ORCHARD PARK, NY – The Buffalo Bills took care of business in Game 1 of a Monday Night Football doubleheader, knocking out the Tennessee Titans 41-7. The Bills scored on the first drive and the Titans responded – only to be held scoreless the rest of the way as Buffalo reeled off 34 straight games to close things out.
If the Bills’ season-opening win was any statement, the home opener performance against the Titans put an exclamation mark on an outstanding start. The Josh Allen-Stefon Diggs connection is a big part of that, as the quarterback and wide receiver are off to a historic start.
Diggs caught 12 passes for 148 yards and three touchdowns, joining Jerry Rice (1987, 1995) as the only players with multiple three-game touchdowns on Monday Night Football, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Two of Diggs’ three touchdowns came in the third quarter when the Bills amassed 24 points to establish a decisive lead over the Titans.
Buffalo is 2-0 for the third time in the past four seasons after having three 2-0 starts in the previous 15 seasons – and it was the team’s first home win on Monday Night Football since 1994.
QB Breakdown: Much of Allen’s success has come from acting. His four rushing passing touchdowns are the most of his career and the most the Titans have allowed in a game since ESPN began video tracking in 2006. His 219 rushing yards were the third of his career.
Pivot play: At the start of a third quarter, it appeared that the Bills should kick for the first time this season. Supported on its own 16-yard line on third-and-16, the offense was assisted by an offside penalty by the Titans. Then, on the third and 9, Allen connected with wide receiver Jamison Crowder on a 16-yard pass to midfield. The play kept the player alive, which eventually led to Buffalo establishing a three-point lead.
Disturbing trend: Injuries piled up in the win over the Titans. Starting cornerback Dane Jackson was taken off the field by ambulance after sustaining a neck injury when he was hit by teammate Tremaine Edmunds. Safety Micah Hyde left the field on a cart with a neck injury, and linebacker Matt Milano (stinger) and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips (hamstring) were also injured. –Alaina Getzenberg
Statistics under the radar namely: The Bills scored a touchdown on the first drive for the seventh consecutive game –– including the playoffs – which is the longest streak since the Falcons in 2016 (eight in a row).
Next game: at the Miami Dolphins (1 p.m. ET Sunday, CBS)
The Titans were outscored on several levels in the lopsided loss. It was the Titans’ worst loss under coach Mike Vrabel, surpassing a 40-14 loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 15 of the 2020 season.
The Bills outshot the Titans by 227 yards and forced four turnovers. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was called off after his second interception when the game was already out of reach.
Vrabel replaced Tannehill with Malik Willis, making him the first rookie to play quarterback this season. Willis joined in the turnover party fumbling when one of his teammates was knocked into him causing the ball to come loose.
Describe the game in two words: Bad coverage. Even without wide Gabriel Davis, the Bills managed to move freely in the Titans secondary, especially Stefon Diggs, who finished with 12 receptions for 148 yards and three touchdowns.
Stunning Next Gen Stats: Derrick Henry recorded minus-2.6 rushing yards above expectations per carry tonight. It’s his worst yards to expectation per carry in a game dating back to 2018, when the metric first started being tracked. Henry had been the NFL’s leading running back for the past two and a half seasons before suffering a Jones fracture in Week 8 last season. After averaging 3.9 yards per carry in Week 1, Henry averaged 2.0 yards per carry against the Bills, his fourth-lowest average in a game in which he made at least 10 carries. . Buffalo hit Henry at or behind the line of scrimmage on five of his 13 rushing attempts.
Disturbing trend: The injuries continue to pile up. Running back Trenton Cannon injured his knee on the opening kickoff and was lost for the game. Left tackle Taylor Lewan did not return after injuring his knee in the first quarter. Outside linebacker Ola Adeniyi suffered a wrist injury replacing Bud Dupree, who suffered a hip injury in the second quarter. Adeniyi went out for a few sets but returned before halftime. The Titans also lost defensive back Ugo Amadi at halftime of the game. –Turron Davenport
Statistics under the radar namely: Despite Henry’s tough day, he scored his second rushing touchdown of the season. He now has 56 rushing touchdowns over the past five seasons, 17 more than the next closest players (Alvin Kamara and Nick Chubb each have 39).
Next game: vs. Las Vegas Raiders (1 p.m. ET Sunday, Fox).