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Takeaways: Mistakes, coaching, and execution all lacking as Buffalo Bills lose to Tennessee Titans

The Bills were outclassed on Tuesday.

The Buffalo Bills were blown out by the Tennessee Titans on Tuesday night, which probably knocked them down a peg or two in the national conversation. With the Kansas City Chiefs coming to Buffalo in six days, the Bills can’t really focus on what went wrong against Tennessee. But I can.

Here are my takeaways from the game:

Mistakes crush the Bills

The Titans had touchdown drives of 12, 16, 18, and 30 yards tonight. (Thanks to Yards Per Pass)

28 points and 76 yards.

Big special teams plays and a pair of interception returns for the Titans allowed them to waltz in for easy scores. With 5:39 left in the game, the Bills were outgaining the Titans 310 to 292, but Tennessee was up 28-16. That only happens with mistakes. Buffalo was supposed to be the team that had practiced and was ready to go. Tennessee had one full practice in 12 days. Buffalo made the mistakes. And then the cherry on top was the kickoff return fumble with 3:49 left in the game.

Six-minute drives in the fourth benefit Tennessee

Down 18 points with 17 minutes left, the Bills took 6:29 to score a touchdown. Great. A touchdown. But they ran the ball and didn’t go hurry up soon enough. (Here’s my Twitter thread on it in real time.) They took too much time, period. On the ensuing Titans drive, the Titans went 70 yards. IT WAS IN LESS TIME THAN THE BILLS’ DRIVE. Tennessee was trying to kill the clock and they took 6:03 off the clock before scoring their touchdown. Buffalo needed to score three or four times in the last 17 minutes and the offense only had two drives in the last 17 minutes.

Josh Allen’s back to earth

Listen. We knew it was going to happen. Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers and every great QB comes back to earth. Bruce Nolan talked about it at length: Josh Allen’s step-back game was inevitable. He was 10-of-21 at the half with an interception (off his wide receiver’s hands). BUT. In the second half he was 16/20. He still made a horrible decision on his second interception in the third quarter. It happens. We aren’t going to throw the baby out with the bath water. Regression to the mean is expected, but it happened in prime time.

Taron Johnson needs to be replaced this offseason

Johnson is a willing tackler in the run game, but man he is not good in coverage. He allowed a 3rd-and-19 conversion at the end of the first quarter and it’s just the latest in a long list of bad games for the young player. Early in the second, he let up another big play to the Bills’ goal line. The Bills need to draft or sign his replacement in the slot this coming year. I’m not sure Siran Neal is going to be a whole lot better this year, either.

Corey Bojorquez is maybe costing Tyler Bass

Bass kicked it through in the second quarter, but the laces were facing the rookie when he approached the ball. It’s at least the third time this year we’ve seen a bad hold from Bojorquez, according to Jay Feely. The CBS analyst and former NFL kicker would know. It cost Bass at least one miss earlier in the season. Laces should face away from the kicker.

I mean, he did punt the ball 74 yards (plus a penalty) to flip the field at the end of the first half, so he has some redeeming qualities. But there was also the 40-yard punt return after he outkicked his coverage on his other punt.

Devin Singletary and the Bills’ running offense is not great, Bob

Twice in the first seven minutes, Singletary was met in the backfield before he could make a cut. Seven runs for 11 yards from Singletary in the first half. Singletary finished with 25 yards on 11 carries for 2.3 yards per carry. It’s been a recurring theme through our postgame reactions, and it was clearly a detriment tonight as the Bills kept going to the run game even when down big in the fourth quarter.

This defense relies on starters, and got burned by it (in the passing game)...

Matt Milano’s backup. Tre’Davious White’s backup. When Tremaine Edmunds was down earlier in the year. What is the Bills’ plan when a player goes down? For the last several years they’ve been fortunate that it didn’t happen, but it’s 2020. And 2020 comes for EVERYONE. A.J. Klein has been so bad they went to Tyrel Dodson. They’ve been playing practice squad players at linebacker. They started Cam Lewis, a 2019 UDFA, at cornerback tonight.

But the run defense was stout against Henry

Wow. Really a great effort by the front four. Derrick Henry had nine carries for 24 yards in the first half and finished with 19 for 57 and a touchdown. The Bills shut down the Titans on the ground. Ryan Tannehill got free (is that a thing) for four rushes and 42 yards plus a TD,

Move along on third and long

Here are the first two drives on offense:

  • 3rd-and-4: Josh Allen hits Andre Roberts in the hands for 19 (Deflected, INT)
  • 3rd-and-1: T.J. Yeldon dive for 3 yards
  • 3rd-and-13 with 9:30 left in the first: Gabriel Davis for 15
  • 3rd-and-7: Josh Allen makes a DB blitz miss, jukes a LB, and gets 8 yards
  • 3rd-and-10: Gabe Davis with a touchdown catch! Illegal shift?
  • 3rd-and-15: Andre Roberts gets 16 after Allen avoids the pressure and throws a dart

Then partway through the second quarter, it was 3rd-and-9—Allen gets 11 to Diggs with pressure in his face and not being able to step into it. On 3rd-and-10 with 4:47 in the third: 15 yards to Diggs on a comeback. Big pressure to Allen.

I am not one to count out Allen on third down, and he proved why once again. The guy goes for the sticks and I love it and don’t want it to change.