The Tennessee Titans were sitting at 3-2 entering the night, set to face the Bills in a measuring stick moment. Josh Allen’s Bills are perhaps the best team in the AFC — also perhaps a future opponent for the Titans come January.
Once again, Derrick Henry stole the show and absolutely powered the Titans to their biggest win of the year.
The Titans have made a theme of starting games sloppy so far in 2021, and tonight was no different. A turnover and a couple of punts were all the Titans had to show for their first quarter effort. Thankfully for them, their bend-but-don’t-break defense bailed them out.
Josh Allen led a couple of touchdown-worthy drives early, but the Titans stood tall in the redzone both times to minimize the damage to 6-0.
And then, as he does so often, Derrick Henry took matters into his own hands.
Derrick Henry should not be able to run this fast. pic.twitter.com/eqBQ5J0c9T— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) October 19, 2021
It was a 76 yard touchdown run for Henry, pushing the Titans to a second quarter lead at 7-6.
The Titans’ defense did break on the next drive, however. Already without Kristian Fulton, Tennessee then lost rookie Caleb Farley. That, along with a personal foul on David Long, sparked a touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs.
Tennessee answered with a field goal after a wild catch from Julio Jones, and then picked off Allen on the next drive. Denico Autry caused the pressure and Kevin Byard capitalized — and Ryan Tannehill scored. However, the Titans lost Taylor Lewan on the drive, who was carted of the field.
Back and forth we went, as Allen found Cole Beasley to take the lead right back. The halftime score was 20-17 in favor of the Bills.
Tyler Bass drilled his fourth field goal of the game to open the second half.
Todd Downing went right back to Henry looking for the answer, and he delivered again. A big run got the Titans past the 50, and a key fourth down conversion got the offense in scoring range. Henry finished off another drive with another score, pushing Tennessee back out front at 24-23.
Which defense would make a stop? That’s what this was quickly turning into. The Titans couldn’t on the next drive, and lost cornerback Chris Jackson too. Allen easily worked the ball down the field using Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley. He found Tommy Sweeney for the touchdown, and then Allen caught the two-point conversion play to take us to 31-24.
The stop — well at least keeping the Titans out of the endzone — came from the Buffalo defense. A.J. Brown came on strong in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to cap off a good looking drive for Tennessee. Vrabel took the points over going for a fourth and five, cutting the lead down to four.
Now it was on the defense, and they got the stop Vrabel trusted them to make. Jeffery Simmons came up with a sack to doom the drive, giving the Titans to retake the lead.
Tannehill got the ball back and immediately went back to Brown, then found Nick Westbrook-Ikhine three straight times. Henry brought them inside of the redzone, and then quickly inside of the endzone.
With under three minutes to play, the Titans held a 34-31 lead.
Suddenly, the perceived favorite in the AFC was on the ropes. Josh Allen didn’t have much time to operate, but he didn’t need it. He quickly worked his way down the field and found Gabriel Davis to enter the redzone. Zach Moss got the ball inside of the ten with 44 seconds left.
Allen scrambled, but fell just short of the sticks to set up fourth down and inches with 22 seconds left. The Bills went for it and got stuffed.
THE TITANS STOP JOSH ALLEN ON 4TH DOWN AT THE GOAL LINE— ESPN (@espn) October 19, 2021
The Tennessee Titans won again, thanks to 143 rushing yards from Henry and three more touchdowns — and some really timely defense.
The Titans have the Chiefs up next.