The Buffalo Bills came out and roasted the Tennessee Titans on Monday night, winning a 41-7 laugher that, similar to the season-opening 31-10 victory over the Los Angeles Rams, started close before it became a blowout. The Bills led the Titans 17-7 at halftime, and it was just 10-7 as late as the one-minute mark of the second quarter. However, Buffalo turned on the jets from there on out, boat racing the Titans in an impressive victory.
We didn’t hit on most of our players to watch this week, as we strayed off the beaten path a bit. So we didn’t talk about Josh Allen, who threw for 317 yards and four touchdowns while completing 68% of his passes. We didn’t talk about Stefon Diggs, who caught 12 of his 14 targets for 148 yards and three touchdowns. We didn’t even talk about James Cook, who rebounded after last week’s poor performance to carry 11 times for 53 yards.
Here’s how the five players we did pick fared in the blowout victory.
RB Devin Singletary
When he took his first carry of the game 16 yards between right tackle and right guard, I thought it was going to be a huge day for Buffalo’s RB1. However, as the game wore on, Tennessee tightened up against the run, and the Bills abandoned it as a result. That worked well for them, though, as Allen just decimated Tennessee’s injury-riddled secondary. When the Bills went back into run mode, it was 41-7 and the backups were in on both sides. Game script plus the success of the passing game limited Singletary, who finished with only six carries for 19 yards, adding two catches for two yards total.
WR Gabe Davis
I need to stop highlighting wideouts, apparently, as for the second straight week, the receiver I put in the spotlight has been a DNP on game day. Davis injured his ankle in practice on Saturday, earning a “questionable” tag heading into the game. That meant more reps for Jake Kumerow, who caught two passes for 50 yards on the night. It also meant that Khalil Shakir, last week’s inactive player to watch, made his pro debut. He dropped a pass and did not make a catch on either of his two targets.
G Ryan Bates/Rodger Saffold
Allen and Case Keenum, who came in late in the third quarter to finish the blowout, were only sacked once on 42 drop backs, so the offensive line was able to protect and keep Jeffery Simmons out of the QB’s lap. The real intrigue happened when center Mitch Morse went down with an elbow injury, as Greg Van Roten entered at center. I’d have assumed that Bates would have slid over, but they kept the four healthy starters where they began the game. Morse was able to return, and the interior line stayed stout. Saffold was overpowered on one play by Teair Tart, but he was fine otherwise. I didn’t really notice Bates, which is a great thing for an offensive lineman.
DT DaQuan Jones
We said that Jones could have a big game and go unnoticed, and we were right. By the end of the contest, he was the only of the team’s four intended defensive tackles who remained healthy, as Jordan Phillips went down with a hamstring injury during Matt Milano’s interception return for a touchdown. Phillips joined Ed Oliver (ankle) and Tim Settle (calf) among the ranks of the walking wounded. Jones, though, ate blocks and kept things clean for his linebackers behind him. His lethal combination of length and strength has been a perfect complement to the pass-rush prowess of Von Miller, Greg Rousseau and company. Jones finished with just one tackle, but his main impact is in the space he occupies. Considering that Buffalo held Tennessee to 80 yards rushing on 37 attempts, I’d say he did his job quite well.
CB Christian Benford
The rookie earned his second straight start, and he was once again terrific for Buffalo. On one play, the Titans tried to run Derrick Henry on a toss designed to isolate Henry on Benford on the edge. Benford stood his ground and barreled into the King’s ankles, dropping the 247-lb bruiser for a loss. That tackle for a loss was one of three total stops for Benford, who also added some nice defensive plays on passes even though he wasn’t officially credited with a pass breakup.