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Commentary: Bills Still Pretenders

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The Buffalo Bills looked bad this past Tuesday down in Nashville, TN. Surely, we can all agree on that, right? It is not the first time that we have seen the Bills beaten that soundly in prime time, let’s just point that out real quick.

Obviously, they have had better outings on nationally televised games. Last Thanksgiving down in Dallas worked out much better for Buffalo immediately comes to mind.  We were all hoping for another breakout performance by Josh Allen and the stage was set for that to happen. The Titans had so much time off due to their facilities being shutdown for the better part of two weeks thanks to Covid-19. They could not practice together; workout together or even watch film, at least until a few days before kick off. They were out on their own. You would have thought that Buffalo would have an advantage.

Buffalo should have buried Tennessee, all the NFL experts on ESPN had picked the Bills to beat Tennessee. How did it go wrong?

Penalties

Buffalo took 10 penalties resulting in extra downs for the Titans and Tennessee took full advantage time and again. Looking at 3rd and 4 from the Buffalo 35-yard line trailing 14-10 at the time, Josh Norman is flagged for pass interference. 4-plays later the Titans score a TD, with the extra point they upped the lead 21-10.

On the Bills next possession, they gifted Tennessee the ball on their own 12-yard line courtesy of a Josh Allen INT. The Buffalo defense took another penalty on 3rd down. Roughing the passer called on Quinton Jefferson, automatic 1st down. Very next play Ryan Tannehill finds Jonnu Smith in the endzone 28-14 Titans.

Trailing 28-16, and with Tennessee looking at 3rd and 7, AJ Epenesa, the rookie is caught offsides, series ends in another Titans TD, 35-16.

Run Game

Where is it? Devin Singletary was supposed to be having a breakout season. There are currently 26 running backs with more yards rushing, including 35-year-old Adrian Peterson. Frank Gore has 204 yards on 64 carries with the New York Jets. Singletary has 238 and he is the featured back. Something is not working up front, either Singletary is not quick enough to the holes or the line up front is not opening any. With the passing game as sound as it has been, you would expect a little more help from the backfield. They need Zack Moss back to take some of the pressure off Singletary who appears to be still too young to handle the workload all to himself.

Pass Rush

Tannehill spent the whole game right side up, I do not recall a single hurry, no pressure whatsoever. The Bills D-Line was owned Tuesday night. No wonder they had so many offsides penalties. The pass rush was non-existent.

Rushing Defense

Derrick Henry is a big, strong tailback and not an easy player to bring down. Still, he only had 57 yards on the ground on 19 carries, the Bills did not do too bad in that department. But did anyone expect Tannehill to be able to run all over them? Too many blown assignments.

Bad Josh

We have seen the good Josh Allen for four straight weeks, the bad Josh was way overdue. Developing a promising quarterback takes years, not weeks. Allen showed us Tuesday night that he still has a lot to learn. The 2 picks he threw resulted in 14 points.

Short Fields

Tennessee seemed to have great driver starts all evening. The Titans had four of their drives start from the Bills 16, 30, 12 and 18, respectively. Talk about leaving the defense out to dry.

Nail in the Coffin

The series that set the wheels in motion for a Titans win came at the end of the first half. Tannehill led Tennessee on a 90-yard drive that resulted in a rushing TD by the former Dolphins QB. The drive was extended thanks to two Bills penalties taken on 3rd down.

Lick Your Wounds

Exactly, this is a tough league with no such thing as an easy week. This is the NFL and as much as everyone wants to discount the NY Jets, they are still paid professionals and they understand their job is to win football games or risk being run out of the league. Too many fans out there grew up playing Madden on PlayStation. I say get outta Ma’s basement occasionally.

Tennessee presented several mismatches for Buffalo and with several injuries on defense (Tre White, Matt Milano), the recipe for disaster was staring them in the face.

Final Thoughts

Were the Bills looking past Tennessee? Hardly. But it is possible the Chiefs were looking past the Raiders.

We will see how Buffalo measures up against the Super Bowl champs on Monday. If Tuesday was any indication of where the Bills are in terms of being a contender? The Titans kicked them back down into that pretender group. They still have a long way to go. The Jim Kelly led Bills struggled too. No team is above facing adversity. It will be interesting to see how Buffalo responds next Monday night at home.

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