© Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Facing 4th-and-1 at the Tennessee three-yard line with just 22 seconds to play, Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott opted to go for the first down and, ultimately, the win. The plan backfired as Bills QB Josh Allen couldn’t get his footing and was stopped short of the first down on a quarterback sneak. Buffalo would lose 34-31 in Nashville, making it the second consecutive loss to the Titans in Tennessee.
Buffalo was 4-0 last season when the Bills headed to Tennessee only to run into a juiced-up Titans team and fall 42-16. The Titans, now 4-2, were once again ready to play against a Bills team that had the NFL’s top-scoring offense and the league’s best scoring defense giving up just 12.8 points per game.
That Bills defense did its job to start the game, forcing the Titans to punt on their first drive of the game. Allen would then guide Buffalo on a 13-play, 74-yard drive that ended in a Tyler Bass 24-yard field goal. It looked as if the NFL’s No. 1 defense would get the best of Tennessee’s Ryan Tannehill and RB Derrick Henry, forcing a three-and-out on the Titans next drive and then picking off Tannehill on the third possession.
© Andrew Nelles / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY Sports
After a second Bass field, the tide began to change. On the first play of the drive, Tannehill handed off to the 6-foot-3-inch, 240-pound Henry. The NFL’s leading rusher dashed 76 yards to the end zone to give the Titans a 7-6 lead.
Last year, Buffalo held Henry to just 57 rushing yards. That would not be the case Monday night as Henry made the most of his 20 carries, averaging 7.2 yards per rush, and finished with 143 yards. He also scored three touchdowns, adding scores on runs of three and 13 yards. His final touchdown, the 13-yard run, gave Tennessee a 34-31 lead with 3:05 remaining in the game.
The Bills final drive that ended in the failed quarterback sneak started at their own 18-yard line. Allen would lead Buffalo down the field, eventually facing a 3rd-and-6 at the Tennessee eight-yard line. The Bills quarterback dropped back to pass but found no open receivers. He ended up scrambling to his left and dove for the first down marker. Officials on the field appeared to signal a first down, but replay officials messaged that he was short of the line to gain.
That set up the deciding 4th-and-1. Allen set up in the shotgun but then moved under center. Upon the snap of the ball, Allen moved to his left, looking for an opening to get that final yard. His feet appeared to slip out from under him, and he went down short of the first down.
Despite the failed sneak, Allen played well, completing 35-of-47 passes for 353 yards and three touchdowns. He did throw an interception and was sacked three times. He also rushed for 26 yards on nine carries as the Bills running game managed just 82 yards total on the ground.
With the loss, the Bills are now 4-2 but still hold a commanding lead in the AFC East. Second-place New England is just 2-4. Buffalo has a bye next week before facing Miami at home on Halloween Sunday. The Bills beat the Dolphins 35-0 in Miami earlier this season. The Dolphins have not won a game since beating New England 17-16 in their season opener.
BillsFans.com - Editorial Staff
Edited by Foxx (show revisions)