The Tennessee Titans thrashed the Buffalo Bills on Tuesday, beating the previously unbeaten Bills 42-16. The Titans looked fresh, relaxed, and well-prepared after a 16-day layoff between games. Buffalo looked like a team dealing with a multitude of injuries, but perhaps most concerning, they lacked focus on the evening.
The Titans’ players we were watching this week nearly all had a great night, much to our chagrin. Here’s how our players to watch performed Tuesday.
RB Derrick Henry
(ESPN 30-for-30 voice) What if I told you that the Bills held Tennessee’s best player to a three-yards-per-carry average, as he only managed 57 yards on 19 carries...yet the Bills still managed to lose by nearly 30 points? Yeah, it feels pretty unbelievable, but when a team has a quarterback playing as well as Ryan Tannehill is right now, that’s a distinct possibility. Henry had a highlight-real play nullified by offsetting penalties, as he stiff-armed Josh Norman into oblivion. Henry also ran for two touchdowns on the night.
WR A.J. Brown
Speaking of people who abused Josh Norman Tuesday night, Brown found himself shadowed by Norman often, and Brown was the victor in essentially every matchup. Tannehill threw nine passes Brown’s way, and he caught seven of them for 82 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown grab was impressive in the sense that Norman had him smothered, but Brown did an incredible job keeping his hands down until the last possible second—since Norman was watching the receiver and not the ball, he was waiting for Brown’s hands to go up to swat the ball away. Alas, Tannehill threw a dime, and Brown let it fall gently into his mitts to give Tennessee an early 7-0 lead.
TE Jonnu Smith
Buffalo’s woes with tight ends continued, as Smith hauled in five passes for 40 yards and two touchdowns. Combining Smith’s line with Anthony Firkser’s three catch, 19-yard output, that means Buffalo has allowed 37 catches, 406 yards, and four touchdowns to opposing tight ends. The second touchdown was comical, as it appeared that Tannehill had already gone beyond the line of scrimmage before throwing the pass (side note: what is it with Bills-Titans games and questionable forward passes? Mariota, this one, the play that shall not be named...). Begrudgingly, I took a fantasy football victory from the jaws of defeat thanks to Smith’s touchdown catch that appeared to be illegal. Mike, if you’re reading this, sorry for the bad beat, pal.
OLB Harold Landry
Buffalo allowed one sack on the night, and it went to Landry, who notched his first sack of the season. Jadeveon Clowney was able to play, and he knocked down a Josh Allen pass intended for Stefon Diggs at one point in the game, but it was Landry who broke through for the sack.
CB Johnathan Joseph
Joseph had two tackles and pass breakup on the night, which is a pretty nice output from your CB2. It pales in comparison to the night Malcolm Butler had, of course, as the former New England Patriots corner had two interceptions, two pass breakups, a tackle for loss, and seven total tackles. Tennessee played plenty of zone, forcing Allen to hold the ball and find space in the defense. Without John Brown to keep the Titans honest over the top, they just made him hit little dump-offs all night. Joseph played good, assignment-sound football on Tuesday.