The Tennessee Titans had a chance to even their record on the year, but they’d have to beat the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park in order to do it. Tennessee was able to keep it close through a half of football, as it was only 17-7 at intermission. The flood gates opened up in the second half, though, and the Bills romped to a 41-7 victory.
Buffalo was able to dominate the game thoroughly, so it’s no surprise that Tennessee’s key players all struggled in this one. Here’s how the players we highlighted fared this week.
QB Ryan Tannehill
It’s never a good sign when your starting quarterback is pulled in the third quarter because the game is so far out of reach. It’s a worse sign still when that benching comes directly after your starting quarterback throws a pick-six. Tannehill started off in a good rhythm, as the play-action game worked well in conjunction with some solid runs on the Titans’ first drive. Tannehill went 3-of-4 for 48 yards on that opening drive, and he also completed a pass that was negated when the Titans took a roughing-the-passer call on Greg Rousseau instead. After that opening drive, though, things worsened significantly, as Tannehill went just 8-of-16 for 69 yards and two interceptions over Tennessee’s next seven drives. Tannehill was sacked twice and hit three times in the game.
RB Derrick Henry
Stop the King, stop the Tennessee’s offense. It seems so simple in theory, but the practice of actually stopping a 6’3”, 247 lb behemoth is much more difficult. Well, Buffalo shut Henry down almost from the jump. He did punctuate Tennessee’s first drive with a touchdown, a three-yard plunge on 4th & GOAL, but he didn’t do much otherwise. On that first drive, Henry rushed for nine yards on four carries. That included a carry of minus-four yards, which was a theme throughout the night. Of Henry’s 13 carries, five went for negative yardage. He managed just 25 yards and that lone touchdown, adding a catch on a screen that was negated thanks to an offensive penalty.
WR Robert Woods
When Dane Jackson went down with an injury, Tannehill targeted his replacement, rookie Kaiir Elam, on a few throws to Woods early. However, none of those throws made much impact, as Buffalo forced Tannehill to throw two picks with great discipline in their defensive scheme. Woods had a better second game than he had in his debut with the Titans, who traded a sixth-round choice to the Los Angeles Rams to acquire the veteran. Woods ended up catching four passes, which tied Traylon Burks for the team lead. Woods was second to Burks in receiving yards on the day, as the rookie gained 47 yards while Woods totaled 39.
DT Jeffery Simmons
Two games does not a season make, but Buffalo’s ability to handle interior bulldozers is already much improved over last season. Cameron Heyward, Aaron Donald, some randos who play for the Jacksonville Jaguars (Tavon Bryan rings a bell), and yes, even Simmons were able to wreak havoc on the Bills last year at times. Simmons was able to push his way into the backfield at times, and Buffalo struggled in some 3rd & 1 situations in the game as a result. However, he failed to register a sack, and he only finished with one pass breakup. That’s it. No tackles for a loss, no quarterback hits...nothing. The Bills have had a great game plan for stymying interior pressure through two games, and Simmons was neutralized as a result.
CB Roger McCreary
The rookie corner led all players with 11 tackles on the night. That shows you how often Buffalo targeted him. Nobody wants to cover wide receiver Stefon Diggs one-on-one. Diggs torched the Tennessee secondary all night, but so did Jake Kumerow (two catches, 50 yards), Dawson Knox (four catches, 41 yards), Isaiah McKenzie (two catches, 37 yards), and even Jamison Crowder (one catch for a beautiful gain of 16 on 3rd & 9 from the Buffalo 21). McCreary very well may end up a strong player in the league, but he looked like a rookie covering an All-Pro on Monday.