Fri, 07 Oct 2022

Jim Wyatt

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - Heading into the 2022 season, the Buffalo Bills were widely considered the best team in the AFC, if not the entire NFL.

Here on Monday night, the Titans helped them make their case.

So, what about Titans?

Well, let's just say the team has plenty of work to do.

The Titans lost 41-7 to the Bills here on Monday night in a game that really came off the rails in the second half.

"It's definitely an embarrassing loss, something I can't remember ever happening before," Titans safety Kevin Byard said. "A lot of things got us beat today. It's tough, especially on Monday night."

As Bills fans danced to "Shout," Titans fans in Nashville and beyond probably wanted to scream.

The Titans are now 0-2 for the first since the 2012 season.

"In this league, nobody is going to feel sorry for you, and we understand that," Titans coach Mike Vrabel. "We have to get things fixed - we have to figure out how to win a game. We have to get home and get back to work.

"We got our asses kicked, plain and simple," Vrabel said later. "They outcoached us, they outplayed us and that is the definition of it. We are going to get back to work and we're going to figure out a way to win a football game."

On this night, the Titans couldn't get much going on offense while also struggling to put up much resistance on defense.

Turnovers, mistakes and injuries contributed to the team's miserable night.

"It's brutal," Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. "I haven't been part of a whole lot of games like that. A brutal, brutal night. But we have a lot of football in front of us, so we have to turn the page quickly on this one and get ready to go next week.

"This one is tough to swallow, but we can't sit around and have the woe-is-me attitude. We have to be able to turn the page and get some things fixed and come ready to go next week."

The Bills took an early 7-0 lead on an 11-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Josh Allen to running back Reggie Gilliam.

It was a sign of things to come.

Allen completed 26-of-38 passes for 317 yards and four touchdowns on the night, including three touchdown throws to receiver Stefon Diggs.

The Titans showed some life early, answering an early deficit with a 75-yard drive to tie the contest. A two-yard touchdown run by running back Derrick Henry, which came on fourth down, made it 7-7. The Titans got big catches from tight end Austin Hooper and receivers Treylon Burks and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine on the drive, which set up the score.

The Titans defense stepped up on the ensuing drive, as Titans safety Kevin Byard corralled Allen on a fourth down throw, and linebacker Zach Cunningham batted his pass down. The Titans took over after that play but ended up punting it back after a drive of their own fizzled out.

The Bills then regained the lead 10-7 on a 49-yard field goal by kicker Tyler Bass, and they never looked back.

The Bills extended their lead to 17-7 one minute before halftime on a four-yard touchdown pass from Allen to Diggs, which came on fourth down.

Less than five minutes into the third quarter, Allen connected with Diggs again - this time from 46 yards - and the Bills led 24-7.

It became 27-7 Buffalo not long after that, as a muffed punt by Titans return man Kyle Philips was recovered by the Bills and cashed in for three more points on another field goal by Bass.

Things got even worse.

After Tannehill was intercepted, the Bills scored yet again on another touchdown pass from Allen to Diggs. This score made it 34-7 with 5:34 left, and left Buffalo fans dancing once again to "Shout."

A 43-yard interception return for a touchdown by Bills linebacker Matt Milano made it 41-7 in the third quarter.

Henry was held to just 25 yards on 13 carries in the contest.

"We just weren't good enough at all," Henry said. "They were the better team in all three phases. We need to take accountability, and work harder.

"We have to respond to adversity, and that's what we're going through right now. We got our butts kicked, and it's about how you respond. We have to flush this and get ready to play again. We don't want to play like this again."

The Titans replaced Tannehill with back-up quarterback Malik Willis, and he finished the contest.

The game was a costly one for the Titans in the injury department.

Left tackle Taylor Lewan and running back/returner Trenton Cannon suffered knee injuries in the first quarter and did not return. Also, outside linebackers Bud Dupree (hip) and Ola Adeniyi (wrist) and defensive back Ugo Amadi were also injured in the first half.

The Titans return to action on Sunday at Nissan Stadium vs the Las Vegas Raiders.

"We could have done better in all three phases," linebacker David Long Jr. said. "It's still early in the season. ... We are 0 and 2, and it's the start of the season still. We have the right men in this group, and the right men on this team to get the job done. We are not going to fall apart after this. We are going to take to coaching, we are going to hold each other accountable and we're going to get back in the lab and get to it."

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