ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — Heading into their matchup with the Tennessee Titans, the Buffalo Bills looked to answer league-wide questions about the team’s prominence on both the offense and defense. Despite a Bills victory, there may still be more questions than answers.
The 3-2 Bills team continues to accrue penalties, most notably on the first play of the game. As the Bills kicked off the ball to start the game, the Titans offered up a present to the Buffalo Bills in the form of a fumbled kickoff return. The Bills recovered the fumble just yards from the end zone, but a Bills penalty would force them to send it back and kickoff again.
The Bills failed to enter Tennessee Titans territory throughout the entire first half, struggling most of the first half to even convert a first down.
The Titans controlled the ball for most of the first half and much of the second half, confirming the Bills struggle on offense. That struggle put all too much pressure on the defense, forcing them to stay on the field for roughly three quarters of the game.
Nagging pressure from Tennessee’s offense would catch up with the Bills. Despite holding the team to a field goal in three red-zone appearances in the first half, the Titans would strike into the end zone midway through the third quarter.
Down 10 to 0 with minutes left in the third quarter, Tyrod Taylor attempted to engineer a drive that would net his offense points.
Taylor — who played without his toothiest weapons on the offense — decided to take his offense into his own legs, running more than 50 yards on the drive to score a touchdown; responding to a Tennessee touchdown just one drive earlier.
The progress came without the top three offensive producers, including Sammy Watkins, LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams. Each sat out in Buffalo’s fifth game against the Titans, posing real issues for an offense that relied on them in each of their first three games.
Down less than a touchdown, the Bills returned the ball to the Titans. They would score a field goal a few short plays later, going up against the Bills 13 to 7, but returning the ball to a Bills offense determined to overcome that lead. Their next offensive set wouldn’t pass without nagging penalties holding them back.
Seantrell Henderson was flagged twice on the second Bills scoring drive, forcing Tyrod Taylor to run for 25 yards, converting a third down and 23 yards. Taylor would be slow to get up from that run, forcing EJ Manuel to enter the game for just one play.
When Taylor returned to the field, he would connect with Chris Hogan not once, but twice, to score the second Bills touchdown of the day, putting the Bills up 14-13.
In the action-packed fourth quarter, the touchdown would return the ball to the Titans, but the Bills would look to their defense to win the day.
Stephon Gilmore would answer the call. After an exchange of punts — one critical punt coming with less than two minutes on the clock — Gilmore would intercept Marcus Mariota to return the ball to his offense.
Tyrod Taylor and the Buffalo Bills would then kneel the ball in a victory formation to seal the 14 to 13 victory over the now 1-3 Titans.