ORCHARD PARK, NY — The Buffalo Bills took care of business in the first game of a Monday Night Football doubleheader, knocking off the Tennessee Titans 41-7. The Bills scored on the opening drive and the Titans answered — only to be held scoreless the rest of the way as Buffalo reeled off 34 straight to close things out.
If the Bills’ season-opening win was a statement, the home-opener performance against the Titans put an exclamation point on an outstanding start. The Josh Allen-Stefon Diggs connection is a large part of it as the quarterback and wide receiver are off to an historic start.
Diggs caught 12 passes for 148 yards and three touchdowns, joining Jerry Rice (1987, 1995) as the only players with multiple three-touchdown-catch games on Monday Night Football, per Elias Sports Bureau. Two of Diggs’ three touchdowns came in the third quarter when the Bills put up 24 points to establish a decisive lead over the Titans.
Buffalo is 2-0 for the third time in the last four seasons after having three 2-0 starts in the previous 15 seasons — and it was the team’s first home win on Monday Night Football since 1994.
QB breakdown: Much of Allen’s success came on play-action. His four play-action passing touchdowns are the most in his career and the most the Titans have allowed in a game since ESPN began video tracking in 2006. Allen’s 14 completions on play-action throws are tied for the second-most in his career, and his 219 yards on play-action were the third-most of his career.
Pivotal play: Early in a third-quarter drive, it appeared the Bills would have to punt for the first time this season. Backed up at their own 16-yard line on third-and-16, the offense was assisted by an offsides penalty by the Titans. Then, on third-and-9, Allen connected with wide receiver Jamison Crowder on a 16-yard pass to the middle of the field. The play kept the drive alive, which ultimately led to Buffalo establishing a three-score lead.
A troubling trend: Injuries piled up in the win over the Titans. Starting cornerback Dane Jackson was taken off the field in an ambulance after suffering a neck injury when he was hit by teammate Tremaine Edmunds. Safety Micah Hyde left the field on a cart with a neck injury, and linebacker Matt Milano (stinger) and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips (hamstring) were also hurt. — Alaina Getzenberg
Under-the-radar stat to know: The Bills scored a touchdown on the opening drive for the seventh straight game –– including playoffs — which is the longest streak since the Falcons in 2016 (eight straight).
Next game: at Miami Dolphins (1 p.m. ET Sunday, CBS)
The Titans were outclassed on many levels in the lopsided loss. It was the Titans’ worst loss under coach Mike Vrabel, surpassing a 40-14 loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 15 of the 2020 season.
The Bills outgained the Titans by 227 yards and forced four turnovers. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was pulled after his second interception with the game already out of reach.
Vrabel replaced Tannehill with Malik Willis, making him the first rookie to play quarterback this season. Willis joined the turnover party by fumbling when one of his teammates got knocked into him, causing the ball to come loose.
Describe the game in two words: Bad coverage. Even without wideout Gabriel Davis, the Bills managed to roam freely in the Titans’ secondary, especially Stefon Diggs, who finished with 12 receptions for 148 yards and three touchdowns.
Eye-popping Next Gen stat: Derrick Henry recorded minus-2.6 rush yards over expectation per carry tonight. That is his worst rush yards over expectation per carry in a game dating back to 2018, when the metric began to be tracked. Henry had been the NFL’s top rusher over the past 2 1/2 seasons before suffering a Jones fracture in Week 8 last season. After averaging 3.9 yards per carry in Week 1, Henry averaged 2.0 yards per carry against the Bills, his fourth-lowest average in a game in which he had at least 10 carries. Buffalo hit Henry at or behind the line of scrimmage on five of his 13 rushing attempts.
A troubling trend: The injuries continue to mount. Running back Trenton Cannon injured his knee on the opening kickoff and was lost for the game. Left tackle Taylor Lewan did not return after injuring his knee in the first quarter. Outside linebacker Ola Adeniyi injured his wrist while filling in for Bud Dupree, who suffered a hip injury in the second quarter. Adeniyi came out for a couple of series but returned before halftime. The Titans also lost defensive back Ugo Amadi at halftime for the game. — Turron Davenport
Under-the-radar stat to know: Despite Henry’s tough day, he scored his second rushing touchdown of the season. He now has 56 rushing touchdowns in the last five seasons, 17 more than the next closest players (Alvin Kamara and Nick Chubb each have 39).
Next game: vs. Las Vegas Raiders (1 p.m. ET Sunday, Fox).