The Buffalo Bills defeated the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, winning a 14-7 slugfest that has become the hallmark of the 2019 Bills. Buffalo doesn’t win pretty, and they don’t score a ton of points, but they do come out on top more often than not, and the victory gave the Bills a 4-1 record heading into their bye week.
How did our five players to watch perform? Well, only four of them played...but those who did were effective all afternoon.
RB Devin Singletary
A game-time decision, Singletary was ruled out prior to the start of the contest, so he missed his third consecutive game. Head coach Sean McDermott wanted to give the rookie the bye to heal before he returns to action against the Miami Dolphins on October 20.
LT Dion Dawkins
The Bills’ offensive line allowed four sacks on the day, but none of them were credited to Dawkins. Buffalo’s offensive line also only committed one penalty on the day—a hold by rookie Cody Ford. Dawkins did a nice job when asked to neutralize Harold Landry, and while the speedy edge rusher did notch a sack, it came from the other side of the defense against Ford. Dawkins was effective in run blocking and in pass blocking, and while he may have benefited from veteran Cam Wake’s absence, he was strong when he needed to be.
DT Ed Oliver
Right position, wrong player. I predicted that Oliver would have a big day, notching his first career NFL sack this week. Well, I was half right, as Oliver did have a big day—he led the Bills with six tackles—but he was unable to take down quarterback Marcus Mariota for that elusive first sack. Instead, Oliver’s teammate Jordan Phillips did the damage, as he racked up three sacks in the first half. Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, who often appears as a defensive tackle in pass-rush situations, also notched a sack from the inside this week. The Bills expertly stunted and gamed Tennessee’s offensive line up front, and they harassed Mariota all day with tough pressure right up the middle.
LB Matt Milano
The speedy cover linebacker was called for two penalties, the first of which was a tough (though correct) roughing-the-passer call where Milano’s momentum took him into Mariota’s legs after a cut block. The second was a dubious defensive holding call that gave Tennessee a first down. Otherwise, Milano had a typically solid game, as he made four tackles, one of which came on special teams. Tennessee’s tight ends and running backs combined to catch four passes for 96 yards. Most of the damage was done on a tight-end screen to Jonnu Smith where it appeared that Tre’Davious White read run and abandoned his coverage responsibilities. Aside from the 57-yard play thanks to a blown coverage, the Bills handled Tennessee’s short game quite well.
S Micah Hyde
Buffalo also shut down Tennessee’s long game thanks to another solid effort from its secondary. Hyde’s stats don’t leap off the page, as he only totaled three tackles on the day, but just having him hovering over the top kept Mariota from trying any big shots to his huge receivers. Hyde is an absolute stud, and he played another great game last week.