Without practice, down a handful of key players and playing the undefeated Buffalo Bills — there wasn’t a ton of optimism surrounding the Tennessee Titans entering Tuesday night. Mike Vrabel’s team put all of that negativity to bed on Tuesday night, running one of the better teams in the league out of Nissan Stadium.
If there was any rust from a lack of practice, the Titans sure didn’t show it — at all.
Malcolm Butler got this one started right, picking off a tipped pass from Josh Allen to give the Titans instant field position. Two plays later, Ryan Tannehill cashed that turnover into the endzone, finding A.J. Brown for the easy 16 yard touchdown.
Allen quickly settled in after that pick, manufacturing an efficient drive to answer with a pop-pass score to Isaiah McKenzie. Not to be outdone, Tannehill found Kalif Raymond and then A.J. Brown to get Tennessee in position to answer, which is exactly what Derrick Henry did.
A fast start to this one saw 21 points scored in the opening 16 minutes.
In the second quarter, the Tennessee defense clamped down on Allen and the Bills. They surrendered a field goal, but gave up nothing else after that.
Ryan Tannehill, on the other thing, kept things moving. He was able to get a drive going before halftime, executing a two-minute drill to perfection. Tannehill scrambled this one in, bringing the Tennessee lead to 21-10 at the break.
The highlight of the half wasn’t a particularly big play, but just for fun, here’s Derrick Henry sending Josh Norman into orbit.
Back to the game.
It was a slow start for both sides in the third quarter, but Malcolm Butler spiced things up with his second interception of the night with 3:05 to play in the quarter. The pick set Tannehill up on the Buffalo 12, with the Titans looking to make it a three score game.
What appeared to be a quick three and out was bailed out by a roughing the passer penalty. Tannehill immediately cashed in, finding Jonnu Smith on a quick slant for the score.
The new score was Tennessee 28, Buffalo 10.
Allen now had to make something happen. He kept things short, dinking and dunking his way all the way down the field, but the clock was bleeding. Five to six yards at a time, Allen led a 14 play drive that went 90 yards for the score. It was T.J. Yeldon hauling in the touchdown pass, but the Bills were unable to add convert the two point conversion.
Operating with a 12 point lead, the Titans went into chew-clock mode. Short passes, Tannehill boots, Derrick Henry — Arthur Smith’s offense took the air out of the football. Henry capped off the 11 play drive with his second touchdown run of the night.
The Bills then fumbled the following kickoff, officially ending the night. For good measure, Tannehill hit Jonnu Smith one last time to make it 42-16.
For all the hype surrounding Josh Allen so far this year, we sure didn’t see much production tonight. Allen was challenged by a defense that was missing Adoree’ Jackson, Kristian Fulton and Jeffery Simmons. After a shaky first quarter, the Tennessee defense really stole the show.
It was an unbelievable all-around effort from the entire organization tonight, all things considered.
Injury notes: Darrynton Evans left the game in the first half and did not return. Taylor Lewan missed most of the second quarter with a shoulder injury, but returned after halftime.
Tennessee will now face the Houston Texans on a quick turnaround — Sunday at noon in Nashville.