ORCHARD PARK, NY — The Buffalo Bills settled in the first game of a Monday Night Football doubleheader, beating the Tennessee Titans 41-7. The Bills scored on the opening drive and the Titans answered—only to be held scoreless the rest of the way when Buffalo pulled out 34 in a row to cap things off.
If the Bills’ season-opening win was any statement, the home opener’s performance against the Titans was an exclamation point to a great start. The Josh Allen-Stefon Diggs connection is a big part of it, as the quarterback and wide receiver have a historic start.
Diggs caught 12 passes for 148 yards and three touchdowns, joining Jerry Rice (1987, 1995) as the only players to have multiple three-touchdown catch games on Monday Night Football, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Two of Diggs’ three touchdowns came in the third quarter as the Bills turned 24 points to establish a decisive lead over the Titans.
Buffalo is 2-0 for the third time in the last four seasons after having started 2-0 three times in the previous 15 seasons – and it was the team’s first home win on Monday Night Football since 1994.
QB breakdown: Much of Allen’s success came from gaming action. His four play-action passing touchdowns are the most in his career and the most the Titans have allowed in a game since ESPN began video tracking in 2006. his 219 yards on play-action were the third most of his career.
Central game: Early in a third quarter ride, it looked like the Bills would have to kick for the first time this season. Backed on their own 16-yard line at third-and-16, the offense was assisted by an offside penalty by the Titans. Then, on third and ninth, Allen connected with wide receiver Jamison Crowder on a 16-yard pass to the center of the field. The game kept the drive alive, which ultimately led to Buffalo taking a three-point lead.
Disturbing trend: Injuries piled up in the win over the Titans. Starting cornerback Dane Jackson was taken off the field in an ambulance after sustaining a neck injury when he was hit by teammate Tremaine Edmunds. Safety Micah Hyde left the field on a cart with a neck injury, and linebacker Matt Milano (stinger) and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips (hamstring) were also injured. –Alaina Getzenberg
Under-the-radar stats to know: The Bills scored a touchdown on the opening drive for the seventh game in a row –– including playoffs — that’s the longest streak since the Falcons in 2016 (eight straight).
Next game: at Miami Dolphins (1pm ET Sunday, CBS)
The Titans were outclassed on many levels in the lopsided loss. It was the Titans’ worst loss under coach Mike Vrabel, surpassing a 40-14 loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 15 of the 2020 season.
The Bills defeated the Titans by 227 yards and forced four turnovers. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was pulled after his second interception with the game already out of reach.
Vrabel replaced Tannehill with Malik Willis, making him the first rookie to play quarterback this season. Willis joined the turnover party by fumbling when one of his teammates was knocked against him, releasing the ball.
Describe the game in two words: Poor coverage. Even without wide-out Gabriel Davis, the Bills managed to roam free in the Titans’ secondary, especially Stefon Diggs, who finished with 12 receptions for 148 yards and three touchdowns.
Dazzling Next Gen Stats: Derrick Henry posted minus 2.6 rush yards per carry tonight. That’s his worst rush yards beyond expectations per carry in a game dating back to 2018, when the stat started being tracked. Henry was the NFL’s top rusher for the past 2 1/2 seasons before sustaining a Jones fracture in Week 8 last season. After averaging 3.9 yards per carry in Week 1, Henry averaged 2.0 yards per carry against the Bills, his fourth lowest average in a game in which he had at least 10 carries. Buffalo hit Henry on or behind the line of scrimmage on five of his 13 hasty attempts.
Disturbing trend: The injuries continue to mount. Running back Trenton Cannon injured his knee on the opening kick-off and was lost before the game. Left tackle Taylor Lewan did not return after an injury to his knee in the first quarter. Outside linebacker Ola Adeniyi injured his wrist while filling in for Bud Dupree, who sustained a hip injury in the second quarter. Adeniyi came out for a few runs, but returned before halftime. The Titans also lost defending defender Ugo Amadi at halftime before the game. –Turron Davenport
Under-the-radar stats to know: Despite Henry’s tough day, he scored his second hasty touchdown of the season. He now has 56 hasty touchdowns in the past five seasons, 17 more than the following players (Alvin Kamara and Nick Chubb each have 39).
Next game: vs. Las Vegas Raiders (1pm ET Sunday, Fox).