On any given Sunday, any underdog can put a scare into a favored team. In Tennessee, the Bills had to deal with such an issue.
Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor bounced back from a rough first half and the Buffalo defense played lights out, allowing the Buffalo Bills to come back and beat the Tennessee Titans, 14-13 in Nashville.
Taylor went 10/17 for just 109 yards, but added a passing touchdown, 76 yards rushing and a stunning rushing touchdown. The Bills defense pressured Titans rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee offense to just 276 yards and a game sealing interception.
The Bills offense sputtered in the first half for a second week in a row, but a gutsy effort by Taylor and a bounce back performance by the Buffalo defense allowed the Bills to claim their third win of the season.
Here are some postgame thoughts about Buffalo’s 14-13 win over Tennessee:
- This offense had a rough first half, to put it kindly. Taylor was often off-target, the running game could not get going and there were even some dropped passes. This comes one week after having similar issues in the first half against the New York Giants. Clearly, missing running backs LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams (4 TDs in 4 games) and wide receiver Sammy Watkins hurt this Bills offense. Without these players, it is clear that Buffalo is not the same high-octane offense that was showcased in Weeks 1-3.
- Taylor had his lowest yardage output of the season, yet still managed to will Buffalo to victory. Through the first four weeks, Taylor’s running abilities were often not widely showcased, as Taylor was more than willing to move the ball from the pocket. On Sunday, however, Taylor was flushed out of the pocket often, and decided to be more inclined to take off for positive yards. Taylor became the 5th player in NFL history to throw for over 100 yards, run for over 50 yards and also catch a pass (from wide receiver Chris Hogan). The last player to accomplish Taylor’s feat? Former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham back in 1987.
- The Bills had major issues containing Titans defensive tackle Jurrell Casey. Casey was stout in defending the run, and was a pain in Taylor’s rear, notching 1.5 sacks. Casey left the game with an injury during what would be Buffalo’s two scoring drives. Coincidence? Not at all. Sometimes, it’s simply better to be lucky than good. In addition to Casey causing trouble, Bills right tackle Seantrel Henderson was bailed out by Taylor’s heroics on a 25 yard run on a 3rd and 22. It was 3rd and 22 due to 15 yards of penalties accrued by Henderson, on a hold and false start on consecutive snaps.
- Buffalo players had wristbands that said “YES SIR”, to remind the players what to say during any penalty call. Buffalo wanted to address the horrible penalty issues, but sometimes they kept getting in the way. It started on the opening kickoff, as special teams ace Marcus Easley was offsides. It negated a fumble recovery that would’ve given Buffalo the ball at the Titans’ 2 yard line. However, they responded positively after several penalties, namely a questionable personal foul for a hit to the head on safety Corey Graham. Fellow safety Aaron Williams pulled Graham away, and the Bills eventually forced a Tennessee punt. Defensive end Jerry Hughes also pulled linebacker Nigel Bradham away from contesting another penalty call. Buffalo finished with just 7 penalties for 62 yards, a fresh change from weeks previous.
- Buffalo signed kicker Billy Cundiff and wide receiver Denarius Moore this week to get some spark from their special teams unit. However, both players caused issues for the Bills on Sunday. The Bills kickoff unit was not used to Cundiff’s approach, which led to Easley being offside. Cundiff also had zero touchbacks, something newly-released kicker Jordan Gay is able to do in his sleep. Moore, in his debut returning punts, fumbled during a return, which led to a short field for Tennessee’s only touchdown of the game. Moore also called a fair catch within the 10 yard line, something that now-free agent Marcus Thigpen caught heat for last week. Perhaps these new signings were a bad idea?
WHAT’S NEXT: After a gutsy win, the Buffalo Bills (3-2, 1-1 AFC East) host the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals (5-0, 1-0 AFC North) on Sunday, October 18th at 1:00 pm at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
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