Four takeaways from Bills’ gritty 13-12 win vs. Titans


As expected in the offensive and defensive matchups previews, it was a defensive battle at the New Era Field. The Bills prevailed in the end, with Stephen Hauschka hitting a 46-yard field goal to clinch the victory over the previously 3-1 Tennessee team. Here are my four takeaways from this gritty victory:

Ground and pound back

After failing miserably in Green Bay trusting his rookie QB to carry the offense with a pass-happy gameplan, OC Brian Daboll changed the team’s offensive blueprint for this game. It reminded me of the Greg Roman and Anthony Lynn days, with a dominant ground and pound style. Props to the offensive line, which played with a lot of physicality and overpowered the Titans’ defensive line all day long. As a result, LeSean McCoy and Chis Ivory had nice rushing lanes and showed how dangerous they can be as a tandem. McCoy finished the game with 85 rushing yards on 24 carries, and Ivory added 43 more on 14 rushing attempts. Buffalo’s offense is far from being a dangerous one at this point, but the emergence of the running game brings hope and will put Josh Allen in better situations moving forward.

It’s always Shady in Buffalo

It’s a sin to do what Daboll did with Shady in the first few games. He’s by far the best offensive player on the team, the most naturally gifted player on the roster, and needs to have his touches in every single game. McCoy was a nightmare for poor Tennessee’s tacklers, constantly putting them on skates and making them miss. He had two catches for 23 yards added to his numbers stated above and finally showed he’s still one of the top backs in the league. Going forward, Daboll needs to continue to feed Shady; when the ball is in his hands, good things happen. The highlight of the day was a key third-down conversion on the game-winning drive, where Allen hit his star running back on a quick pass in the flat and he shook off half of the opponent’s defense on his way to gaining the first down. This offense goes as Shady goes; he’s still the heart and soul of the group.

Defense continues to impress

As the offense barely did enough to win this game, the defense was stellar again. The unit held Tennessee to 221 total yards and zero touchdowns. Marcus Mariota threw for just 129 yards and one interception. The rushing attack was a bit more effective, but Buffalo’s defense found ways to limit the Titans’ offensive drives to field goals. More importantly, the group recovered their penchant for creating turnovers with three on the day. It was a complete game by the Bills’ defense with the defensive line pressuring Mariota, the linebackers flying all over the field, and the secondary doing its job versus Tennessee’s receivers. Newly acquired defensive tackle Jordan Phillips already contributed heavily to the DL rotation, and Dean Marlowe and Philip Gaines showed the quality of the depth at the DBs group. Great performance by the unit overall.

New QB, old problem

We all saw this film already. Great defensive play, keeping the team in games and even winning it for them. A powerful ground attack, rushing for big yardage and keeping the offense on the field to give time for the stellar defense to rest. Hauschka being clutch and hitting field goals with the game on the line. All of this paired with subpar quarterback play. Unfortunately, that’s the truth about Josh Allen right now.

He’s a poor’s man Tyrod Taylor at this point, a limited passer who can extend plays with his legs and be a threat on the ground. Taylor at least could hit the occasional long pass, while Allen struggles to accurately hit his receivers on any passes other than curl, hitch and comeback routes. In those situations, he can set his feet and deliver strikes, using his superior arm strength, but when the players are moving, Allen’s having a lot of difficulty giving his receivers chances to make plays for him.

That’s why I always thought the Bills’ offense would be better off with Taylor this season and that’s the case so far. The good news is we have hope Allen can improve, and obviously, Taylor is what he is at this point. The rookie just needs to show more in the passing game; his play from the last two weeks isn’t enough. His receivers aren’t creating separation, but it’s on him to throw them catchable passes. Allen has shown a few things that make me a believer, but the last two weeks were unimpressive, to say the least.


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