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The Buffalo Bills fell short on prime-time football against the Tennessee Titans. In a 34-31 final, the Bills (4-2) fell late to the Titans (3-3) and head into their bye on a sour note.
With that, here are five takeaways from the Bills’ loss:
Bills battle back but curious call ends it
Bills quarterback Josh Allen Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
For the first time this season, the Bills had adversity right in their face. On the plus side, this team did battle back. We saw eight lead changes in this back-and-forth contest and kudos to Buffalo for staying the course.
This game is going to be remembered for the decision by the Bills coaching staff to go for it on fourth down, though. Right near the Titans’ goal line, Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll decided to try and run a QB sneak with seconds left on 4th-and-1.
Hindsight is 20-20, but heading into overtime appeared to be the correct decision. It would’ve been a chip-shot kick for Tyler Bass, and instead, Allen came up short and it was game over.
Derrick goes off
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
The Bills defense played well against Titans running back Derrick Henry in the past. Just last year, he rushed for under 60 yards on Buffalo.
That was not the case on Monday.
Henry ran all over the Bills. His biggest highlight was the 76-yard touchdown run. While some might complain about missed holding penalties on that play… that was just one play.
Henry had three total touchdowns, and surpassed 140 rushing yards on the ground. Buffalo had to be better against him.
O-line doesn't have best game
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17)
The Bills offensive line did not have their best outing in Week 6. Particularly in the first half, the Titans hung around because Buffalo’s offense sputtered due to poor play along the line.
Overall, Allen was sacked three times. But the biggest loss for the Bills offensive line was the final push when the QB was stuffed on fourth down.
Curious play call and maybe one that was a bit too cute. All was first lined up in the shotgun, only to run to the line to take the snap under center.
Regardless, the offensive line gave Allen little chance on the game-deciding play. Left tackle Dion Dawkins was completely blown up.
Young DEs are scratched
Bills defensive end AJ Epenesa Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Bills have an insane amount of depth along their defensive line. Because of that, the team decided to shake things up there.
In a bit of a surprise, two young defensive ends, AJ Epenesa and Boogie Basham, were scratched against the Titans. Instead, it appears the Bills decided to play a few bigger bodies such as linemen Harrison Phillips and Efe Obada.
It appears that the Bills wanted to focus on trying to use such players to stop Henry. However, that didn’t exactly work, and without a few pass rushers, Tennessee kept quarterback Ryan Tannehill clean.
He was the most-sacked QB entering the game, but Buffalo struggled to get to him. It was another difference maker in the game, especially in the second half.
Cole Beasley back in the plans
Wide receiver Cole Beasley #11 of the Buffalo Bills . (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Over the past few games, wide receiver Cole Beasley wasn’t really in Buffalo’s game plan much. That, combined with off-field things such as him deleting his Twitter account, caused some observers of the Bills to have some questions about the receiver.
Against Tennessee, Allen did spread the ball around nicely, including to Beasley. Not only did Beasley have seven catches for 88 yards, he also scored and nearly did a second time as well.
Appears he is, in fact, still part of their game plan.