NASHVILLE -- The Titans beat the Buffalo Bills 42-16 on Tuesday night at Nissan Stadium.
Here's a look at six things that stood out from the game as the team begins to turn its attention to Sunday's game against Houston Texans:
Henry's Stiff Arm
Oh my, oh my, oh my. We've all seen Derrick Henry's stiff-arm before. And so has the rest of the NFL. But Henry went savage mode on Tuesday night, and he posterized Bills cornerback Josh Norman in the process. On a second quarter run, Henry threw Norman off of him like Dikembe Mutombo used to swat away basketballs headed to the rim. Henry didn't wag his finger at Norman, but Norman knew he'd been had. Twitter exploded, and so did Titans fans. "I've been doing too many curls," Henry said with a smile. "I've gotta lay off the arms." Consider Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill among those impressed: "I screamed, 'Holy crap.' That was unbelievable just to see the way he tossed that guy. Derrick is a special player. We've seen the stiff arm from him. I saw it all last year. I've seen it before I got here, highlights of it."
Tannehill's Moxie … But About That Celebration
Tannehill showed the nation why the Titans signed him to a lucrative contract extension this offseason. Tannehill threw for 195 yards and three touchdowns, and he also ran for a score. On the season, Tannehill has now thrown for 1,004 yards with nine touchdowns and just one interception. "Spectacular," Henry said of Tannehill. "Couldn't say enough. I can go on and on and on. Ryan is being Ryan, balling out. He's just different." Everything went right for Tannehill except or his touchdown celebration following his 10-yard run. Let's just say he didn't stick the landing after his finger roll. "Yeah, I'm going to catch a lot of grief for that, and deservedly so," Tannehill said. "That was an embarrassing moment. Definitely not a graceful moment. I got a little more air than I was expecting on the run and the legs were stiff by the time I hit the ground, which was a bad look, no doubt. … Guys were giving me crap for it and I'm sure I'll continue to get crap for it. It's fine, so look forward to it."
Shaky Third Down Defense
So much went right for the Titans on Tuesday. Cornerback Malcolm Butler had a pair of interceptions, and the Titans held the high-flying Bills to just 16 points. But not everything is perfect, despite the team's 4-0 record. The pass rush only produced one sack, and the team's third down defense continues to be a problem. Buffalo had a field day on third down on Tuesday night, and on the season the Titans have allowed opponents to convert 30-of-50 third down attempts (60 percent). That's dead last in the NFL, and it needs to get fixed. "Going to have to get better on third down," Titans Coach Mike Vrabel said. "You're not going to be able to play much defense when they're 11 of 15 on third down. We played well defensively, but that all got overshadowed on third down."
A.J Brown's Return
It didn't take Titans receiver A.J. Brown long to reintroduce himself once again. After missing the past two games with a knee injury, Brown scored a touchdown on the team's second offensive play of the game on Tuesday, a 16-yard completion from Tannehill. With Corey Davis and Adam Humphries sidelined, Brown led the team with seven receptions for 82 yards and the score. The Titans are sure glad he's back, and Brown is happy to be of assistance. "Means everything, to be honest," Brown said. "I was battling the injury, a lot of uncertainty during that injury. I didn't know when I was going to be back, so I just put it in God's hands. Tonight just told myself just be bold, be courageous and let God handle the rest, and made plays for the team."
Malcolm Butler Made Things Happen
I mentioned Butler earlier, and he deserves further props here. Butler set the tone early with an interception of Bills quarterback Josh Allen on just the game's third play. His return set up the team's first score. Butler did it again in the second half, and his 68-yard return set up another touchdown for the Titans. It was Butler's longest career interception return, and it was the longest interception return by a Titans player since Zach Brown's 79-yarder against Jacksonville in 2012. Credit Butler for being in the right place at the right time, and for doing something with the football in his hands. "Well, I used to play offense in high school," Butler explained. "I always wanted to play offense so once I get the ball, I'm trying to show my skills – my running skills and my vision whenever I get the chance. You know you don't have many opportunities to get the ball when you're playing defensive back. I was always told, 'Don't go down until you're tackled.' I know I scared some of my teammates. I could hear Mike Vrabel telling me to get down and take care of the ball, but once I get the ball I'm always trying to score."
Special Teams Played Special
Brett Kern was once again fantastic, with three punts downed inside the 20, and a 43.0-yard net. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski was a perfect 6-of-6 kicking extra points. But the Titans were big on special teams in every facet. Returner Kalif Raymond provided a 40-yard punt return that set up a score, and gunner Chris Milton made a tremendous open field tackle and downed another punt at the three-yard line in punt coverage. Linebacker David Long Jr. forced a fumble on kick coverage that was recovered by cornerback Kareem Orr. Linebacker Nick Dzubnar was credited with two special teams stops. On a night when a lot of guys needed to step up, the Titans had several players rise to the occasion here. "It was a great win for the whole team," Milton said. "A lot of guys counting us out, so we kind of just stayed focused and stayed to ourselves and did what we had to do, just continuing to get better."
The Tennessee Titans take on the Buffalo Bills in Week 5 at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donald Page)