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Buffalo Bills 13, Tennessee Titans 12: Bills scrape low-scoring win in Orchard Park

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It was close all day, but the Bills finished with the win.

The Buffalo Bills narrowly put away the Tennessee Titans, 13-12, on the back of an outstanding performance from their their defense. The Bills kept the Titans behind schedule and controlled the line of scrimmage with a run-obsessed gameplan, finishing with a game-winning field goal by Stephen Hauschka as the game expired.

The Buffalo defense suffocated the Titans for most of the day. They had three turnovers, kept Tennessee out of the end zone, and limited the Titans to 221 yards of total offense. Marcus Mariota was 14-of-26 for 129 yards (5.0 yards per attempt) and an interception. The Titans runners combined for 100 yards on 25 carries. Kyle Williams and Jerry Hughes each had a sack. Hughes would’ve had two, but he shoved Mariota to try and avoid a roughing the passer penalty, which backfired when Mariota didn’t lose his balance.

The Bills treated Josh Allen with kid gloves in this game, running at more than a 2:1 ratio compared to his passes. It was a good idea too, considering Tennessee’s stout defense. The Bills really struggled to break big plays, with their longest result of the day a 16 yard run from LeSean McCoy. Allen scored a rushing touchdowns and generally made smart decisions most of the day, but rarely attempted to attack the Titans defense. He threw for fewer than five yards per attempt, and though it wasn’t his fault, Allen had an interception bounce off Andre Holmes into the hands of a defender. The big plays weren’t available, but that was enough for today’s win.

The other side of Buffalo’s treatment was their stronger commitment to LeSean McCoy and the running game. McCoy had more rushing attempts in this game than he had in the rest of the season to this point. the Titans defense mostly contained him, but he still produced more than 100 all-purpose yards. The Bills finished with an unsexy 43 carries for 144 yards and a Josh Allen touchdown.

At 2-3, the Bills climbed out of the AFC’s basement, and preserved Sean McDermott’s winning record for at least two more weeks (the head coach is now 11-10 with the Buffalo Bills).

Notes

  • New waiver addition Jordan Phillips had a good day, in on two tackles for loss.
  • Rookie Taron Johnson netted his first career interception.
  • Rookie Tremaine Edmunds had his second career forced fumble. Shaq Lawson and Jerry Hughes also forced fumbles on the day, and the Bills recovered two of those three.
  • Corey Bojorquez appeared to injure his upper arm, but it didn’t impact his punting. He downed his next kick within the five yard line.
  • Ray-Ray McCloud all but iced the game on his second career catch with a bubble screen for a first down at the end of the fourth quarter.
  • This was the first game-winning drive of Josh Allen’s career.
  • Bojorquez was the only notable injury to come out of this game in real time.