Titans vs. Bills score: Tennessee dismantles Buffalo behind Ryan Tannehill after two-week hiatus

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The Tennessee Titans hadn't played in 16 days, but they showed no signs of rust on Tuesday night. In fact, it was the Buffalo Bills who looked off, as the Titans coasted to a 42-16 victory to wrap up Week 5 and remain undefeated. Ryan Tannehill was outstanding, as he passed for 195 yards, three touchdowns and rushed for 42 yards and another score. He was in total control of the offense and kept the chains moving even though he was missing two of his top three wideouts due to the coronavirus. 

As for the Bills, Josh Allen came into this matchup having thrown just one interception in the first four games of the new season, but threw two to Malcolm Butler tonight. It was a determining factor in this matchup, as Buffalo's defense struggled to stop Derrick Henry and Tannehill all night. The Titans were clearly excited to return to the field on Tuesday after their COVID-19 outbreak, while the Bills' performance raised several questions about their potential this year.

Why the Titans won

The Titans came into this game with a bottom-three defense in the league, as they allowed an average of 422.3 yards per game. Their secondary was especially questionable, as they were without their best cornerback in Adoree' Jackson and another important role player in Kristian Fulton. Allen and the Bills came into the game boasting the No. 2 passing offense in the league, as they averaged 316.3 passing yards per game and 30.8 points per game -- which ranked No. 5 in the league. Despite this, Tennessee's defense held Allen to 263 passing yards and picked him off twice. It was impressive, especially considering the secondary was viewed as the Titans' main weakness even with a fully healthy roster. 

Why the Bills lost

Buffalo's defense carried the Bills to a playoff appearance last year, but this unit has struggled early on in the 2020 season. The secondary came into this matchup allowing an average of 280.3 passing yards per game, which ranked fourth-worst in the league. On Tuesday night, this unit was missing star cornerback Tre'Davious White, and it certainly showed. Taron Johnson allowed a huge conversion on third and long and then gave up a 16-yard reception to A.J. Brown that allowed the Titans to get to Buffalo's two yard-line in the first half, and Josh Norman racked up a couple of penalties in coverage and was thrown to the ground by Henry when trying to step up in run support. Basically, every Titans receiver -- whether wideout, running back or tight end -- got the separation they were looking for no matter what kind of route they were running. Tannehill connected with more receivers (eight) than incompletions he threw (seven).

Play of the game

If you haven't seen it yet, definitely take a look at this play. In the second quarter, Henry got a carry on an outside counter, which set up a 1-on-1 with cornerback Josh Norman on the edge. The veteran tried to bring Henry down before he reached the first down marker but was no match for the defending league rushing champion. Norman -- who met Henry at the line of scrimmage -- received a stiff arm that quite literally sent him flying. Ultimately, the play was called back due to offsetting penalties, but it didn't matter. This was all anyone on social media could talk about on Tuesday night.

Turning Point

It appeared the Bills were orchestrating a nice drive to cut the deficit to single digits late in the third quarter, but Allen then threw his second interception of the game to Butler, and he returned it all the way to the Bills' 12-yard line. A few plays later, Tannehill hit Jonnu Smith for a four-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 18 points.

If the Titans didn't have all of the momenta before that quick turn of events, everyone could agree they had it at the end of the third quarter. At that point, it became clear that Tuesday night belonged to Tennessee. 

What's next

The Bills head back to Buffalo next week, where they will host the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday afternoon. Patrick Mahomes and Co. are coming off of a 40-32 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. As for the Titans, they will host the Houston Texans next Sunday, who just recorded their first victory of the season -- a 30-14 divisional win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

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TUE 7:00 P
TEN +3, o52
TEN 3, O/U 52
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The Titans had won their first three games by a combined six points, but took this one by 26. Really impressive win.

October 14, 2020, 2:01 AM
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So, the Titans are going to move to 4-0 and maintain first place in the AFC South. They've already had their bye and they'll play the 1-4 Texans next Sunday. The Bills will drop to 4-1 but remain in first in the AFC East, and they play the 4-1 Chiefs next Monday night.

October 14, 2020, 2:00 AM
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Best return of the game for Andre Roberts, who has had a rough night. And the Bills are pulling Josh Allen, which seems like a smart call.

October 14, 2020, 1:57 AM
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Nice night for Jonnu Smith: 5 catches, 40 yards, 2 TD.

October 14, 2020, 1:53 AM
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@BuffaloBills via Twitter
October 14, 2020, 1:53 AM
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I thought Tannehill looked pretty clearly over the line of scrimmage there, but we'll see on review.

October 14, 2020, 1:50 AM
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What a win this will end up being for the Titans. Two weeks off, no practice, coronavirus outbreak on the team, multiple guys out on both sides of the ball, and they're gonna beat a team that looked like one of the best in the AFC.

October 14, 2020, 1:49 AM
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Not sure why they went to McNichols instead of Henry here, but he made a mistake going out of bounds right there.

October 14, 2020, 1:46 AM
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The Titans were CLEARLY excited to play football tonight.

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Wow.

October 14, 2020, 1:45 AM
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@BuffaloBills via Twitter
October 14, 2020, 1:41 AM
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Henry finally got some open room to run right there. It was designed to go up the middle to the strong side but he bounced it out and beat Jordan Poyer to the corner. Nice run.

October 14, 2020, 1:41 AM
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Titans pulled Henry off the field for third down, got the Bills to jump offside, and now are set up with third-and-2 instead of third-and-7, which opens up the playbook.

October 14, 2020, 1:38 AM
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Derrick Henry was about to run off the field like he does on most third downs, but Vrabel waved him back onto the field for this third down. If he's still out there after the timeout, I'd expect a running play so that they can get Gostkowski a shorter kick. And that'd be a mistake, since it wouldn't extend the lead an additional score. Try to convert with Tannehill here.

October 14, 2020, 1:35 AM
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Ryan Tannehill is a dual-threat quarterback. He's now the game's leading rusher with 39 yards and one TD.

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That's an enormous third-down conversion by Tannehill. Buys some time and lets his receiver get open. Buffalo had a chance to really make it a game with a stop and scoring drive right there.

October 14, 2020, 1:31 AM
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@Titans via Twitter
October 14, 2020, 1:31 AM
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HOW?!?!?

October 14, 2020, 1:25 AM
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