Back from Bye, Titans Host Bills Sunday at Nissan Stadium

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. —The Tennessee Titans (1-2) return from their bye this week to host the Buffalo Bills (2-2).  Kickoff at Nissan Stadium (capacity 69,143) is scheduled for noon CDT on Sunday, Oct. 11.

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THE BROADCAST

This week's game will be televised regionally on CBS, including Nashville affiliate WTVF NewsChannel 5.  Andrew Catalonwill handle play-by-play duties alongside analysts Steve TaskerandSteve Beuerlein.

The Titans Radio Network, including Nashville flagship 104.5 The Zone, will carry the game across the Mid-South with the "Voice of the Titans" Mike Keith, analyst Frank Wycheck, gameday host Rhett Bryan and sideline reporter Jonathan Hutton.

TITANS LOOK TO BOUNCE BACK FOLLOWING EARLY BYE

Before their bye, the Titans played their home opener against the Indianapolis Colts, which also was the Titans' first of four consecutive home games.  The Titans erased an early 14-0 deficit to take a 27-14 lead in the second half, but the Colts posted 21 points in the fourth quarter to escape Nissan Stadium with a 35-33 victory.

Rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota led the Titans on a late two-minute drive that came close to pushing the game to overtime after fullback Jalston Fowler scored on a one-yard touchdown run.  However, needing a two-point conversion to tie the score, Fowler got the handoff again but was denied by the Colts on the attempt.

Mariota was 27-of-44 passing with two touchdowns and two interceptions in the contest.  His 367 passing yards set a new franchise single-game record for a rookie, breaking Zach Mettenberger's mark last season of 345 passing yards  at Philadelphia (Nov. 23). 

The beginning to Mariota's career is among the best in NFL history among quarterbacks.  His season totals include 833 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions on 61-of-97 passing.  He tied former Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien (1988) for the most touchdown passes in NFL history through the first three games of a career.  Also, with a passer rating of 109.2, Mariota owns the eighth best passer rating in NFL history in a player's first three starts and the highest since Chad Pennington's first three starts in 2002. 

Through four weeks of the NFL season, Mariota is listed among the league leaders in several passing categories.  He ranks fifth in passer rating, fifth in yards per attempt (8.6) and tied for fifth in touchdown passes, despite playing one fewer game than most starting quarterbacks around the league.

This week marks the second contest for the Titans in a rare span that includes four home games and a bye.  They were last on the road at Cleveland on Sept. 20, and the next away game they will play is Nov. 1 at Houston, giving them five weeks during the regular season without a road contest.  In the 56-year history of the organization, that has happened only three previous times: 1960, 1964 and 1967.

The Titans hope to take advantage of the unusually early bye in their schedule.  In the "Titans era" (1999–present), there have been only three other occasions in which they had an open date after three games or fewer: 2000 (Week 3); 2001 (originally Week 4 but occurred after two games due to the postponement of all games following Sept. 11); and 2007 (Week 4).

*THE BILLS  *

The Bills are preparing to play their second road game in the season's first five weeks.  They opened the season with a pair of home games, first defeating the Indianapolis Colts and then falling to the New England Patriots.  In Week 3, they went on the road for the first time and earned an impressive 41-14 victory at the expense of the Miami Dolphins.

Last week, they returned to Ralph Wilson Stadium to host the New York Giants.  Giants quarterback Eli Manning completed three touchdowns to outduel Bills signal caller Tyrod Taylor (274 yards and one touchdown), and the Giants won by a final score of 24-10.

The Bills are in their first season under head coach Rex Ryan, who spent the previous six years as the head coach of the New York Jets.  During that time (2009–2014), Ryan's Jets ranked second in the NFL in total defense.

Through four games with the Bills, Ryan's squad has shown many of the trademarks of an upper echelon defense.  The Bills rank third in the NFL in rushing defense, allowing 78.5 yards per game, and they are tied for third with six total interceptions.

Taylor is in his first year as Buffalo's starter.  Originally a sixth-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2011, he had yet to start a game in the NFL before this season.  The former Virginia Tech Hokie has made the most of his opportunity, passing for 988 yards and eight touchdowns with four interceptions.  His 104.4 passer rating is good for ninth place in the NFL.

*THE SPORTS FUND PLAY IT FORWARD DRIVE  *

Fans attending the Titans-Bills game are encouraged to bring donations for the The Sports Fund Play It Forward Drive.  Collection locations will be positioned outside of Nissan Stadium to collect new and gently used sports equipment in an effort to support underserved youth and high school athletes and athletic programs in the area. 

The Sports Fund – under the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee umbrella – is a charitable effort dedicated to helping ensure Middle Tennessee area children have access to the opportunities sports and team membership provide.

Titans Online looks back at the all-time series against the Buffalo Bills. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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