Turnovers, penalties haunt Bills in first loss of the season, 42-16 blowout vs. Titans

Buffalo Bills

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) knocks down Buffalo Bills cornerback Josh Norman (29) in the first half of an NFL football game Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Tannehill scores 4 TDs as depleted Titans beat Bills 42-16

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The wait between games caused by the NFL’s first COVID-19 outbreak left the Tennessee Titans depleted.

They’re still undefeated.

Ryan Tannehill threw for three touchdowns and ran for another as the Titans routed the Buffalo Bills 42-16 on a rare Tuesday night in a showdown between two of the NFL’s five remaining undefeated teams pushed back two days after a couple more positive tests for Tennessee last week.

The Titans (4-0) continued their best start since winning their first 10 games in 2008 despite getting on the field the past three days since their last game Sept. 27 in Minnesota.

Malcolm Butler intercepted two passes, the second he returned 68 yards, and both set up short touchdowns for Tennessee. Kareem Orr’s recovery of a fumbled kickoff set up Tannehill’s fourth TD for 21 points off Buffalo’s three turnovers. Kalif Raymond’s 40-yard punt return also set up a 1-yard TD run by Derrick Henry.

The Bills (4-1) had not won five straight games since 2004, and they came in looking for the franchise’s best start since 1991 when Buffalo reached the Super Bowl. They also played without starting cornerbacks with Tre’Davious White inactive because of a back injury and Levi Wallace on injured reserve.

Starting wide receiver John Brown also was out for Buffalo, which had scored at least 30 points in the past three games.

Josh Allen came in second in the NFL in yards passing. He threw for 263 yards and two TDs. Stephon Diggs had 10 catches for 106 yards.

The Titans needed the turnovers with seven key players on the reserve/COVID-19 list led by wide receivers Corey Davis and Adam Humphries and defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons. They also were missing a couple assistant coaches and two players activated off that reserve list earlier Tuesday were scratched.

The Titans got a big boost on the Bills’ opening drive.

Allen’s pass went off Andre Roberts’ hands right to Butler, and he returned the interception 29 yards to the Bills 16. Two plays later, Tannehill hit A.J. Brown, who missed the last two games with an injured knee, for a 16-yard TD for the quick lead.

The Bills tied it up with a methodical 15-play drive converting four third downs, taking advantage of a Titans’ defense playing a pair of rookies in end Larrell Murchison and cornerback Chris Jackson. Allen tossed the ball to Isaiah McKenzie for a 3-yard TD tying it up, the ninth different Bill to catch a TD pass from Allen.

The Titans scored 21 of the next 24 points.

Tennessee led 21-10 at halftime after Tannehill ran in from 10 yards seconds before the half. Butler refused to go down after picking off an Allen throw to Gabriel Davis late in the third, and Tannehill found Jonnu Smith for a 4-yard TD and a 28-10 lead three plays later.

HEY YOU

The Titans had roughly 8,600 fans on hand for this game. Tennessee originally was going to have fans Oct. 4 for the first time this season, but the outbreak pushed that game with Pittsburgh to Oct. 25. Zip ties were used to keep fans from switching seats, and neck gaiters were given out.

INJURIES

Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan had been questionable with a shoulder injury, and he went to the sideline late in the second quarter after Bills tackle Harrison Phillips landed on him. Lewan went immediately to the sideline and was replaced by Ty Sambrailo, but he returned in the third. … Rookie RB Darrynton Evans aggravated a hamstring in the second quarter. He did not return.

Bills tight end Dawson Knox hurt a calf.

UP NEXT

Bills will host Kansas City on Monday night.

Titans host Texans on Sunday.

Gameday blog

NASVHILLE, Tenn. (WROC) — The Tennessee Titans reported no new coronavirus tests Tuesday which means they will host the Buffalo Bills in a rescheduled matchup Tuesday night.

Pregame

The Bills (4-0) left for Nasvhille Monday night. The Titans (3-0) had the NFL’s first COVID-19 outbreak, with a total of 24 players and personnel who tested positive, but the team has since gone without a positive test in six of the past nine days.

Its the Titans first game since a September 27 win over the Minnesota Vikings. The Bills will be on a short week with a Monday Night Football matchup looming with the defending Super Bowl Champions, the Kansas City Chiefs — but we’ll worry about that later. For now, it’ gametime.

The Bills will be without some key contributors, including Pro Bowl cornerback Tre White, wide receiver John Brown, running back Zach Moss, linebacker Matt Milano, and offensive linema Quinton Spain, among others.

1st quarter

Bills got the ball to start the game, and on 3rd and four Josh Allen threw his second interception of the year It was hardly Allen’s fault as he put a perfect pass on target for wide-receiver Andrew Roberts who bobbled the ball up in the air, helping Titans cornerback Malcom Butler pick it off and return it 29 yards to Buffalo’s 16-yard-line. Not a great start.

Titans made quick work of the opportunity when Ryan Tannehill found receiver A.J. Brown in the endzone for a 16-yard touchdown pass. Titans kicker Stephen Gostkowski made the extra point and Tennessee took an early 7-0 lead. To reiterate, not a great start.

Allen led a gutsy drive after the troubled start, including multiple 3rd-and-long conversions. Allen connected with wide receiver Gabriel Davis for a 23-yard touchdown, but that was called back after a Bills penalty; illegal formation. No big deal, on the next play, 3rd and 15, Allen found Roberts along the sideline for a 16-yard gain.

Not for naught, either: Two plays later, receiver Isaiah McKenzie caught a 3-yard touchdown. Kicker Tyler Bass made the extra point, and tied it up 7-7, with 6:02 left in the game. A solid 15-play, 76-yard drive to bounce back from the rough start.

The Bills defense, without the key contributors, answered the call on the following drive, holding the Titans to a short, four-play 16-yard drive that resulted in a 55-yard punt with the Bills taking over at their own 10 yard line, with 3:53 left in the opening quarter.

And then the Bills did what they haven’t done much this season: A three-and-out. Titans receiver Kalif Raymond had a big punt return, for 40 yards, all the way down to the Buffalo 30. Couple plays later, the first quarter ended, 7-7 all.

2nd quarter

Tannehill found Brown for 16 yards and two plays later running back Derrick Henry punched it in for a 1-yard touchdown run. Gostkowski converted on the extra point and gave the Titans a 14-7 lead early in the second.

On the ensuing drive, Allen found tight end Dawson Knox for 15 yards, then wide receiver tefon Diggs, for 14 yards. Next play, however, was not so good, as Allen was sacked for a 10 yard loss. Through a little more than a quarter of play, Allen’s jersey is already very dirty.

Allen completed a few more passes before the drive ultimately reached a fourth down, to which Bass concluded the the 10-play, 50-yard effort with a successful 43-yard field goal, bringing the score to 14-10 with 8:35 remaining in the second.

Titans then mounted a sturdy eight-play, 38-yard drive, but was ultimately held at their own 37 yard line where they sent a punt down to Buffalo’s 9-yard line, where the Bills would take over 3:55 left in the opening half.

That was fast: Three and out for the Bills. Fortunately, for Bills fans, punter Corey Bojorquez bombed a punt for 74 yards. A holding penalty on the Titans helped flip the field in Buffalo’s favor as the Titans took over at their own 15-yard line.

Titans continue to move the ball easily on offense. A 12-play, 90-yard drive ended with a 10-yard touchdown run for Tannehill and a Gostkowski’s extra put Tennessee up 21-17 with 16 seconds left in the half.

Bills kneeled to send it into the half down by 11.

For the first time all season, the Bills were objectively outplayed in the first half. They had less first downs (14-9), less yards (194-141), more turnovers (1-0), and more sacks allowed (1-0), but that’s why you play a second half.

3rd quarter

Titans opened up the second half with a nine-play, 44-yard drive that resulted in quality punt. Bills set to take over at their own 3-yard line with 9:50 left in the third quarter.

What started as a promising 13-play, 64 yard drive for the Bills, ended without a miscommunication on the offensive end as Allen threw his second interception of the day, with no receiver in the immediate area. It was Butler’s second pick of the night, and he returned it all the way to the Bills’ 12-yard line, after a return of 68 yards.

The Bills appeared to have stopped the Titans, before a late roughing the passer penalty bailed the Tennessee drive. On the next play Tannehill threw a 4-yard touchdown pass tight end Jonnu Smith. Another Gostkowski extra point put the Titans up 28-10 with 1:49 left in the third. That score would carry into the fourth.

4th quarter

Despite trailing by 18 points, the Bills showed some fight with a 14-play, 90-yard drive that concluded with Allen finding running back TJ Yeldon for a 22-yard-touchdown pass. A two-point conversion was unsuccessful, but the Bills cut away at the lead, trailing 28-16 with 10 minutes left in the game.

The Titans continued to ground out the clock on the ensuing possession, with Buffalo’s hopes dwindling alongside the clock. As for most of the game, the Bills defense had no answer for the Titans’ conservative and concise offense.

Henry’s 12-yard touchdown Run with 3:57 left capped off an 11-play, 75-yard drive that chewed more than six minutes of clock. A successful extra point put the Titans up 35-16 and all but sealed the deal.

You said it Thad, but it got worse from there, especially for Roberts.

Bills kick returner Andre Roberts, whose bobbled ball led to the early interception in the first quarter, fumbled the ensuring return to which the Titans recovered and returned to the Buffalo 25-yard line.

Titans more or less ran it out from there.

Psyche — they ran it up. After converting a fourth and one from the Buffalo 9-yard line, Tannehill found Smith again for a 6-yard touchdown pass. Extra point was good and the Titans led 42-16 in what has been an all around abysmal effort for Buffalo.

We’ll have plenty of stats, analysis, and storylines to follow.

Final

Titans: 42

Bills: 16

In summary, the Bills did not play well, whatsoever.

StatTitansBills
1st downs2523
Turnovers03
Penalties -yards6-4610-56
Sack-loss0-01-10

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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