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AFC East Roundup: A quarterback-driven league

The fate of the AFC East falls on the quarterbacks’ shoulders

Miami Dolphins v Buffalo Bills Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

We’re three weeks into the NFL regular season and two consistencies seem to have popped up in the AFC East. The first is that the defenses in the division are really tough to navigate. Currently, each of the four defenses rank in the upper half of the league in teams of points per game allowed. This makes sense seeing that the only head coach in the division with an offensive background is Mike McDaniel of the Miami Dolphins.

The other constant in the division appears to be how significantly quarterback play will dictate how far each team goes this season. With all four teams boasting a good defense, it serves to magnify the pressure on each QB1 to consistently deliver points. Let’s take a look at each signal caller’s Week 3 performance.

We’ll start with the wild buffalo in Orchard Park, NY, which would be quarterback Josh Allen. In Week 1, Allen appeared like a bull in a china shop at times but he bounced back in Week 2 and continued his solid play against the Washington Commanders. Allen was efficient against Washington, throwing for 218 yards and a touchdown while completing 62% of his passes. What Allen did well against Washington was avoiding the rush, while producing with his legs tot he tune of 46 yards on the ground and a touchdown. With the running game functioning much better than we’ve seen in the past, Allen is slowly transitioning into a game manager with a splash of Superman when needed.

From Washington we go down to South Beach to Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa who, like it or not, is the real deal. He continued his dominant start to the season with 309 yards through the air to go with four touchdown passes. Unlike Allen who has chosen a more methodical route with short passes, Tagovailoa has burned defenses over the top with his arm in September. We saw how good he could be last year, but his season was derailed by concussions. Now, he’s healthy and is easily the early leader in MVP voting. On the season, Tagovailoa already has over 1,000 yards through the air with eight touchdowns. His QBR of 83.2 currently leads the league as well.

The third quarterback in the AFC East who came away with a victory this week was Mac Jones of the New England Patriots. Jones wasn’t flashy with 201 yards through the air, but he did what had to be done. He had a huge 58-yard touchdown pass to tight end Pharaoh Brown that gave the Patriots a 10-0 lead they never relinquished to the New York Jets. Jones didn’t have a turnover to negatively change the momentum in the game. Jones isn’t the flashy quarterback that people drool over, but he is having a productive start to the season with five touchdowns and only two interceptions. Jones has kept the Patriots in every game this season and has had a couple bad breaks, which translates to their 1-2 start.

On the opposite side of that sideline in Week 3 was Jets quarterback Zach Wilson, who the fan base has seemed to turn on once again. Wilson was able to pull off the upset against the Bills in Week 1, but since then it has been all downhill. Against the Patriots, Wilson completed half of his passes for only 157 yards. The offense put up 10 points on the board, which wasted their dominant defense. Wilson has shown flashes of the form that made him a top pick, but he lacks consistency needed — the likes of which now has the fan base in an uproar because they know that time is ticking. On Tuesday, the Jets brought in quarterback Trevor Siemian, who’s expected to sign a free-agent contract with the team.