bills did announce Tuesday that Reed has been released from the hospital.
--QB J.P. Losman ranks 21st in passing yardage in the NFL with 1,415 through eight games. He also has seven TDs and six interceptions. In eight starts spread out over last season, he threw for 1,340 yards, eight TDs and eight interceptions.
--LB London Fletcher has a team-leading 75 tackles and is one of two defenders in the NFL (Tampa Bay's Ronde Barber is the other) this season with two touchdowns. Fletcher had a fumble return for a TD against New England and returned an interception for a score last Sunday against Green Bay.
--DE Aaron Schobel ranks seventh in NFL sacks with seven. He has a sack in four consecutive games to tie a career best.
--FS Ko Simpson's 76-yard interception return against the Packers was the second-longest non-scoring interception in team history. The longest was 91 yards by Booker Edgerson against Houston in 1964.
--KR Terrence McGee has a kickoff return of at least 40 yards in three consecutive games and he has gone four consecutive games with at least 100 total yards.


    MIAMI DOLPHINS     Bills :: Jets :: Dolphins :: Patriots

Looking Back At Week Nine: W 31-13 at Chicago

Whoever says that the bye week doesn't help coaches prepare for their next opponent need just examine the Dolphins' stunning 31-13 rout of the previously undefeated Bears Sunday.

Assistant head coach Dom Capers, who is really the defensive chief, had his troops blitz Bears inexperienced quarterback Rex Grossman 26 of the 45 times he dropped back to pass.

The blitzes came from all angles, particularly from linebackers Channing Crowder and Zach Thomas -- who actually came in hot four times in the final minute with the Dolphins up 18 points.

"We threw a few of them at him this game, and they got to Rex," Thomas said. "Pressure always wins for you if you can get it."

Crowder decked his former Gator teammate twice right after he released one of his 24 incompletes. Thomas basically knee-capped Grossman late in the first quarter and seemed to rattle him for the rest of the game. Defensive end Jason Taylor notched one of the three sacks, No. 100.5 of his career, and once again forced a fumble that was recovered by Kevin Carter.

Taylor also skied for a game-turning interception, which he took to the house after juking Grossman out of his cleats. David Bowens registered his first sack of the season and Carter got career No. 95, chasing Taylor and vying to become the 24th player to reach 100 (since the sack became official in 1982).

Offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey also called his best game of the season as he veered from his predecessor's (Scott Linehan) playbook. He finally force-fed running back Ronnie Brown with a career-high 29 attempts after the second-year back had been averaging just 17.7 totes in the previous seven games.

Granted, the Dolphins have been playing from behind all season, but Mularkey had been abandoning the run far too early. He also took some shots downfield for a change and was rewarded when Chris Chambers made an acrobatic 24-yard touchdown catch over Charles Tillman. If Joey Harrington was sharper, a wide-open Marty Booker would have had a probable 58-yard touchdown on a smartly called third-and-3 in the third quarter.

PLAYER NOTES

-- OG Toniu Fonoti signed with Miami.
-- TE Jason Rader was waived by Miami.
-- QB Joey Harrington is now 5-3 against the Bears (4-3 with the Lions). He threw three touchdowns, marking the sixth time in his career that he has thrown three or more touchdown passes in a game.
-- RB Ronnie Brown's 157 rushing yards Sunday was the most by a Dolphins running back since Ricky Williams gained 185 against the Patriots on Dec. 29, 2002. His 5.4 yards per carry marks the second time he's eclipsed 5.0 this year. He averaged 5.8 a pop against the Jets on Oct. 15.
-- WR Chris Chambers continues to struggle in the first half of games this season. He has 10 catches for 73 yards in the first 30 minutes, and 23 for 284 yards with all four of his touchdowns in the second. Chambers dropped two passes in the first quarter Sunday, including a potential long-gainer, but he did make two great catches in the second half, including a one-handed grab and a leaping 24-yarder for the game-clinching touchdown over Charles Tillman.
-- WR Marty Booker said he took no extra pleasure in ending the Bears' undefeated season Sunday, but don't believe him. He was hurt when he was traded to the Dolphins before the 2004 season for DE Adewale Ogunleye and a third-round pick, which turned out to be LB Channing Crowder. By the way, that trade is not looking so bad for the Dolphins these days. Booker saluted the fans after his 5-yard touchdown catch Sunday by blowing them kisses. He is truly an icon in Chicago where he had two of the best seasons ever by a Bears receiver when he had 197 catches from 2001-02.
-- TE Randy McMichael only had one catch for 11 yards Sunday after averaging seven catches for 77.7 yards per game in the last three games, but his blocking helped spring Brown for several long runs as well as preventing Harrington from getting sacked.
-- DE Jason Taylor politely turned down former Dolphins guard Bob Keuchenberg's offer of dining with him at Shula's Steakhouse after the "grumpy" 1972 alum criticized the team all week long, although Taylor did say to send him the money and he'd go without him. On Monday, Kuechenberg praised the Dolphins and said: "You don't want to kick someone when they're down. On the other hand, they're down for a reason. Sometimes, we need to be kicked." Too little, too late Bitter Bob -- which Zach Thomas dubbed him.
-- LB Channing Crowder had one of the best games of his career against the Bears with 12 tackles and two quarterback 'hurries' in which he decked his former Gators teammate Rex Grossman. Saban gave out his weekly defensive honors to Crowder, Taylor, Thomas and Kevin Carter.
-- RB Sammy Morris was given special teams player of the week honors by coach Nick Saban for his three tackles and forced fumble. "It's about time," Morris said with a smile on Monday.
-- DE Vonnie Holliday said he understood Cardinals coach Dennis Green's outburst after Arizona blew a 20-point second-half lead to the Bears a few weeks ago. "Going into Chicago, nobody giving us a chance which pissed us off, we felt like Dennis Green. We saw Chicago on film and they were exactly the way we thought they were ... and we didn't let them off the hook."


 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS     Bills :: Jets :: Dolphins :: Patriots

Looking Back At Week Nine: L 20-27 vs Indianapolis

Notes:
--QB Tom Brady recorded his worst outing to the season against the Colts, a four-interception game that resulted in a season-low 34.0 passer rating. Brady has had a lower passer rating in just one other game in his career, a 22.5 rating in a 31-0, four-pick loss in Buffalo in the season opener of 2003.
--RB Corey Dillon scored on two short second-quarter runs in the loss to the Colts, and now leads the Patriots with six touchdowns on the season. Dillon has rushed for a career-best 12 scores in each of the last two seasons, his first two in New England and is on pace to match that mark once again in 2006.
--TE Benjamin Watson caught four passes for 54 yards in the loss to Indy to improve on his team-best 32 receptions and 420 yards on the season.
--WR Troy Brown matched a season high with five catches for 37 yards in the loss to the Colts as the 14-year veteran became the team's all-time leader in receptions with 538 for his career. And as he's done at times over the last three seasons, Brown also got in a little action at defensive back in the loss.
--WR Doug Gabriel had the longest catch for New England against Indy, a 39-yard grab in the first quarter. Gabriel, who has 22 receptions for 302 yards and two scores, has a 13.7-yard average, the longest of any New England receiver with more than with more than seven catches on the season.
--DB Chad Scott recorded his second interception in as many weeks, picking off a Peyton Manning pass intended for Dallas Clark early in the fourth quarter of Sunday's loss to the Colts. Scott's two picks ranks second on New England, trailing Asante Samuel's team-best three interceptions.
--OLB Rosevelt Colvin had an active evening rushing Peyton Manning in Sunday night's loss. Colvin finished the game with five tackles, 1.5 sacks and in impressive seven quarterback hits.
--LB Junior Seau tied for a game high with 11 tackles in the loss to Indy, including his first sack in a Patriots uniform.
--KR Laurence Maroney average 27.8 yards on five kickoff returns in the loss to the Colts, and continues to lead the NFL in kick returns with a 29.7-yard average for the season.
--PK Stephen Gostkowski attempted and made his first career field goal of greater than 40 yards with a 49 yarder in the third quarter of Sunday night's loss. The rookie also hit from 26 yards out, but missed badly wide right on a 36-yard attempt and is now 8-of-12 on field goal attempts this season.


 NEW YORK JETS     Bills :: Jets :: Dolphins :: Patriots

Looking Back At Week Nine: Bye

PLAYER NOTES

--QB Chad Pennington is 14th in the NFL in passer rating at 82.3. He has completed 136 of 218 attempts for 1,558 yards and nine touchdowns with eight interceptions.
--RB Leon Washington leads the Jets with 397 yards on 86 carries, a 4.6 average. The rookie from Florida State has rushed for two TDs.
--TE Chris Baker has 15 receptions for 132 yards and two TDs. The Jets say that would like to get him more involved in the passing game in the second half of the season.
--WR Laveranues Coles has a team-leading 46 receptions for 606 yards and three touchdowns. He is tied for sixth in the NFL in receptions.
--WR Jerricho Cotchery has 35 receptions for 461 yards and three touchdowns. He is tied for 29th in the NFL in receptions.
--ILB Jonathan Vilma leads the team with 69 tackles, including 43 solo stops.
--LB Eric Barton has 66 tackles, including 48 solos and two sacks.
--SS Kerry Rhodes has a team-high three sacks, but none since Sept. 24.
--CB Andre Dyson has a team-high three interceptions, but only one since opening day.
--WR-PR Tim Dwight is averaging 10.2 yards on nine punt returns, and has eight receptions for 49 yards.

 

Related: Bills Report | Jets Confidential | Dolphin Digest | Patriots Insider


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