Jets Upset Patriots in Overtime to Tighten AFC East Race
There were only two games involving AFC East teams this past weekend, but both were big games in the standings. All four teams were playing each other as the Buffalo Bills went down to South Florida and pulled one out over the Miami Dolphins 23-21 and the New York Jets surprised the New England Patriots in overtime 27-24.
The Jets win was a strange as they benefited from a little known new penalty put in just this season. In yet another strange move to penalize the defense this season, the team trying to block a place kick is not allow to push a teammate in the back to help the line surge in for the block attempt. What injury was this supposed to prevent? Was it to guard against fingernail scratches? Nick Foles missed a 54 yard attempt about half-way through the overtime that would have set Tom Brady up near mid-field only needing to get into field goal range to win it. But the penalty flag moved the ball up 15 yards (really? You get more yards for that than you do for holding?) and Foles connected for the game winner.
While I really hate games decided by the refs, in their defense, the rule does exist and it is their job to enforce them. Unlike in the NBA where officials will let assault and battery take place and won’t blow a whistle under the guise of “we don’t want the refs deciding the game”, the NFL refs did their job. After all, isn’t letting an offensive player get mugged at the end of a game and not blowing a whistle deciding the outcome in favor of the team on defense? It’s an unfortunate way to lose a game, and if Patriots fans are fuming today, they have a right to be. But don’t blame the officials. Blame the idiots who keep coming up with new rules to make football “safer.”
One thing this win does for the Jets and also the Bills and Dolphins, is it puts a little doubt in the minds of the Pats and a little more belief in the rest of the division that they can hang with them. The Pats lead in the East is now only one game over the Jets. New England is now 5-2 and the Jets are 4-3. The Dolphins are right behind the Jets at 3-3 and the Bills are 3-4. The Patriots are usually leaving the field about this time of the year but all three teams trail by two games or less. That may keep things interesting a bit longer.
The Bills used a big defensive play from Mario Williams to knock off Miami. Trailing 21-20 late in the game, the Bills defensive end knocked the ball from Ryan Tannehill as he went back to throw. The ball squirted backwards and a Bills player fell on it already in field goal range. The offense ran the clocks down ans they drove the ball inside the Miami 10. Dan Carpenter, let go from Miami earlier in the year when they decided to go with rookie Caleb Sturgis who had a 51-yarder bounce off the goal post earlier in the game, connected as the clock ran out to give Buffalo the win. It had to be a thrill for Carpenter to win the game in Miami like that.