New England Patriots Go 3-0 During the Bye Week


Aug 4, 2014; Richmond, VA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick leaves the field after joint practice with the Washington Redskins on day ten of training camp at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It was a fruitful bye week for the New England Patriots as they picked up an extra game on their division rivals in the AFC East and got a gift from the New York Jets. The Miami Dolphins went into Detroit and lost 20-16 losing a lead late in the game in heartbreaking fashion. The Buffalo Bills hosted the Kansas City Chiefs and took a 13-3 lead into the fourth quarter before falling 17-13. Finally, after conference rival Pittsburgh emerged as a legitimate challenger for the AFC crown the past few weeks, Jets head coach Rex Ryan dialed-up a game plan that showed how to shut down Ben Roethlisberger and the potent Steelers passing attack.


Nov 9, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions running back Theo Riddick (25) makes a catch in the end zone for a touchdown while being defended by Miami Dolphins strong safety Reshad Jones (20) during the fourth quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Both the Dolphins and Bills dropped to two full games back in the standings behind the 7-2 Patriots as both teams fell to 5-4. Ryan Tannehill threw for just 207 yards for the Dolphins under heavy pressure from the Lions pass rush all day. The Dolphins running game fared no better as they garnered just 50 yards on 19 carries for 2.6 yards per carry average.


The Dolphins pass defense faced a two-man attack as Golden Tate and Calvin Johnson accounted for 18 of the 27 receptions and 222 of the 307 yards passing. The Dolphins offense only had one touchdown for the game and that came off a blocked field goal that was returned to the three yard line. The worst part of the day for Miami was losing left tackle Branden Albert who was carted off the field after apparently injuring his knee. If this is a long-term injury it could be devastating to the Dolphins.


Nov 9, 2014; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry (29) tackles Buffalo Bills wide receiver Robert Woods (10) during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Chiefs beat the Bills 17-13. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The Bills loss swung on special teams after punt returner Leodis McKelvin was unable to corral a punt early in the fourth quarter with the Bills clinging to a three point lead. Two plays later the Bills trailed and would not come back. There were some odd decision as the Bills initially punted when facing a fourth-and-one at their 41 with seven minutes to play. Then down four with all their timeouts and the two-minute warning the Bill eschewed a field goal and putting the game in the hands of their strong defense to get the ball back and failed to convert on fourth-and-ten from the 15-yard line.


Finally, the NFL received a gift from the New York Jets. While head coach Rex Ryan kept his job another week with the victory, he hurt the team’s chances of a top five draft pick and landing an impact quarterback next year. However, the defensive game plan saw Roethlisberger hemmed in the pocket with a limited pass rush and the zone flooded with defenders.


Nov 9, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) is sacked by New York Jets outside linebacker Quinton Coples (98) and strong safety Dawan Landry (26) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. The Jets defeated the Steelers 20-13. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets beat the Steelers 20-13 after Roethlisberger threw for 12 touchdowns over the prior two weeks. The Jets forced four turnovers and completely shut down the Steelers rushing attack holding them to 36 yards on 17 attempts. Despite being outgained by the Steelers 362 total yards to just 275, the Jets held the lead thanks to a 17 point first quarter and shut down the Steelers vaunted passing attack.


For the New England Patriots it was a banner bye week. Both the Dolphins and Bills lost, and now the two play on a short week on Thursday night with one team likely to fall to .500 after ten games. The Jets are out of contention but gift-wrapped a game plan to beat Pittsburgh should New England encounter them in the playoffs. For not playing this weekend, it was definitely a win for the Patriots.